M.A. in International Studies

Concurrent Degrees

Pursuing a Professional Degree Program Concurrently with International Studies

Students may choose to apply to any of the (9) MA International Studies programs as a concurrent degree program. If you have questions about the required courses for concurrent students in these programs, please contact the Chair or the Graduate Program Coordinator for that program.

The general International Studies (IS) master’s program was specifically designed as a concurrent program to complement a professional degree. One component of the program therefore requires students to take three courses of relevance to both the International Studies program and the professional program which would serve to fulfill degree requirements for both. Concurrent degree programs have been formally established between the International Studies program and six professional programs: Public Affairs, Business Administration, Law, Forest Resources, Marine Affairs, and Public Health.

Completion of the International Studies master’s program concurrently with a professional degree takes approximately one year longer than the estimated time to complete the professional degree. The following schedule illustrates how the IS program and a concurrent degree are typically completed. This pattern may vary depending on the professional degree program.

1st year:

Required core for professional program.

2nd year:

Electives for either/both programs.

3rd year +:

Electives for either/both programs, any final papers and/or final exams required.

Foreign language study, for those who have not met the IS requirement, usually begins after the first year. Any internships required by the professional schools generally are scheduled for the summer.


Concurrent candidates must submit application materials to both the Jackson School and the professional school. (See application procedures for both.) IS evaluates applicants accepted by the professional school on academic and practical/professional performance, test scores, references, essay, and writing ability. Applicants denied by the professional school are automatically denied by IS.


The IS program draws on both area studies and various disciplines in molding a new approach to the study of international affairs. This interdisciplinary study is intended to help students approach their profession with a better understanding of how to relate it to the increasingly interdependent world.



Proficiency equivalent to 2 years of college- level work in a modern foreign language (3 years for Chinese or Japanese).

Required Core:

  • Comparative International Studies
  • International and Area Studies
  • Research Methods in International Studies
  • International Studies Pro-Seminar
  • statistics course for the social sciences (often part of the concurrent program)
  • intermediate-level economics course (often part of the concurrent program)


Two Foci of study: the Professional Focus must be completed by courses relevant to both programs; the second field can be either a Regional Studies Focus or the International Studies Field Focus.

Final Papers and Oral Exam:

Students present two research papers or one thesis to a faculty examining committee.

*Formally approved concurrent professional degree programs:

  1. Business Administration (MBA)
  2. Forest Resources (MFR/MS)
  3. Law (JD)
  4. Marine Affairs (MMA)
  5. Public Affairs (MPA)
  6. Public Health (MPH)

Other Master’s Concurrent-Degree Combinations

The Japan Studies Program offers a special concurrent degree program with the  School of Business. The linking of other Jackson School programs to a UW professional degree program also is possible and can add a valuable international dimension to your preparation for a career, while saving up to a year over the time it would take to complete the degrees separately. Some combinations will prove more practical than others; if you are interested in a special combination, call the Office of Student Services for more information.