Middle East Studies MAIS Handbook

This handbook provides you with information concerning both academic and non-academic matters for students enrolled in a Master of Arts in International Studies, Middle East Studies.

A Letter from the Chair

Arzoo OsanlooWelcome! The Middle East Studies (MES) Program at the Jackson School is one of the premier Middle East-focused masters programs in the United States. The Middle East MA program is supported by the Middle East Center, which is the oldest, continuously funded US Department of Education National Resource Center in the Jackson School. Graduates of the MES Program have gone on to make important contributions to a variety of industries and Middle East-related fields. These include rewarding careers in federal agencies, such as the US Department of State, USAID, US Intelligence Services, and all branches of the military; private and non-profit sector, including the United Nations, the World Bank, international law firms, as well as a wide variety of humanitarian organizations.

The MES program is structured to allow maximum flexibility to prepare students for the wide range of career paths they may follow. Over sixty faculty members specializing in a wide variety of disciplines work with the MES Program to offer students a cross-disciplinary approach to studying the Middle East. Students who take advantage of the faculty talent along with the supporting resources at the Jackson School and the UW, more broadly, have every reason to expect an enriching educational experience while building the foundations for exciting and meaningful careers.

Arzoo Osanloo
Chair, Middle East Studies Program
Smith M256, aosanloo@uw.edu


Advising and Other Resources
Program Guidelines Language Requirement Other Requirements Final Degree Requirements
Applying to Graduate Program Procedures for Finishing On-Leave Status
Registration and Planning Your Class Schedule Taking Courses Outside the Requirements Number of Credits Per Quarter Timeline for Requirements
Fellowship Applications and Financial Aid Library and Other Resources

Advising and Other Resources

Arzoo Osanloo Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) Arzoo Osanloo, Smith M256, aosanloo@uw.edu

The GPC is the faculty adviser for the first year of the program and will help students determine a suitable faculty mentor for the second year. Students should meet with their faculty adviser at least once a quarter. By the end of the third quarter in the program, students should establish a Supervisory Committee to advise completing the final requirements of the program.

Graduate Program Manager (GPA) Rebecca Alhadeff

THO 116, ralhadef@uw.edu

The GPA guides students and provides advice on procedures and requirements for graduating from the Jackson School. For quick questions, students may stop by during drop-in hours on Wednesdays from 10 am to noon or Thursdays from 2-4 pm. Appointments are made here.

Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies Associate Director-Middle East Center Felicia Hecker, Thomson 225B, fhecker@uw.edu

The Middle East Center arranges for speakers, colloquia, and other on campus events for graduate students. Additionally, it is an excellent resource for information on language programs and fellowship opportunities. Contact Felicia via email to be added to the graduate student email lists.

Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies FLAS/Fellowship Coordinator Robyn Davis, Thomson 126, rldavis@uw.edu

Every autumn the FLAS Coordinator organizes FLAS information sessions for students ahead of the winter application deadline, which usually falls in mid-January. She is also available to meet with students in person and will answer questions via email about applying for and receiving FLAS fellowships.

marys Near East Studies Librarian Mary St. Germain, Suzzallo 133, marys@uw.edu

The University of Washington has one of the best collections of Near East Studies related materials in the country. Materials are housed in many different buildings across campus. Mary specializes in the Near Eastern Studies related collections housed at the university, including the vast digital resources. Mary  is willing to meet with students to provide introductions to the Near Eastern Studies collections and resources, customize and tailor research inquiries, and provide general guidance on graduate student research.

 Alison Wattles JSIS Career Services &Alumni Relations Alison Wattles, Thomson 124, awattles@uw.edu

The Career Services Office organizes events on campus with employers, as well as provides support for students seeking internships and preparing to enter the job market upon completion of their degree. Appointments can be made here.

Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies JSIS Computer Specialist, Mark HaslamThomson Hall 408C, jsishelp@uw.edu

For technical or software problems with the computers in the Jackson School, contact Mark.

It is particularly important to meet with the GPA one or two quarters before your final quarter, to make sure that you have met Graduate School and Jackson School requirements, and to review graduation procedures.

Associate Professor Arzoo Osanloo is the Chair and the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) of the Middle East Studies program. In this latter role she serves as your academic adviser. You should consult with her at least once per quarter and update her on your degree progress.  As you review the program requirements and guidelines, you will find that some actions on your part need formal approval from the GPC.  This approval should be in writing and placed in your file in the GPA’s office.

If you find yourself struggling academically, do consult with the GPC and/or the GPA as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Program Guidelines

Familiarize yourself with both the Middle East Studies Program Requirements for a Master of Arts in International Studies and the Graduate School Master’s Degree Requirements. The program requirements are designed to meet Graduate School requirements, but it is important to note that you must satisfy both sets of requirements to graduate. Also, be mindful of the Jackson School’s Satisfactory Progress and Performance Policies for Master’s Students.

Language Requirement:

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization offers the language courses appropriate for the Middle East Studies program.  First- and second-year language classes usually are available in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. All students must complete three 3-credit or two 5-credit courses beyond the second-year level in one Middle East language. Native speakers of a Middle East language may satisfy this requirement through advanced literature or independent study. Advanced courses in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish are normally available every quarter. Independent Study may also be an option for Arabic, Hebrew, Persian or Turkish.

Other Coursework Requirements:

An MA in the Jackson School requires a minimum of 36 credits at the 400 level or above, at least 18 of which must be graded.  Thesis option: Students must take at least 27 credits of coursework, plus 9 credits of JSIS 700. Two-paper option: Students choosing this option must take at least 36 credits of coursework (18 at the 500+ level), which may include 6 credits of independent study to prepare their papers. Graded courses include 400- and 500-level courses (except 499, 600, 700), for which you receive a grade. For those doing a thesis, a minimum of 9 credits are required at the 500 level or above (as this option requires 9 thesis credits at the 700 level). It may be necessary to do some Graduate Independent Study (JSIS 600) at the 600 level in order to obtain sufficient credits at the 500 level or above.


JSIS 594 JSIS DIRECTOR’S COURSE: International and Area Studies (2 credits)

Exposes students to the four-fold thematic intellectual rubric of the school, and to the wide range of teaching and research agendas represented in the Jackson School. Recommended common course for all first-year graduate and doctoral students. (Autumn quarter of first year).

In completing these requirements, distribute your course work to ensure that the following separate components are met. Basic language training classes (first- through third-year) cannot be counted to fulfill any of these requirements.

20 credits on the Modern Middle East
In order to promote an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the modern Middle East, you are encouraged to take a variety of courses in the social sciences or the humanities.  These courses must be from at least two different disciplines, such as history, political science, international studies, literature or religion.

One approved Jackson School course
This course does not have to be on the Middle East. Courses prefixed JSIS will be automatically approved.  Courses prefixed JSIS A, JSIS B, etc., must be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Two courses in one discipline or profession
Again, it is not necessary for these courses to be focused on the Middle East. The purpose of this requirement is to give you the opportunity to develop some expertise in the theory and methodology of an academic discipline or profession. This is particularly useful for students planning to go on for a Ph.D. or undertaking a concurrent degree.

You may take 300-level courses not prefixed JSIS to meet these requirements, but only with written approval from the GPC; they will not count toward the JSIS and Graduate School requirement of 36 total credits at the 400-level or above. A preferable option would be to take the 300-level course as Graduate Independent Study at the 600 level, making a contract with the instructor to do the work required for the class along with some extra work to meet graduate standards. In addition, in order for a course to count toward the final degree requirement, a student must receive a minimum grade of 2.7.

Final Degree Requirements:

For guidance in completing your final degree requirements, you must form a Supervisory Committee with at least two members, including at least one member of the Middle East program faculty. This committee must be established and a signed Supervisory Committee Form filed with the GPA by the 7th Friday of your 3rd quarter in the program. You will need to determine the Chair of your committee and to set up a schedule for submitting drafts of your thesis or final papers.  Additional faculty from outside of the Middle East program can be included in your committee if appropriate for review of your paper(s). The Chair and at least one half of your Supervisory Committee must be members of the University’s graduate faculty. Be sure to check with each member to ensure that they will be available for your Oral Exam when you need them. You have two options for completing your final requirements in the program. Submit a signed Committee form to the GPA by the 7th Friday of the quarter.

Thesis Option

This option requires a thesis and an oral exam. If you choose this option, you should work closely with your Supervisory Committee throughout the entire process. Be sure that all members of your committee support your topic before you become too heavily committed to it. Ideally you will work closely with the Chair of your Supervisory committee to develop a written prospectus of your thesis by your third quarter in the program. Consult your committee often to help you find appropriate sources, conduct research, and develop drafts. Give your committee members as much opportunity as they desire to read portions or initial drafts of what you have written as early as possible.

You must register for at least 9 thesis credits (JSIS 700). You do not have to register for all of them in one quarter and there is no limit on how many thesis credits you can take. (Only 9 of them, however, will count toward your requirement of 36 credits.) In order to register for thesis credits, you must complete an Application for Independent Study/Thesis Credits form each quarter and obtain a signature from the chair of your Supervisory Committee. Submit this form to JSIS Academic Services to get the instructor ID number you will need to register.

Though you must register for thesis credits, work on your thesis can begin in one of your other graduate courses. The thesis could be an expanded version of a seminar paper or an Independent Study project. Theses normally range from 60 to 150 pages of which the majority of the pages are the student’s original analysis and commentary. If you wish to examine theses accepted in the past, copies are available in the Middle East Studies Program Office.

The oral exam will deal with work presented for your degree. Work with the Chair of your Supervisory Committee to develop the parameters of your oral exam. Also be sure to fill out an Oral Exam Scheduling Form and file it with the GPA.

Two-Papers Option

This option requires you to write two seminar papers and take an oral exam.

At least one paper must relate to the Middle East, and the subject of both papers must be approved by the Supervisory Committee. The second paper must have some relevance to your overall program and career objectives.  In most cases, these papers are revised and expanded versions of work written to meet a course requirement. While length of the papers may vary, depending on topic and discipline, the papers should be modeled on published articles that you have consulted. You should aim to develop two papers that are of publishable quality, in terms of originality, quality of research, style, and length. As both papers must be approved by your Supervisory Committee, it is important to have your committee review them early. It may be necessary to rewrite one or both of them.

Prior to your exam, you should meet with your committee members to discuss areas of study that would be appropriate for your exam and what you can do in preparation.

Whichever option you choose, you should submit final drafts of your thesis or two papers to your committee at least a month before the end of the quarter in which you plan to graduate. Your committee needs time to read your work.  If you are late in giving them your final draft or drafts, you may find that instead of graduating in the quarter you planned, you have to register for another quarter.

Applying to Graduate

To graduate, you must submit a degree application through the Graduate School Web site. The application period commences the first day of the quarter of graduation.  The Jackson School requires that you apply to graduate by 5:00 on the 7th Friday of the quarter (fifth Friday for Summer Quarter).

The Graduate School will send you an email confirmation of your application for a Master’s Degree and inform you of Graduate School requirements that must be met by the end of the quarter in which you graduate. The Graduate Program Adviser will be notified of your application for the degree and will enter information detailing departmental requirements that must be met. This will generate an email from the Graduate School to you informing you of departmental requirements.

If you do not finish in the quarter you applied to graduate, you will have to apply again. You must be registered for at least two credits in the quarter you graduate.

It is important for you to maintain your status as a student until you graduate. To do this, you must be registered for every quarter except Summer Quarter, or be formally on leave.

Program Procedures for Finishing

Whichever option you select, your oral examination will take place only after your final paper(s) have been approved for defense by all members of your Supervisory Committee.  As you are approaching the completion of your or paper(s), you will need to schedule your oral exam with your Supervisory Committee.  Once the date and time are set, complete an Exam Scheduling Form and obtain the GPC’s signature. Then give this form to GPA, who will reserve a room for your oral exam, if necessary, and notify everyone involved.

Prior to your exam, the GPA will do a final review of your file. Be sure to make an appointment with her in the quarter before you plan to graduate to make sure that there are no surprises, and to review the procedures for finishing.

Once you have successfully completed both your paper(s) and your oral exam, your committee members will sign an Exam Completion and Approval of Graduation form and your Warrant for Master’s Degree, which will remain in your file and signify to the GPA that the Graduate School is requested to award you a Master of Arts degree. Any required course work for which you have yet to receive a grade will be listed as a contingency. This course work must be completed before the end of the quarter in which you are planning to graduate. Your graduation will be finalized only after grades are received for these courses and the other departmental requirements are met.

Should you finish all required course work and need only to complete your thesis or final papers, you may want to consider going on leave until you are done (requires GPC’s approval).  In the quarter you return, you can register for at least two credits of either JSIS 700/Thesis Credits or JSIS 600/Graduate Independent Study with a member of your committee and reapply to graduate.

The Oral Exam

Prior to your oral exam, the GPA will prepare your file for the exam and provide it to the Chair of your Supervisory Committee. In addition to providing a record of the work you have completed in the program, your file will contain your Exam Completion Form and your Warrant for Master’s Degree. The Warrant is generated by the Graduate School as a result of your application for the degree. Upon the successful completion of your oral exam, your committee members will sign these documents, which will remain in your file.

For Two-Paper Option

Your final papers are papers you have done in a seminar class, and possibly refined and revised further, under the supervision of one or both of your committee members, by registering for 6 credits of JSIS 600.

Final drafts of the thesis or two research papers should be submitted to your Supervisory Committee members no later than the 6th Wednesday of your final quarter. (4th Wednesday in Summer Quarter.) Once your papers are approved by your committee, you may schedule the oral exam. The oral exam is based on these papers but ranges broadly across the field of Middle East studies and your other studies while in the Middle East Studies graduate program.

For Thesis Option

In order to graduate in the quarter you applied, you must submit a copy of your signed Thesis Signature Page to the GPA, and a bound copy of your thesis to the Middle East Center (Thomson 225), both by 4:00 on the last Thursday of the quarter in which you are graduating.

See the Graduate School’s Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) Website for information about the Graduate School requirements for your thesis submission. Be sure to print the Master’s Supervisory Committee Approval Form and take it to your Oral Exam. You must take this to the Graduate School by 5:00 on the last day of the quarter.

When your thesis is complete, deposit one tape– or spiral-bound signed copy at the Middle East Center office (Thomson 225) or deliver to the GPA. You should be sure to have a copy signed for yourself as well. Members of your committee also may want a copy of your thesis.

Deliver a copy of the signed Master’s Supervisory Committee Approval Form to the GPA in Thomson 116 so that your graduation will not be delayed. When a copy of your Signature Page has been submitted to the GPA and the other finishing requirements are met, the Graduate School will be authorized to graduate you.

Students choosing the two-paper option must also pass an oral exam on their work, but do not need to deposit a copy of their papers to the Graduate School, or to the Middle East Center.

Students finishing with either the two-paper option or the thesis option must complete the Middle East Center Exit Questionnaire. Email the completed survey to the Associate Director of the Middle East Center, Felicia Hecker, at fhecker@uw.edu. This is a requirement in order for your graduation to be approved. 

On-Leave Status

Graduate students may take time off, one quarter at a time, by filing a Petition for On-Leave Status (not necessary Summer Quarter), which must be approved by the GPC. If you fail to register for any quarter (except Summer Quarter) without having gone on leave, you will lose your status as a student and have to apply for reinstatement to the graduate school. See Graduate School Memorandum 9 for more information.

Registration and Planning Your Class Schedule

Registration for classes begins in the middle of the preceding quarter (middle of Spring Quarter for Autumn). Course descriptions for Middle East Studies for the upcoming quarter are available at the Academic Services website prior to each registration period. As a continuing student you will be eligible to register in the first Registration Period. Registering early will allow entry into more of the classes you want. Keep in mind that with the exception of intensive language study, few classes on the Middle East are offered in Summer Quarter.

Taking Courses Outside of Requirements

You may take courses that do not fulfill program requirements. Comparative study is encouraged, and classes that do not meet Middle East Studies requirements may be useful. Make sure, however, that you make continuous progress toward your degree.  Taking too many courses outside the program could prevent you from completing the degree within two years.

Number of Credits Per Quarter

A normal load per quarter for Jackson School graduate students is 12-15 credits (3-4 courses, depending on credits per course). In the final quarter, students may take fewer courses as they focus on completing their Thesis or Papers. If you are receiving financial aid, or hold a scholarship, fellowship, or RA position, you must carry at least 10 credits per quarter. International students must be registered for 10 credits in order to maintain F-1 visa status.

You are not required to take a full course load every quarter, but taking a reduced load during Autumn Quarter may put you at a competitive disadvantage for fellowship consideration. It is difficult for the fellowship committee to assess your academic performance if you have taken only a course or two. Nearly all students finish this degree in two years (6-7 academic quarters). If you do not carry a full load in your first year, it may affect your ability to finish within two years. You should start your language studies as soon as possible.

Fellowship Applications and Financial Aid

You can be considered through the International and Area Studies Fellowship application for most fellowships offered by the Jackson School.  Application procedures will be announced in October; the application deadline is usually January 15, but it is a good idea to check the deadline well in advance. Awards are made in mid-April for the following summer and/or academic year.  Specific questions concerning FLAS should be addressed to the Fellowships Director, Robyn Davis (rldavis@uw.edu), in JSIS Academic Services.

Faculty evaluations and grades earned at the UW are of particular importance to fellowship committees, so it is helpful to carry a full load of relevant courses and do well in them. It is important to make good progress toward your degree before applying, and you must continue this progress if you receive a JSIS fellowship.

For information on need-based financial aid, see the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Library and Other Resources

The University has a large library system housed in many different buildings across all three campuses (Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma). There is a reference section on the ground level of the Suzzallo/Allen Library. The Near East librarian in Suzzallo is available for additional reference help.

Computer Resources

The JSGC has been successful on several occasions in applying for funds for computers and equipment. Thanks to these efforts, there are five workstations, a printer on the third floor in the Graduate Reading Room. You may use the printers after paying a quarterly fee for JSGC to Mark Haslam in 407 for paper and supplies. If you have any technical or software problems with the computers in either of the Jackson School computer labs, contact the Jackson School’s computer specialist, Mark Haslam, at jsishelp@uw.edu.

The University’s Computing Resource Center is in Mary Gates Hall. Information about this and other computer labs and resources can be found on the Web at UW IT Connect.

These labs offer word processing, spreadsheet, database, and graphics applications, and access to the Internet.  The Center for Social Science Computation and Research (CSSCR) in Savery 145 offers consultation on computer services for social science students, which includes all JSIS students.

Jackson School Resources

The Jackson School’s fourteen degree programs, including Middle East Studies, offer a wide range of colloquia and symposia featuring JSIS faculty members and guest speakers. Graduate students are encouraged to attend these events. Announcements are usually posted both in Thomson Hall and in the Jackson School Calendar of Events. This calendar is sent to the jsisgrads@uw.edu email list, or you can subscribe by email to the calendar by posting a message to: jsis@uw.edu. The calendar is updated and emailed weekly.

Timeline For Program Requirements

Deadline Last Day to:
Seventh Friday of your third quarter in the program Establish Supervisory Committee; obtain signatures and file Supervisory Committee Form with GPA
Two quarters before you plan to graduate Meet with the GPA to review your file and check requirements
5th Friday of yourfinal quarter* Submit final draft of your thesis or final papers to your supervisory committee
7th Sunday of final quarter* Apply for Master’s Degree on Graduate School website
8th Friday of final quarter* Schedule your oral exam once your papers or thesis are approved by your committee
Last Thursday of final quarter Provide via email completed Exit Questionnaire and electronic copy of thesis including signed signature page to Middle East Center (for those in thesis option).
4:00 last Thursday offinal quarter Take and pass exam
5:00 Last Thursday of final quarter Thesis option: Submit copy of thesis signature page to GPA
4:30 last Friday offinal quarter Thesis option: Submit thesis to Graduate School