M.A. in International Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I apply to a Jackson School master’s program? What is the deadline?

A: Applications are due in January, and students begin the program in September. The deadline for Autumn 2025 application is January 31, 2025.

Q: How long should the Writing Sample be?

There is no minimum or maximum length. Some people use a strong paper of only 15 pages or less, some use an entire undergraduate thesis. In the latter case, it should not be shortened or abstracted. The admissions committee probably will not read the entire thesis, but it is best to allow them to choose which parts they will read.

Q: My writing sample is in a language other than English. Can I submit that for the Writing Sample?

A: The writing sample must be in English. Your work in the Master’s program will be in English, and the admissions committee must be able to evaluate your potential for writing graduate level papers by using an example of your work in English.

Q: I don’t have access to any of my college essays to submit for a writing sample. Are there other alternatives? Can I write something new to submit? And if so, do you have preferred topics or questions for essays?

A: Some applicants write an ad hoc paper for the purpose of the application. It would be strongest if it treats a social science subject, utilizes sources and includes a bibliography.

Q: Do I also need to mail a paper copy of the application?

A: The application is completed online. Please DO NOT submit any paper documents through the mail.

Q: How long should the Statement of Purpose be?

A: 2-3 pages (1.5-spaced), briefly describing your background, experience, academic interests and goals. It should demonstrate your ability to make your point concisely and include your language background. You must include a solid paragraph about why the school is a good fit for you as well (faculty you would like to work with, potential courses you’d like to take, school resources that would be beneficial for your future career path, etc.)

Q: What should I include in the Personal History Statement?

A: In 1-2 pages (1.5-spaced), explain any racial, ethnical, educational, cultural, and economic backgrounds and disadvantages that you have / have experienced, and ways those experiences have affected the development of your special interests, career plans, and future goals.

Q: Do you require official transcripts as part of the application?

A: We do not require that you have official transcripts as part of your admission application. If you are offered admission and choose to accept the offer, you will be required to have official transcripts sent to the Graduate School, Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) when requested by that office.

You must upload unofficial copies of your transcripts as part of the application.

Q: My professor is not able to submit the recommendation until after the deadline. Is this OK?

A: It is acceptable if your letters of recommendation arrive up to a a few days after the deadline. Some faculty are on leave or away from the office, and we accept that. As long as the recommendations arrive by February 4, 2025, your application would not be compromised.

Q: Can recommendation letters be in a language other than English?

A: Recommendations must be in English for several reasons. This is a requirement of the Graduate School because graduate programs are periodically audited. Staff members who need information from the recommendations may not read the non-English language concerned. Some of the faculty in the admissions committee may not read the non-English language involved.

Q:  For the recommendation letter, my professor will only write me the recommendation letter in a paper version instead of electronically. Can she send her recommendation letter via the postal mail to your office address?

A: The application is completed online, and this include the submission of letters of recommendation. Please DO NOT submit any paper documents through the mail.

Q: Is my application complete?

A: After preliminary reviews have been conducted, you will be able to see whether your application is complete by returning to your application page, where the complete or incomplete status of your application will be visible.

Q: Can I make changes to my application after I submit it?

A: Once you submit your application, you cannot revise your uploaded materials, such as the Writing Sample, Resume, or previous schools/universities attended. You can, however, make changes to your recommenders.

Q: Is the GRE required?

A: Some Jackson School M.A. programs do not require GRE scores, while others strongly recommend that all applicants take it as part of the application process. Please contact the respective M.A. program you are applying for to get information about GRE requirements

Q: If the program I am applying for requires the GRE, but I only took the GMAT. Can I substitute my GMAT score report for the GRE requirement?

A: Applicants to Jackson School Master’s programs who are also applying to the Business School to pursue the MBA degree as a concurrent program with a Jackson School Master’s degree may substitute the GMAT for the GRE.

If you are applying concurrently to the Law School JD program: the International Studies, Japan Studies and Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies programs accept the LSAT in lieu of the GRE. You will have to make the request through lawadm@uw.edu. Ask that your LSAT scores be provided to jsisma@uw.edu. If you are applying instead to a School of Law Graduate Program, and you have an LLM account with LSAC which includes an LSAT score, then you can reach out to Gradlaw@uw.edu to request the score to be sent.

Q: How much emphasis is given to the GRE for the programs that require it?

A: Each part of the application is important. Admissions committee members usually rank each part of the application from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) and use the total score to rank applicants. For example, if an applicant has a strong Statement of Purpose, they might get a 5, acceptable GRE scores might receive 3, good recommendations a 4, a very good transcript a 5, and so on. Not doing well on any one part does not eliminate you from those likely to be offered admission, but it is suggested that you do as well as you can.

If my TOEFL score is below 90 would my application be rejected without any consideration?

If your TOEFL score is below 92 (See Graduate School Policy 3.2.), your application will still be considered. If you are offered admission, you will be required to take Academic English Program courses alongside courses for your graduate program. Note that AEP courses are paid-for in addition to tuition.

If your TOEFL score is below 80, you will not be considered for admission.

Q: How recent must my TOEFL be?

A: Scores are valid for only two years from the test date. The Graduate School would need to have an application with fee submitted within that two year limit.

Q: Do you accept the IELTS exam?

A: Yes. The Minimum Required Score is 6.5 overall (and you would still have to take Academic English Program courses alongside courses for your graduate program) and the Recommended Score to fulfill the EPL requirement is 7.0 overall.

Q. How can I check the status of my test scores?

A: To check on whether your GRE scores and/or electronic letters of recommendation have been received, return to your application website. Once the scores have been received by the University of Washington the receipt of the item will appear on your screen.  Note that it takes up to one week from the  time you finalize your application for your scores to be matched to your application. You will also be able to see on this page whether your application is complete.

Q: What is the department code for the GRE or TOEFL?

A: No department code for the Jackson School is needed. The University of Washington code for these exams is 4854. All scores are reported electronically by the Educational Testing Service to the UW, and the score report or reports will be visible to any UW department to which you apply.

Any report of GRE or TOEFL scores to the UW will be visible to any department to which you apply. In other words, if you also apply to, say, Public Affairs and International Studies, both departments will see the scores. The same applies with unrelated departments. For example, you might have applied to Philosophy as well as the JSIS program. Both departments will have access to your scores.

Q: My Bachelor’s degree will not be awarded until Spring or Summer. May I still apply?

A: Yes, many applicants’ degrees are awarded in Spring or Summer. If your degree will be awarded after September 15, you will have to wait until next year to apply. All students beginning the graduate program must have Bachelor’s or higher degrees prior to starting.

Q: Can I defer enrollment if I’m accepted to a Jackson School program?

A: Yes. Under specific circumstances (no visa appointments available in your country, financial constraints, family-related emergencies, etc.), the school can differ your admission to Winter, Spring, or the following Autumn only once.

Q: Do any of your programs offer Winter or Spring admission?

A: Application to all of our programs is for fall quarter only. We do not offer rolling admission.

Q: If I submit my application early, will I receive an early decision?

A: All applications are considered by the admissions committee at the same time. We do not provide early decisions.

Q: I’m interested in applying to the Ph.D. program in International Studies. Can you give me information on it?

A: Please see jsis.washington.edu/phd/ for information about the Jackson School Ph.D. program.

Q: What funding is available?

A: For information on funding opportunities please see jsis.washington.edu/advise/funding/. Occasionally, Jackson School students have been able to obtain Teaching Assistantships (TA) with other departments, such as Political Science, Spanish, and other departments where the students have experience, and if the department has a shortage of qualified graduate students in the department. This is usually possible once the student is accepted and approaches the other department about TA possibilities.

Q: What is the tuition rate?

A: See the UW Graduate Tuition Dashboard for an overview of tuition and fees. For students concurrently in professional degree programs, such as the MBA or MPA, tuition rates are assessed at higher tuition tiers. Check with the concurrent program’s office for the tuition tier.  Note that the information on these pages relates to current year tuition rates. Tuition is expected to rise by 8% each year. Tuition is set for the upcoming academic year by the UW Board of Regents in July of each year.

Q: I would like to talk with current students in the program to see what their impressions are of the school and the program.

A: If you are offered admission in the program you will receive, on request, the names and email addresses of current students who have volunteered to exchange messages with prospective new students who are considering whether to accept the offer to the Jackson School master’s program.

Q: What are the requirements for international applicants?

A: See the Graduate School website for Graduate School requirements. See Graduate School Memorandum 8 for information about English Language proficiency requirements.