International Studies (General) – Major and Minor

International Studies Major FAQ

1. How long does it take to complete the major?

There are 70 credits required to complete the IS program, plus language proficiency through the second-year college level. If one were to enter the program with no foreign language or JSIS coursework, it would take two years at 15 credits a quarter, three quarters per year, plus one additional quarter of ten credits. However, students enter with at least some of the program requirements completed – usually part or all of the SIS 200 series, a course or courses in economics and globalization, and foreign language study – so the average time needed to complete the program is between one and two years. Of course, UW proficiency and distribution requirements must also be met.

2. When should I apply?

Sophomore standing is preferred for admission, but many students also apply during their junior year. By that time, they usually have completed both micro- and macro-economics (or JSIS/GEOG 123 in place of macro-economics) and the JSIS 200-202 series. Students are seldom admitted during the senior year. Target enrollment for each graduating class guides admissions, and there are fewer available spaces for seniors.

Transfer students must have completed at least one quarter at the UW before applying.

3. What are the requirements for being admitted to the major?

Although there are no specific GPA requirements for acceptance into the major, there are some general guidelines to follow. These vary slightly from year to year, depending upon how many people apply. Recently, most admitted applicants have achieved above a 3.4 in JSIS courses and above a 2.5 in ECON courses. Students with a cumulative GPA below 3.00 are rarely admitted, but exceptions are sometimes made based on other factors. If you are concerned about your qualifications, please see an International Studies adviser.

At a minimum, completion of (1) ECON 200, ECON 201, or JSIS/GEOG 123, and (2) JSIS 200 orJSIS 201, is required for serious consideration. Because the admission committee primarily considers academic performance in JSIS and ECON courses, you must have completed these courses in order to have a solid basis for acceptance. Completion of major coursework beyond the minimum at the time of application is desirable because it gives the committee additional evidence to compare your preparation with that of other applicants.

4. May I apply more than once to the International Studies major if I am not accepted on the first try?

There is no limit to the number of times you may apply. However, if you are a junior or senior and have been denied once, you should check with an adviser in Thomson 111 to assess your chances and options. There is the danger that you will have earned a great deal of IS program credit without being admitted, and this credit probably would not apply to another program of study. You may consider completing the IS minor instead or the Canadian Studies major both of which include substantial IS major coursework. Students who are deferred, rather than denied, are encouraged to apply again. This status is given to an applicant who looks promising but may need to demonstrate additional proficiencies to be competitive.

5. How often are IS courses offered during the year?

Generally, IS courses are offered once a year. Some 300- and 400- level courses are offered once every other year. Therefore, it is important to work with an adviser in planning a program of study. TypicallyJSIS 200 and 202 are each offered once a year— autumn and spring. JSIS 201 is offered each winter and also in spring. JSIS B 330 is offered autumn and sometimes spring; JSIS 495, Task Force, is offered winter only; JSIS 498, Readings in International Studies, usually is offered during autumn and spring quarters. Various track and core course requirements are offered all quarters. During summer quarter a limited selection of core and track courses is offered, as well as economics and intensive foreign language courses.

6. What kinds of jobs do IS majors obtain upon graduation?

Graduates obtain jobs in all sectors. As a liberal arts degree, the IS major does not provide training for a specific vocation, as do accounting, engineering, or computer science programs. Many graduates work in international areas of business, local and federal government, or with private non-profit agencies. Some go into the field of education. It is often their personal interests and work experience gained through internships and part-time jobs that assist graduates in getting an initial job after graduation.

7. Are internships available? How does one get credit for them?

Internships are part-time work assignments with organizations in which the student assists with day-to-day tasks or performs work on special projects. The Jackson School maintains relations with a variety of government, business, and non-profit organizations that use student interns on a regular basis. Information on these organizations is available in Thomson 111. Typically, students work for one or two quarters, often on a volunteer basis. Internships are available locally, in Washington DC, and overseas.

8. When is the best time to do an internship?

Although you may do an internship at any point during your course of study, most organizations prefer students in their junior or senior year. Some organizations do not offer internships to non-students, so it is generally a good idea to complete an internship while still enrolled in school (or, in some cases, within a few months after graduation). Doing an internship outside of Seattle for a quarter or longer during your senior year may cause delays in graduating, because you may miss a required course offered only once a year. Please talk with an adviser regarding course schedules.

9. Will transfer courses from other colleges/universities count towards the program requirements?

The courses that count most readily are micro- and macro-economics (ECON 200 and 201) and foreign language courses. Other courses occasionally take the place of one of the SIS requirements, but not usually. Please check with an adviser in Thomson 111 if you would like coursework from another institution considered for IS credit. Shoreline and Edmonds Community Colleges and Bellevue College all offer courses that are equivalent to courses in the JSIS 200 series.

10. Will courses taken abroad count toward completion of program requirements?

Courses taken on study-abroad programs at recognized colleges or universities may take the place of some of the required coursework, but in all cases an adviser or program chair must approve such substitutions. Coursework taken abroad is most readily applicable to track and foreign language requirements. If you are considering studying abroad (which is highly recommended), please consult with an adviser in Thomson 111, who can give an initial indication of which courses are most likely to receive IS credit. However, a final decision will be made when you return; at that time you should bring in a transcript, the syllabus and reading list from the course, and any papers or tests you have written. Information on overseas study opportunities is available from the Office of International Programs and Exchanges, 453 Schmitz Hall, 221-4404.

11. When is the best time to study abroad?

Generally, some time before your senior year– again, because certain required courses can be taken only as a senior. Absence at that time would mean extending your program to complete the requirements.

12. Can the language requirement be met without coursework if a student already speaks a foreign language?

Yes, but only upon completion of a placement test administered by the appropriate language department of the University of Washington or another accredited university. In cases where there is no coursework to transfer to the UW, actual course credit is not awarded; the language requirement is merely considered satisfied.