Bachelor of Arts Degree

Program Description - International Studies

The International Studies Program combines social sciences and humanities to examine international problems and change. Using a diverse, multidisciplinary approach, the Program encourages students to look at our increasingly interdependent world in order to learn how to study it and understand its politics, societies, economies, and cultures.

- Sara Curran, Chair

Major Requirements

The major consists of approximately 70 credit hours plus language study within a general four-year B.A. course of study:

  • Modern foreign language competency through second-year college level
  • ECON 200 Microeconomics
  • ECON 201 Macroeconomics or  JSIS/GEOG 123 Introduction to Globalization
  • JSIS 200 States & Capitalism: Origins of the Modern Global System (Autumn quarter)
  • JSIS 201 The Making of the Twenty-first Century (Winter or Spring quarter
  • JSIS 202 Cultural Interactions in an Interdependent World (Spring quarter)
  • JSIS B 330 International Political Economy
    Due to Jackson School preparations for curriculum revision, students are required to fulfill their political economy requirement by taking JSIS B 330 or one of the courses from the following list. The course used for this purpose may not double count for another track or core course.
    JSIS 478 Advanced Topics in International Studies (min. 5 cr. - with adviser approval)
    JSIS A 430 Security Affairs
    JSIS A 459 United States-China Relations (w/POL S 419)
    JSIS A 465 International Humanitarian Law
    JSIS B 331 Political Economy of Development
    JSIS B 404 Political Economy of Religious Institutions
    JSIS B 406 Political Islam (with POL S 432)
    JSIS B 407 Political Islam & Contemporary Islamist Movements
    JSIS B 421 National Security and International Affairs
    JSIS B 422 The U.S. and the Contemporary International System
    JSIS B 423 Practicing American Foreign Policy
    JSIS B 425 International Law and Arms Control
    JSIS B 426 World Politics (with POL S 426)
    JSIS B 427 Weapons of Mass Destruction: Development, Deployment, & Detection
    JSIS B 429 Eco-capitalism
    JSIS B 436 Ethnic Politics and Nationalism (with POL S 436)
    JSIS B 439 Law and Political Power
    JSIS B 467 Nations and States in the Modern World (with HIST 467)
    JSIS B 476 Comparative International Political Economy
    JSIS D 450 Political Economy of Women & Family in the Third World (w/ SOC 450)
    JSIS D 477 Catholic Church in World Affairs
  • JSIS 495 Task Force, provides a small group setting for in-depth investigation of international policy issues (taken Winter quarter, seniors only). Students taking Task Force in 2015 must take JSIS 478 J (Task Force workshop - 1 cr.) in Autumn quarter 2014 before taking Task Force.
  • JSIS 498 a seminar which includes reading and writing about major texts (taken in Autumn or Spring of final year).
  • Three approved, upper-level interdisciplinary "CORE" courses in International Studies 
  • Three or four upper-division courses in an approved track (see below)

Majors are required to maintain a grade point average of at least 2.5, both overall and in the program, and earn a minimum 2.0 grade in all required JSIS/A/B/C/D/E-prefix courses.

Overlapping credits: A maximum of 15 credits that are used to fulfill minimum requirements of any other UW major can be counted in this major.

Approved tracks: Canada; China; Japan; East Asia; South Asia; Southeast Asia; Latin America; Middle East; Western Europe; Russia/Eastern Europe; Development; Environmental Studies; Ethnicity and Nationalities; Global Health; Jewish Studies; International Communication; International Human Rights, Law, State and Society; International Political Economy; Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace and Security

List of approved CORE courses
Lists of approved track courses

Download the SIS Major Handbook (PDF Format)

Admission to the Major

Admission to the major in International Studies is by application. Applications may be submitted by the third Friday of Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters. Before applying, students must have attended UW for at least one quarter, and have completed the following prerequisites to qualify for serious consideration.

  1. Either JSIS 200 or 201, and
  2. One of the following: ECON 200, 201, or JSIS/GEOG 123 

Students may apply for admission to the major as early as spring of the freshman year, if they have completed the appropriate course work.  Students are encouraged to apply as sophomores, and should apply no later than winter of their junior year. Transfer students should have completed at least one quarter at the University of Washington before applying. 

Criteria used to select students include GPA, foreign language ability, international experience, a one-page statement of goals and educational background, and performance in JSIS 200 and/or 201 and, if taken, JSIS/GEOG 123, and ECON 200 and/or ECON 201. Additional upper-level major-related coursework is also reviewed if taken. Students are notified of admission or denial by the end of the third week following the application period. 


To see a list of Frequently Asked Questions, click HERE

Procedure for Applying

To apply to the major, students must complete at least one academic quarter at the University of Washington-Seattle, and submit the following stapled in the following order:

  1. Unofficial UW transcript (printer-friendly version from MyUW). Write your UW email address and telephone number on the upper right-hand corner of your transcript.
  2. Unofficial or official transfer transcripts for college-level studies completed to date.
  3. A one-page statement, typed and double-spaced, responding to the following questions: What are your personal/education goals, and how do you expect those to be met through an International Studies major? What background do you bring to the program? Describe any special experience that would contribute to your studies in the field.

Drop off the application in the Office of Academic Services, Thomson Hall 111 no later than the third Friday of the quarter in which you apply. 

For more details follow these links below. 

SIS Major Tracks
SIS Core Course list
SIS Major Two Year Planning Guide
SIS Major Student Handbook
Task Force Handbook
Link to Previous Task Force Reports
Center for Global Studies


International Studies Minor Requirements

It is also possible to complete a minor in International Studies. For the minor, students must complete 30 credits, to include:

  1. 10 credits chosen from JSIS 200, 201, 202;
  2. 15 credits in JSIS B-prefix courses including at least 10 credits at 300 or 400 level (courses with other JSIS prefixes are not eligible, but JSIS 478 may be counted);
  3. 5 additional credits chosen from undergraduate courses having any of the following prefixes: JSIS A, JSIS B, JSIS D.

Minimum grade of 2.0 is required in each course applied toward the minor.

Revised 9/8/2014

Jackson School
Office of Academic Services
111 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-6001