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Master of Arts in International Studies

Program Description - Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies

The Master of Arts Degree in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies involves interdisciplinary study which allows students a great deal of flexibility in designing a course of study to meet career goals calling for area expertise.

Each student's program combines instruction in at least one language with interdisciplinary training. The Master of Arts Degree program ordinarily lasts two years and is designed (1) to provide a terminal degree for students preparing for careers in government and non-governmental organizations, journalism, business, or teaching at the pre-college level; and (2) to provide area training for students wishing to pursue the Ph.D. degree in a discipline.

The curriculum, which is especially strong in the social sciences, history, and regional cultures, encompasses courses in a wide range of departments, including Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Communications, Economics, Geography, History, International Studies, Linguistics, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, Political Science, Scandinavian Studies, Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Sociology; in the Schools of Art, Business Administration, Drama, Law, Marine Affairs, and Public Affairs; and in the College of Education. Independent study may be arranged to do work in other fields where there may be no regularly offered area courses.

Language instruction is offered on a regular basis in Russian through the advanced level, all three Baltic languages, and in most major modern languages of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Often it is possible to arrange independent study in relevant languages that are not offered regularly. Intensive programs offer the opportunity to do a full year's language work during summer quarter.

- Scott Radnitz, Chair

Admission Requirements
Applicants must meet basic Graduate School requirements, which include a 3.00 GPA for the last 90 quarter (60 semester) graded credits, and a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. The Graduate School also requires test results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). In addition, applicants must meet a language prerequisite of two years at the college level. For those focusing on Russia, the language must be Russian. For those focusing on Eastern Europe or Central Asia, the language may be either a language of the region or one that is relevant to the student's area of interest (e.g., German or Russian). Applicants also must meet all application requirements and deadlines set by the Jackson School and described in its application guidelines. Because this is a competitive program, meeting the minimum standards does not ensure admission.

Degree Requirements

Including the two years required for entry, students must complete four years of relevant study (or gain equivalent proficiency), meeting one of the following options: 

A) four years of a single language; or 

B) two years each of two relevant languages for those not focusing on Russia.

Students focusing on Russia will be expected to complete four years of Russian. For Eastern Europe or Central Asia they must study at least one area language (in which it may be impossible to obtain four years' instruction) and may complete the requirement by taking a relevant language from outside the area.


Required Courses:

  • JSIS A 504/Introductory Research Methodology and Bibliography, (5 credits)
    An introduction to the history of the REECAS region, methods of scholarly inquiry and library resources, journals, databases, etc.
  • JSIS A 514/515 Thesis Seminar, (2-2 credits)
    A two-part thesis seminar. JSIS A 514 is taken in Spring quarter of the first year of study, and JSIS A 514 in Winter of the second year of study.

    Other coursework: 

    25 to 30 credits divided between a discipline of concentration and at least two minor disciplines. 
  • Discipline of concentration, (minimum of 15 credits)
    Typically history, economics, geography, political science, or literature and culture
  • Minor discipline, (minimum of 10 credits)
    Typically those listed as disciplines of concentration

While students normally focus their studies on one major geographical region, the program provides flexibility to take courses on other regions as well. 

Final Papers and Oral Exam
At the end of their course of study, students will submit an original thesis and take an interdisciplinary oral exam. The oral exam will be devoted to questions about the thesis, as well as a general examination of major and minor disciplines.

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African Studies Program
University of Washington
326 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195

Joel Ngugi / Chair
Associate Professor, School of Law

Mary Kay Gugerty/Adjunct Director
Associate Professor, Evans School of Public Affairs

Erin Murphy/Program Assistant
Autumn Quarter Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 9-12, or by appt.
206.616.0998 office
206.685.0668 fax

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