University of Washington

Office of Academic Services

Thomson Hall Room 111
First-year plan

Program Requirements
for a
Master of Arts in International Studies Degree


The first three requirements listed below are proficiency requirements; students who demonstrate sufficient background in these areas will be deemed to have satisfied the requirements. Those without sufficient prior coursework in these areas must take these courses while completing the degree.

• Language Requirement:
Students must reach a proficiency equivalent to the completion of 3rd year level in either Japanese or Chinese, OR a proficiency equivalent to completion of the 2nd year level in any other modern foreign language.

• Economics Requirement:
Students must complete intermediate level economics. Among the courses that can be taken to fulfill this requirement are ECON 300 and ECON 301. This requirement is waived if taken prior to entering the program or as a component of a concurrent professional degree program.

• Statistical Analysis:
Students must take one statistics course for the social sciences. This requirement is waived if taken prior to entering the program or as a component of a concurrent professional degree program.

Required Core Courses (18 credits):

  • 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. Required common course for all first-year graduate and doctoral students. (Autumn quarter of first year)
  • JSIS 501 Origins of Global Systems/Comparative International Studies (5 credits)
    Focuses on comparison across geographical areas, including comparative political economy, comparative cultures, and comparative institutions. Familiarizes students with comparative methods of inquiry, an understanding of the interplay between area studies and cross-regional theories, and skills in conducting comparative research and writing. (Autumn quarter of first year)

  • JSIS 511 Research Design and Methods for International Studies (5 credits)
    Covers basic principles of research design, exposes students to excellent examples of basic research within international studies as practiced in the social sciences from case studies to large n designs, and prepares students for conducting their own independent research project. Students are expected to complete short assignments throughout the quarter, develop critical methodologically focused, commenting skills on research articles, and produce a research proposal for their thesis or one of their empirical research papers. (Spring quarter of first year)
  • JSIS 591-592-593 Colloquium in International Studies (1 credit each)
    Offered every quarter to enhance MA student knowledge of the international studies field, to foster research collaborations among students and faculty, and to socialize students to develop writing, research, and presentation skills. Each quarter for two academic years.

Focus Requirements (18 credits):
Students are required to complete two of the following three fields, with a minimum of 9 credits and 3 courses in each field. The courses in these fields are selected from among those offered by the Jackson School, social science departments or professional schools. All courses should be at the 400 level or above and must be approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator. Students who are pursuing a concurrent degree must choose the Professional Field as one of their specializations. A maximum of 3 courses from professional schools can be counted towards satisfying the focus requirements.

1. Regional Studies Focus
Students may focus on Japan, China, Korea, Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, Canada Latin America or Western Europe.

2. International Studies Field Focus
Students may focus on one of four themes:

1. States, Markets and Society;
2. Governance, Law and Rights;
3. Culture and Religion;
4. Peace and Security.

3. Professional Focus
This focus consists of courses offered by a professional school that deal with the international and comparative dimensions of the profession. Students pursuing a concurrent professional degree can count 9-12 of these credits concurrently for both the MAIS degree and their professional degree.

Final Papers or Thesis, Oral Exam:
Three quarters before a student plans to graduate and with the approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator, he/she must form a Supervisory Committee composed of two faculty members representing the fields the student has chosen. The Chair must be International Studies faculty.

This Committee oversees the

Thesis or Two Research Papers
In consultation with their Supervisory Committee, students are required to complete a significant written research product. This could be a master’s thesis.

Theses normally range between 40 and 70 pages.

Alternatively, students can write two research papers both demonstrating original research. One of these papers must be an original empirical analysis that is either aimed towards a scholarly audience or a policy audience. The second paper for the degree is also an original research paper but does not require empirical evidence and analysis. Concurrent degree students may submit the written paper required through their professional degree program as their second MAIS paper. These papers must have sufficient international content or substance to count towards the MAIS degree.

Oral Exam
This exam is based on the thesis or two research papers but ranges broadly across the field of International Studies.

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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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