Program Overview


University of Washington 

Founded in 1861, the University of Washington has 41,000 students (28,000 undergraduate and 13,000 graduate/professional) and 3,100 full-time instructional faculty divided into 16 schools and colleges. The University's annual operating budget is roughly $4.7 billion.

The University of Washington is one of the premier research-intensive universities in the United States. From 1974 – 2009 the UW received more federal research funding than any other U.S. public university, and since 2009 has been in the top two. The UW faculty includes more than 120 members of the National Academies, fourteen MacArthur Fellows, five winners of the National Medal of Science, and six Nobel Prize winners. Programs from across the campus are ranked among the best in their fields.

The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

The University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies is uniquely placed to provide students with a deep understanding of today’s world. A global recognized institution for area studies, the Jackson School hosts nine area studies master’s programs, a Ph.D. program, and fourteen area research centers, eight of which are designated as National Resource Centers by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Study in Seattle – a hub of innovation

The University of Washington’s location in the heart of Seattle, a global city and major international trading port set strategically on the Pacific Rim, provides a complementary and unparalleled learning experience for students. Seattle-based companies and organizations are not only at the forefront of U.S.-Asia relations, they are driving American innovation, pioneering advances in technology, and leading the fields of global health, biomedical research, environmental sustainability, strategic philanthropy, international development and more. The MAAIS program taps into this expertise, bringing leaders from across the Seattle community directly into the classroom. Learn more about Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

MAAIS Curriculum


The MAAIS curriculum leverages the Jackson School’s strengths in area studies, politics and social change, and cultural and environmental dynamics, and offers a comprehensive understanding of the historical drivers, current realities, and future trends facing key regions around the globe. Throughout the 10-month program, students will also engage with a multidisciplinary group of business, government, non-profit, and foundation leaders tackling pressing global challenges from diverse perspectives. Coursework will allow students to polish their skills in briefing, negotiation, risk assessment, crisis management & decision-making, critical data analysis, lateral and vertical collaboration, and policy/business writing.



Introduction to International and Area Studies
(Resat Kasaba)
Taught by the director of the Jackson School, this class exposes students to the wide range of teaching and research agendas represented by Jackson School faculty. Required common course for all first-year graduate and doctoral students, complemented by a dedicated weekly coffee with JSIS authors and the MAAIS cohort.

Foundations of the World Order
(Saadia Pekkanen, Anand Yang, Tony Lucero, David Bachman)
This course covers the economic, political, military, social, and cultural forces that have shaped the foundations of the contemporary world order. Using a selective examination of major historical shifts, it explains the role played by both state and non-state players in Europe, the US, and rising Asia in shaping the substance and direction of the international system.

Tackling Global Challenges in an Interdependent World
(Jamie Nelson and Dave Johnson)
This course will look at a series of international affairs challenges through a multi-disciplinary lens. Topics will include human trafficking, disaster relief, cyber-security, political transitions, and more, and highlight the actions of key stakeholders across the international affairs spectrum (business, philanthropy, government, social enterprise, etc) in affecting these issues. Coursework will include policy and business writing.

International Law and the Use of Force
(Rick Lorenz)
This course will examine the legal foundations for the use of military force in a time of dynamic change in international relations, to include the Just War Theory and how it has evolved over time, as well as International Humanitarian Law (the Law of Armed Conflict) and its application to modern warfare. Topics covered will include humanitarian intervention, the UN "responsibility to protect," terrorism, suicide bombers, "unprivileged belligerents," targeted killing and robotic warfare.



Global Economic Trends and Challenges
(Gary Hamilton, Vince Gallucci, and Christine Ingebritsen)
This course examines the structure of the global economy, including trade and international financial markets, with special emphasis on the Asian and European economies. It culminates with discussion of the economic and governance challenges posed by climate change and the opening of the Arctic, and the societal and cultural impacts of these shifts.

Political Economy of Development
(Jeffrey Begun)
This course looks at growth, income distribution, and economic development in less-developed countries today, and focuses on policies concerning trade, industrialization, the agricultural sector, human resources, and the financing of development.

Governance, Transparency, and Anti-Corruption
(Todd Williams)
This course examines the structural components of good governance in public and private arenas and looks closely at the causes and implications of corruption on institutions and society. Relayed through the lenses of government, business and the non-profit world, the course covers the legal framework which governs corrupt practices, private sector ethics and anti-corruption measures, corruption in the provision and use of development aid, and transparency initiatives implemented through international structures, such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

JSIS Elective - see current JSIS courses for examples



The Changing Nature of States and Societies
(Anand Yang, Jim Wellman, Resat Kasaba, Kathie Friedman, Scott Montgomery)
This course will examine four principal domains of transformation in contemporary nation states: poverty, religion, migration, and energy. Trends over the past decade have proven these domains to have both stabilizing and destabilizing societal impacts. Stability and instability will serve as the thematic focus for the class, allowing us to probe more deeply into topics such as: current patterns in global/local poverty, models used in poverty analysis, and policy approaches for addressing poverty; the evolving significance of religion in various geographies and its impact on human security; the circumstances of forcibly displaced populations and the associated challenges facing decision-makers; and shifting patterns in global and local energy consumption and demand in view of priorities created by climate change and economic development.

Interconnected and Non-Traditional Approaches to Security
(Kristian Coates Ulrichsen)
This course examines how regional and global security agendas are evolving in response to issues that increasingly are non-military and longer-term in nature. Using the Middle East as an example, students will contextualize the changing relationship between ‘traditional’ and ‘new’ security paradigms within a broader political, economic, social, and demographic framework. Topics of analysis will encompass resource (food, water, energy) insecurity, demographic pressures and structural imbalances, challenges facing resource-rich states in the transition to post-oil political economies, and the wider threat from environmental degradation and climate change.

Task Force - Part I
Each spring and summer quarter, MAAIS students will work in teams to tackle a challenging international affairs issue and provide actionable policy recommendations to an external client. We will look to Civic Council members to suggest Task Force ideas – complex matters that their organizations are grappling with at the time, on which a group of professional students from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds may be able to provide an interesting perspective. During spring quarter, students will be introduced to their Task Force challenge, meet with their Task Force advisor and arrange a briefing by their client. Students will work outside of the classroom to define the scope of the challenge, undertake in-depth analysis of the underlying issues, and begin to flesh out actionable policy and programmatic recommendations.

JSIS Elective - see current JSIS courses for examples



The World Today and Tomorrow
(Robert Pekkanen)
This course provides a capstone experience for MAAIS students, with an opportunity to reflect upon and synthesize what they have learned in their previous coursework. The course also guides students into applying their knowledge to realistic analyses of current problems in international studies through an intensive simulation experience, which emphasizes leadership, negotiation, and real-time crisis management and decision-making.

Current and Future Geopolitical Challenges
(Biswas and Goel)
This course will examine a plethora of interconnected challenges that affect the global geopolitical environment. Topics will include militancy, border disputes and democratization efforts, using South Asia as a frame of reference. The course will highlight historical and current issues, and the role that different state, regional, and global actors play in shaping the interactions between and within South Asian countries. We will discuss how these issues affect U.S. foreign policy as well as broader international security decision-making, and look at how stakeholders in both the public and private spheres are influencing, and being influenced, by developments in the region. Coursework will include a focus on risk assessment.

Task Force - Part II
Students will finalize their written client report and present their findings and recommendations in a formal client briefing.



Media, Public Speaking, and Strategic Communications
The MAAIS program will run a series of workshops throughout the fall and winter quarters, which introduce MAAIS students to a range of communications and media-related topics critical to international affairs practitioners. Expertise in these areas will be drawn from the MAAIS Civic Council, and additional partnerships with leading journalists, speechwriters, and communications experts. Topics will include public speaking, messaging, speech writing, media training, advocacy, and public diplomacy. MAAIS students will utilize the skills acquired through this work in a 10-week Jackson School speaker series, in which they will draw on their unique background and expertise and prepare and present a 15-minute talk to Jackson School students and faculty.

Big Data Series
The MAAIS program will sponsor a speaker series on Big Data, an information trend that is shifting the landscape for policy-makers, business leaders, and development and security experts around the world. Over the course of the 10-month program, expert guests will engage with MAAIS students to examine what Big Data is, how we unlock its value (in diplomatic, development, business and security contexts), and the ethics and privacy issues at stake as we do so.



Graduates of the MAAIS program will receive a Master of Arts in International Studies degree. The full title of the 1-year option that will be listed on graduate transcripts is Master of Arts in International Studies (Applied International Studies Option).



Master of Arts in Applied International Studies
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195