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FP Guide

2016 Graduate Education

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University of Washington, Jackson School of International Studies

Developing a deep understanding of a particular region or culture—or background in comparative studies—can be a valuable way to distinguish oneself as an international affairs professional. The University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies (JSIS) is known for its strong emphasis on regional, cross-cultural, and comparative studies. In fact, origins of the Jackson School go back to an Asian studies program founded by linguists in 1909.

University of Washington

University of Washington

Today, seven of the Jackson School’s 10 master’s degree programs focus on area studies: the MA programs in China Studies; Japan Studies; Korean Studies; Middle East Studies; Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies; South Asian Studies; and Southeast Asian Studies. The school also offers an MA in Comparative Religion and a more general MA in International Studies. The 10-month MA in Applied International Studies is for students who have at least five years of professional experience.

The Jackson School’s 200 master’s degree students benefit from an unusual combination of global and regional expertise across the entire faculty. “Each professor has not only a global orientation, but also an area specialty,” notes Reşat Kasaba, the school’s director.

Reşat Kasaba, director, University of Washington, Jackson School of International Studies

Reşat Kasaba, director, University of Washington, Jackson School of International Studies

While some international affairs schools focus more on economics and quantitative research, programs at the Jackson School emphasize history, the social sciences, political science, language studies, cultural studies, and professional skills training. Before entering the MA program, students must have at least two years of college-level language study (or three years, in the case of Arabic, Chinese, or Japanese).

As the nation’s largest recipient of Department of Education grants to support area studies, the Jackson School is able to offer a wide range of scholarships and fellowships, including many awarded directly by the school and others available through the school’s eight Title VI National Resource Centers: Canadian Studies; East Asia Center; West European Studies; Global Studies; Middle East Studies; Ellison Center for Russian, East European & Central Asian Studies; South Asian Studies; and Southeast Asian Studies. Each of these centers receives Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships to offer to qualified students.

Students also take advantage of the school’s location: Thanks to Jackson School partnerships with Seattle-based, globally oriented companies, foundations, and nonprofit organizations, graduate students have access to a wide range of professional opportunities in the Seattle area and beyond. Seattle is home to Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, and other leading companies, as well as many globally oriented nonprofit organizations and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private foundation. Jackson School students often work in small groups on applied research projects with these and other local partners. Such projects enhance students’ wide range of internship and career opportunities locally, nationally, and around the globe.