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FP Guide

2018 Applying to Grad School

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University of Washington, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies


The Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) at the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies is a versatile, two-year degree that allows students to focus on one of seven geographic regions—Middle East Studies, for example, or Korea Studies—or to concentrate on comparative religion or general international studies.

“The Jackson School is constantly updating the courses and programs we offer to address the latest issues of concern, from climate change to the refugee crisis,” says Vanessa Freije, director of the honors program and assistant professor of international studies. “In addition, our longstanding commitment to the study of world languages and deep area knowledge is part of what gives our programs an edge.”

Most students in the MAIS program focus on a geographic region and pursue language studies. All MA programs require two or three years of language study or demonstrated proficiency. Students may complete the language requirement while pursuing their degree. “Many students study or do research abroad for a summer, a quarter, or even a full year,” says Sonja Renner, graduate advising and admissions manager.

“The Jackson School is constantly updating the courses and programs we offer to address the latest issues of concern, from climate change to the refugee crisis.” -Vanessa Freije, Assistant Professor of International Studies and Director, Honors Program, Jackson School, University of Washington

Recently, Jackson School students have received fellowships to learn or hone languages such as Arabic and Mandarin, and to study in places such as Morocco, South Korea, and the Brazilian Amazon.

“That kind of experience helps prepare them for successful careers in the industries and sectors that define our world now and into the future,” says Freije. Graduates pursue a wide range of careers in government, cybersecurity, education, international NGOs, and in the nonprofit and private sectors.

MAIS candidates must submit GRE scores and identify three academic or professional references who are willing to submit a recommendation letter and complete a short survey about the applicant.

“The admissions committee reviews applications on a holistic basis and considers each component carefully,” Renner says. “The personal statement and the writing sample are opportunities for students to stand out among the applicant pool.” The Jackson School also looks for international experience, which may come from working, traveling, residing, or volunteering abroad.

The Jackson School encourages MAIS students who plan to study a language during the MA program to apply for national fellowships such as the Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship. “They can apply for that fellowship before they are admitted, and they will be considered for funding for their first year in the program,” Renner says.

In addition to the MAIS program, the Jackson School offers the MA in Applied International Studies (MAAIS) for professionals with at least five years of work experience. The MAAIS program offers a choice of electives in addition to three required core courses, an applied research client project, and a capstone crisis negotiation.

Jackson School students may pursue a master’s degree in international studies while concurrently pursuing another UW professional degree. The school also offers a PhD program that combines a cross-disciplinary approach with intensive area studies.

Master’s Degree Program Options:

• Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS), with concentration in China Studies; Japan Studies; Korean Studies; Middle East Studies; Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies; South Asian Studies; Southeast Asian Studies; Comparative Religion; and general International Studies

• Master of Arts in Applied International Studies (MAAIS)

Also offers dual degrees and a PhD program.

Application Deadline for Fall 2019 Enrollment: January 31, 2019

The PhD program deadline is January 15.

Standardized Exam Scores: GRE required

Recommendation Letters: Three required

Application Checklist: https://jsis.washington.edu/programs/graduate

Visit the Request Info page to receive more information.