Ericka and I lived in Bologna, Italy from August 2003 to June 2004 while I worked on my master's degree in International Economic Development at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), part of Johns Hopkins University.
Established in 1955, the center has promoted an international composition of faculty and staff, representing as many as 30 countries during the academic year. Nearly 5,000 graduates of the center now work in more than 90 countries around the world. The Bologna Center offers an interdisciplinary program of studies, with an emphasis on European studies, international economics, politics and history.
About the masters program
SAIS offers an interdisciplinary program in which students can specialize in either a region of the world or a functional area of international relations (that is, General International Relations; Global Theory and History; International Law; Strategic Studies; Conflict Management; Energy, Environment, Science and Technology; or International Development). Additionally, M.A. students must complete a concentration in international economics and pass a foreign language proficiency exam. SAIS stands out among the top graduate programs for these unique aspects of its curriculum.
A sound grounding in economics principles and analytical tools is essential to understanding international relations. Students must be able to comprehend the conventional issues of trade and finance, but also understand poverty and development, the management of the global climate and other transnational resources and the process of political modernization and good governance. The school expects applicants to complete undergraduate-level courses in economic principles before enrollment, and makes the commitment to then train students in the economic theory, policy and quantitative tools necessary for their futures.
SAIS graduates also are known for their language skills. The SAIS Foreign Language Department offers courses in 14 major foreign languages, all of which are designed specifically for students' needs.
In each of these areas - international relations, regional studies, economics and language- the training at SAIS is rigorous, demanding and correspondingly rewarding.
The M.A. degree requires two years of study during which candidates take four courses each semester and study a modern foreign language. Students must spend a minimum of three semesters in residence as full-time students. Students may choose to spend two years in Washington or one year at the Bologna Center and one in Washington.
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