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Curriculum | MAIA

Students who spend both years at SAIS Europe complete 14 non-language courses and write a thesis. In lieu of the thesis, students can complete two additional courses, one of which entails a substantial research paper. Students who only spend one year at SAIS Europe as part of a cooperative program complete six courses and a thesis or eight courses. Students from cooperative program should verify whether or not the thesis is required for their home program.

International Economics

Economics Requirements

As of academic year 2020-21, MAIA students have the following options in order to complete the economics requirement:

    Option 1 - complete these two courses:
  • Microeconomics & Int'l Trade
  • Macroeconomics & Finance
    Option 2 – complete these four courses:
  • Microeconomics
  • Int'l Trade Theory
  • Macroeconomics
  • Int'l Monetary Theory

Those who choose option one will cover the essentials of Microeconomics and International Trade (one course) and Macroeconomics and International Finance (one course) for a student of International Affairs. Those who choose the second option of four courses will obviously delve deeper into the subjects. It is also possible to choose one of the courses in option 1, for example, Microeconomics and Intl Trade, and then take the two full courses in Macroeconnomics and Monetary theory, the idea being that all MAIA students graduate with an understanding of the four subjects (Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory & International Monetary Theory).

Students who have taken Intermediate Micro- or Macroeconomics at the intermediate level at a prior university may apply to take a waiver exam to demonstrate their competence. Those who pass the waiver exam in Microeconomics or Macroeconomics must then take International Trade Theory or International Monetary Theory.

MAIA students may consider taking Microeconomics in Pre-Term. In that case, they must take Int’l Trade Theory to complete the Microeconomics and Intl Trade requirement. For the Macroeconomics and Finance component, students can either take Macroeconomics and Finance in the spring, or Macroeconomics in the fall and International Monetary Theory in the spring.

MAIA students may also opt to take Microeconomics and Int’l Trade (one course) in pre-term on a space available basis.

If a student has previously taken International Trade or Monetary Theory, s/he may also apply to take the corresponding waiver exams.


Native English speakers must pass a proficiency examination in one of the seven foreign languages offered at SAIS Europe:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish

Non-native English speakers must pass an English Proficiency Exam administered by the school.

During the application process, non-native English speakers will be required to submit a score from one of the following English competency exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or CPE. This requirement may be waived for individuals who have completed their undergraduate degree in English in a country where English is an official language. However, at the start of the academic year, all non-native English speakers at SAIS Europe will have to take the diagnostic English Proficiency Exam, regardless of previous test results, to ensure an adequate level in all skills.

Upon admission to the MAIA program, candidates determine whether they wish to pursue the option to complete 14 non-language courses and write a thesis of approximately 15-20,000 words, or in lieu of a thesis complete two additional courses, one of which entails a substantial research paper. Students meet with a faculty advisor to discuss their options and potential thesis topics of interest.