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Curriculum | MAIA

The MAIA combines international relations, regional studies, international economics, and language studies with an academic writing focus and gives you complete flexibility to self-design your curriculum based on the wide variety of courses available.

Upon admission to the MAIA program, candidates can either pursue the thesis option (14 non-language courses and a thesis of approximately 15,000-20,000 words) or the extended research paper option (16 non-language courses – one of which must include a research paper of approximately 8000 words). Students who only spend one year at SAIS Europe as part of a cooperative program complete six courses and a thesis (required for some of the cooperative programs) or eight courses with an extended research paper.

Upon admission to the MAIA program, candidates determine whether they wish to pursue the thesis option (14 non-language courses and a thesis of approximately 15,000-20,000 words) or the extended research option (16 non-language courses and a research paper of approximately 8000 words). Except for cooperative degree students from the University of Bologna and the DA Vienna who are required to write a thesis, all MAIA students wishing to write a thesis need to apply to the MAIA thesis committee in the Fall.

Upon approval of the thesis application, students are required to attend the MAIA Research Design Workshop (four sessions), which will prepare them to write a research proposal. They should also discuss the topic of their thesis with the MAIA program coordinator and/or first reader.

All MAIA students will be required to participate in the academic writing sessions in the spring semester at SAIS Europe. The writing sessions help native and non-native English speakers hone their professional writing skills and deepen their understanding of processes and strategies necessary to produce clear research-based prose.

Students in the MAIA program must choose one course from each of the two groups below.

Group One
  • International Economics I
  • Essentials of International Economics I

Group Two
  • International Economics II
  • Essentials of International Economics II
The Economics I track covers topics in Microeconomics and International Trade Theory and the Economics II track covers topics in Macroeconomics and International Finance. The Essentials courses are more conceptual in nature and require only basic math skills.

All SAIS Europe students are required to take the Online Precalculus course over the summer in order to refresh their math skills in preparation for the SAIS economics curriculum.

The professional in-house language studies program, emphasizing current political and economic topics, trains you to achieve proficiency in a non-native language. Students must complete proficiency in a language outside of their native tongues.

The following chart describes the minimum levels that MAIA students must attain in order to fulfill their language graduation requirement:

LANGUAGELISTENINGSPEAKINGREADINGWRITING
ArabicIntermediate Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)Intermediate Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)Intermediate Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)Intermediate Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)
EnglishSuperior (ACTFL), or C2 (CEFR)Advanced High (ACTFL), or C1 (CEFR)Superior (ACTFL), or C2 (CEFR)Superior (ACTFL), or C2 (CEFR)
FrenchInter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)IInter Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)
GermanInter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)
ItalianInter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)
PortugueseInter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)
RussianIntermediate Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)Intermediate Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)Intermediate Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)Intermediate Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)
SpanishInter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter High (ACTFL), or B1.2 (CEFR)Inter Mid (ACTFL), or B1 (CEFR)

Native English-speakers are required to pass a proficiency exam in one of the modern foreign languages offered at SAIS Europe prior to graduation from SAIS. The modern foreign languages offered at SAIS Europe are Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Native English-speakers who join SAIS from a cooperative program should have reached a full CEFR A2 or ACTFL Intermediate-Low level in any of these languages before beginning their year of study in Bologna.

Non-native English speakers must pass the English proficiency exam prior to graduation.

At SAIS, a native English-speaker is a person who meets at least TWO of the following criteria:

  • English is the main language of communication between you and one of your caregivers
  • English is an official language in the community where you grew up (before high school)
  • English is the language of instruction in the high school you attended

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 Cambridge C2. 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.