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Master of Arts (MA)


By combining the academic depth of a graduate school with the practical policy focus of a professional school, the Master of Arts program produces innovative problem-solvers with the expertise required for success in today’s interconnected world.

Students in the two-year MA can choose to begin their studies at either campus: SAIS Europe or Washington DC. Students can elect to spend either year at SAIS Europe, or spend both years in Washington DC. Approximately half of each incoming class begins their studies at the SAIS Europe campus. 

Pursue Two Concentrations

The MA degree requires two concentrations — the first in international economics and the second in one of the school’s international policy areas or regions of the world. You can take additional language classes to achieve proficiency.

International Economics Concentration

Every student in the MA program completes a concentration in International Economics. We believe a firm understanding in the principles and analytical tools of economics is essential to understanding international relations and gives our graduates an edge in the job market. Advanced specializations are available in international economics topics such as quantitative methods, international finance, and economic policy.

International Policy Concentrations

Regions of the World Concentrations

What Your Schedule Will Look Like

Most students at Johns Hopkins SAIS are enrolled in the two-year, full-time MA degree. You can elect to spend either year at SAIS Europe or spend both years in Washington DC.


Get a jump-start on your studies and meet fellow classmates and professors during Pre-Term.


Late July – August (DC)
Mid August - September (SAIS Europe)

Fall Term

The interdisciplinary coursework of the two-year MA degree program emphasizes international economics, policy and regional studies, international relations, and languages. The typical course load per term is four to five courses, in addition to a non-credit language course.

Sample Courses

  • International Economics Concentration Course (1 of 4)
  • Core Course (1 of 2) 
  • Concentration Course (requirements vary)
  • Elective



January Intersession

Gain hands-on experience and explore a current global issue by participating in a study trip, meet with alumni working in your target organization or industry during a career trek, or use this time to recharge and prepare for the spring semester. 

Spring Term

Beyond required courses, you will have room in your schedule for elective coursework, which can also be used towards a minor, specialization, exchange program, or dual degree.

Sample Courses

  • International Economics Concentration Course (2 of 4)
  • Concentration Course
  • Elective
  • Quantitative Reasoning Course



Advance Your Career

Approximately 75 percent of students in the Master of Arts program augment their studies with an internship during the summer between their first and second years to gain practical, hands-on experience. Nearly half of the second-year class seeks exciting, part-time internships in the final year of their studies.



Fall Term

Continue to further develop your expertise and focus on the issues that matter most to you.

Sample Courses

  • International Economics Concentration Course (3 of 4)
  • Core Course (1 of 2)
  • Concentration Course
  • Concentration Course



January Intersession

The January Intercession is a valuable time to conduct field research, engage with partner organizations, and gain in-depth experience for students interested in participating in a practicum project.

Spring Term

Spend your final semester furthering your expertise and addressing a real-world problem as part of the required capstone project.

Sample Courses

  • International Economics Concentration Course (4 of 4)
  • Concentration Course
  • Concentration Course
  • Elective
  • Capstone



Learn From the Best

Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Jessica Fanzo

Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor of Ethics & Global Food and Agriculture, Director of the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program

Thomas Rid

Professor of Strategic Studies

Andrew Mertha

George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies, Director of the China Studies Program

Andrew Cheon

Assistant Professor of International Political Economy

In the News

Effects of Suleimani’s death in Lebanon and Iraq.

Sarah Parkinson interviewed on BBC Radio, 1/5

Lecture: "Climate Change and the Global Order"

Johannes Urpelainen highlighted in Frederick News-Post, 1/16

How to enlarge NATO.

Mary Elise Sarotte interviewed on International Security Off the Page podcast, 1/15

Military implications of great power competition.

Mara Karlin interviewed on Center for Strategic and International Studies Defense 2020 podcast, 1/15

‘Death to the dictator’: What is Iran’s future?

Vali Nasr quoted in Los Angeles Times, 1/14

Advance Your Career

From consultants to entrepreneurs, leaders of nongovernmental organizations to policymakers, Johns Hopkins SAIS graduates put their degrees to work.

95% of MA graduates were employed, pursuing fellowships or internships, or had gone on for further study within six months of graduation.*

Recent Employers

  • Apple Inc.
  • Carnegie Europe
  • China Development Bank
  • Deloitte
  • Eurasia Group
  • European Parliament
  • Facebook Inc.
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • HSBC
  • Inter-American Development Bank 

    * Based on results of a survey of MA students who graduated between December 2017 and August 2018. The survey participation rate was 90%.
  • International Monetary Fund 
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization 
  • Refugees International
  • Stimson Center
  • United Nations
  • US Department of Defense
  • US  Department of State
  • World Bank Group
  • World Resources Institute

Build Your Network

Join an influential alumni network of 20,000 professionals working across sectors in 140 countries around the world.

Every fall, the school's office of Global Careers hosts a career fair, which brings employers, many of whom are alumni, from across the international relations field to Washington DC to connect with current students.

The SAIS Global Women in Leadership (GWL) student-run career club tackles challenges facing women worldwide by hosting a skills workshops, networking events, and an annual conference, all of which bring together students, alumni, international relations practitioners, policy makers, and business leaders.

Students gain valuable insights from global leaders and international relations experts through the many events hosted at the school that provide a wide spectrum of viewpoints on the issues that shape our world.

Gaining Well-Rounded Expertise Through a Dual Degree

"I have been very impressed with the diversity of the student community, the employers that recruit from campus, and the on-campus events."

View Story

Close-Knit Learning in the Heart of Europe

"I found a great sense of camaraderie among the students, as well as the faculty and staff, who went out of their way to get to know students and support them in their careers."

View Story


Feb 1 11:30 am - 3:00 pm Room 102, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW

MAGP Preview Day

For Prospective MAGP Students:

Join the class conversation on the China-Russia-Iran Axis with Ariane Tabatabai, Associate Political Scientist at RAND Corporation. Network with students and alumni at a post-class reception.

Feb 3 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm Room 501, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Mid Career/DIA On Campus Info Session

The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Admissions Office will host office hours specifically for prospective students for our graduate programs for mid-career professionals, the Master of Arts...

Feb 8 10:00 am - 2:00 pm Admissions Conference Room

Mid Career/DIA Office Hours

The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Admissions Office will host office hours specifically for prospective students for our graduate programs for mid-career professionals, the Master of Arts...

Beyond the Classroom

Through study treks, practicum projects, staff rides, career treks, and internships, you will gain practical, hands-on experience.

Study Treks

Each year more than two dozen study treks are organized by academic programs, providing valuable opportunities to conduct field research, engage with partner organizations, and gain new perspectives on major global issues. Recent study treks have taken students to Puerto Rico, Cambodia, and Uganda.


Practicum projects provide students with extensive, in-depth experience consulting for client organizations working to address real-world challenges.

Career Treks

Through company visits and alumni networking receptions students gain an insider’s perspective on working in different sectors. The school hosts career treks around the world to help students learn about career paths in asset management, consulting, energy and environment, finance, international development, nonprofits, multilateral organizations, political risk, think tanks, and more.

Staff Rides

During a staff ride, students gain lessons in strategy, leadership, and decision making by visiting a historic battle site and reenacting key moments. Each year, at least one staff ride occurs outside of the US and recent staff rides have been conducted in South Korea, Scotland, Italy, and Poland.