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Master of Arts (MA)

Overview

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.

Pre-Term

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

Duration

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

Duration

September–December

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

Duration

January–May 

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.

Duration

May–August 

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

Duration

September–December

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

Duration

January–May

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

The dictators’ last stand.

Yascha Mounk wrote in Foreign Affairs, 8/16

No urgency on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

Daniel Serwer cited in Gazeta Express, 8/15

Amid souring relations, U.S. appoints experienced Asia diplomat to Cambodia.

Andrew Mertha quoted on Voice of America Cambodia, 8/15

Hong Kong waits for Beijing’s next move. Here’s what the experts say.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, 8/15

Kashmir’s change of status.

Daniel Markey interviewed on BBC World News, 8/15

Grid inefficiencies releasing 1B tons of GHGs.

Sarah Jordaan quoted in E&E News, 8/15

Justin Trudeau rapped a second time for conflicts of interest.

Christopher Sands quoted in The Washington Post, 8/14

America’s anti-China mood is here to stay.

Joe Renouard wrote in The Diplomat, 8/14

The courage to back down in Hong Kong.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Hill, 8/14


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
  • USAID
  • 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


News & Events

Find out what's going on in the Master of Arts program at the Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Professor Jonas Nahm named National Committee on U.S.-China Relations PIP fellow

Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment Jonas Nahm has been appointed to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program (PIP).

Improving Safety in Trinidad and Tobago Through Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab

"Equipped with the conflict management knowledge I have gained so far, I came up with an idea to put into reality."

Aug 21 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Online SAIS Event

MA Virtual Information Sessions 2019

The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Office of Admission invites you to learn more about the Master of Arts (MA) degree by joining...

Aug 28 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Online SAIS Event

Doctor of International Affairs Virtual Information Session

The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Office of Admissions invites you  to learn more about our newest degree offering - the Doctor of...

Sep 6 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Room 417, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW

On-Campus Master of Arts Information Session

Come learn about our dynamic regional studies offerings within our Master of Arts program by attending this on-campus information session. The session will be moderated by a faculty member and...

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

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.