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International Economics

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International Economics
Savannah Altvater
Academic Program Manager
1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Rm. 705
Washington, DC 20036


Why do we require every MA student to complete the International Economics concentration? Because we believe it will make you a better leader. With a firm grasp of economics, you will possess a coveted skill set that is required to tackle today's most pressing global issues. Where others fear to tread, you can take the lead with confidence.

The International Economics program is designed for students of all backgrounds — from business and finance to the humanities. However, for those whose primary interest is economics, we offer advanced study, research opportunities, and field experiences across a range of specialized areas.

Become an Expert

In the International Economics concentration, you'll develop the analytic abilities and quantitative reasoning skills to unpack some of the most complex challenges in international relations.

Foundations in Economics

For students who are new to economics, we'll provide you with multiple forms of support as you learn to apply economic theory and analysis to real-world problems. You'll have access to weekly group tutorials, generous office hours, and pre-exam review sessions. You are also welcome to take our free, Online Principles of Economics course before your first term if you would like to brush up on your economic knowledge.

In your required economics courses, you will use case studies and actual data sets to understand economics, finance, and the international economic system. These courses are designed to give you practical, actionable knowledge you will use in the field and at the negotiating table. This practical approach will benefit your international policy expertise immeasurably.

Advanced Economics

For students with an advanced economic background, we offer five specializations in focused areas. These include:

  • Development Economics
  • Economic Policy
  • Infrastructure Finance and Policy
  • International Finance
  • Quantitative Methods and Economic Theory

Featured Courses

Learn the fundamental precepts of international economics to better comprehend behaviors and outcomes in the real world.


Credit Markets and Credit Risk

The course is geared toward students becoming conversant on the contemporary global bond marketplace and its growing segment of structured securities.

Designed to provide sound grounding on basic debt securities, traditional/new bond products, risk management and basic investment strategies in global markets. Focuses on fundamental theories necessary to value fixed-income instruments, including asset-backed securities, and understand their risks. Seeks to familiarize students with different types of fixed-income securities/markets and to introduce tools utilizing pricing and valuation in preparation for future exposure to more complex instruments, higher levels of borrowing and investment decision-making.


Financial Derivatives and Risk Management

Introduces options, futures and swaps presented in Corporate Finance. Reviews basics of valuation methods and institutional context in which derivative contracts are traded.

Describes use of basic derivative instruments as “building blocks” to construct more complex positions that increase, decrease or transform exposure to specific financial risks. Focuses on how such combinations of derivatives may be used to implement overall risk-management strategy and introduces techniques to manage financial derivatives portfolios, including value-at-risk and credit mitigation. Uses case discussions and culminates in oral presentation of a group project.


Enterprise and Development

The course covers the major debates around “private sector development” – the interplay between markets, firms and government policy, arguably the main driver of economic development.

Fundamental are institutional settings that allow co-operation to function, while allowing competition at the same time. Special topics include the role of informal market, and that of small and medium enterprises. Approaches to inclusive business models including impact investment are debated as well as the relationship between enterprise and values (corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, not-for-profit firms) including measurement approaches targeting social and environmental impact.


Quantitative Global Economics

This course focuses on issues relevant to understanding the world economy such as, modeling and forecasting of exchange rates, modeling the sustainability of external imbalances, determining the importance of international capital flows, and implementing monetary-policy rules.

You will examine empirical studies in each of these areas by looking at their assumptions, weaknesses and strengths and considering whether there are alternative methods of addressing a given issue. You will learn to develop an independent opinion of how theoretical ideas are applied to policy questions by asking: How much? Does it matter? How do you know? Prerequisite: International Monetary Theory or Accelerated International Monetary Theory.

Learn From the Best

Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their influence and leadership roles in international economics.

Gordon Bodnar

Morris W. Offit Professor of International Finance, Director of the Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance, and Director of International Economics

Mine Senses

Associate Professor of International Economics

Michael Plummer

Director, SAIS Europe, Eni Professor of International Economics

Filipe Campante

Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor

In the News

FOMC forecasts: Are they useful for understanding monetary policy?

Jaime Marquez wrote in Journal of Risk and Financial Management, 8/12

A pro-growth carbon tax could lower the payroll tax rate.

Jason Fichtner wrote in Washington Examiner, 8/3

Claim Social Security at the right time.

Jason Fichtner quoted in Kipling, 8/1

The many roots of Puerto Rico’s crisis.

Senior Research Professor of International Economics Anne O. Krueger wrote in Project Syndicate, 7/29

Why wait to take Social Security? Optimal timing means you earn more.

Senior Lecturer of International Economics Jason Fichtner quoted in AARP, 7/26

Do the math. Here's why you shouldn't claim Social Security at 62.

Senior Lecturer of International Economics Jason Fichtner quoted in USA Today, 7/11

Modi needs more than tax breaks to make India an investment hub.

Chung Ju Yung Distinguished Professor of International Economics and Business Pravin Krishna quoted in Bloomberg, 7/9

Explained: The difference between the RCEP and the CPTPP.

Director of SAIS Europe Michael G. Plummer cited in South China Morning Post, 7/6

Gain the intellectual framework and analytic skills necessary to enter a variety of international economic and financial analysis roles across the public, private, multilateral, and nonprofit sectors.

Advance Your Career

Recent Internships

  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • The German Marshall Fund of the US
  • International Trade Centre
  • United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA)
  • US Department of Commerce
  • US Department of the Treasury

Recent Employers

  • Amazon
  • Control Risks
  • European Central Bank
  • Goldman Sachs
  • International Monetary Fund
  • McKinsey & Company
  • US Department of Commerce
  • World Bank Group


Build Your Network

Join a diverse, accomplished, influential community of scholars, practitioners, alumni, and students working across sectors in 140 countries around the world.

Students experience hands-on learning through study trips and career treks where they build on their expertise outside the classroom.

The school hosts world-class events throughout the year allowing students to gain first-hand insights from global leaders including renowned economists like Jesper Koll.

Building Community at Johns Hopkins SAIS

As the SGA Social Chair, my goal is to make Johns Hopkins SAIS a fun and engaging place for all students – where they can make friendships and connections that will last them for life.

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Studying in the Epicenter of Global Policymaking

"The school's location in Washington, DC has offered opportunities to engage with others in the international relations field while studying in the heart of where American foreign policy is formulated."

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News & Events

Find out what's going on in the International Economics program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Beyond the Classroom

Experience the study of international economics up close through study treks, networking, and unmatched access to leading experts in the field.

World-Class Events

Hear groundbreaking research from leading scholars at our Thursday seminars. Recent sessions have explored topics including import competition in Peruvian apparel companies, knowledge transfers in Myanmar's foreign direct investments, and the impacts of Mexico's drug war on its firms and labor.

International Finance Club

Connect with classmates who share an interest in future careers in the financial sector. Network with alumni and professionals and organize student-led events exploring financial topics outside the classroom.

Contact Us

Networking Events

Network with alumni and professionals and organize student-led events exploring financial topics outside the classroom.

Student Government Association

Serve as the liaison between the student body and administration, offering ideas for programming at the school and selecting guest speakers for the faculty research seminar series.