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If you have a question regarding Pre-Term at SAIS Europe, please email or visit FAQ | Pre-Term

SAIS Europe | Pre-Term

Pre-Term at SAIS Europe provides you the opportunity to settle into life in Bologna, start to learn Italian, and fulfill part of your economics or quantitative reasoning requirements (MA students), thereby leaving more space in your program for other courses during the fall and spring terms.

Pre-Term 2020 runs from Monday, August 17 to Saturday, September 12, 2020. We expect to have online registration available from early through late June.  All matriculating students will be informed about the details once matriculation in complete around mid-May.

Pre-Term courses offered at SAIS Europe:


This course is the best way to begin learning Italian and get the most out of living in Italy. You will be assigned to a class according to your language background and aptitude through an initial test. Depending on your language background and aptitude, you may reach a level adequate to be placed in the Intermediate Mid courses at the end of Pre-Term, and thus qualify to take the Italian Proficiency exam at the end of the academic year. Only beginner-level classes are offered during Pre-Term. Intensive Italian may not be combined with any other pre-term course(s) as the workload would be too heavy.

This beginners-level course is available to you if you are taking Microeconomics or Statistics in Pre-Term, or if you are required to attend a math review in Pre-Term. It is mainly intended to help you interact in Italian during your everyday life in Bologna.

Microeconomics is taught at the ‘intermediate’ level and involves an intensive program of study that would ordinarily take place over a complete semester. It fulfills the microeconomics requirement for the MA and MAIA degrees and also enables you to take classes with a microeconomics prerequisite (for example, International Trade Theory or Corporate Finance) during the first semester. Topics include individual decision-making in situations of scarcity; consumer behavior and demand; labor supply and demand; theory of the firm; production, cost and supply; market structure and resource allocation; factor prices and distribution; and market failure and the role of government. Because of the limited duration of Pre-Term, the Microeconomics course in Pre-Term requires students to have completed an online Pre-Calculus and Calculus course before the start of Pre-Term. All students receive access to these online courses upon matriculation in May.

Students planning to take Microeconomics during the academic year must have passed the online Pre-Calculus course, but are also advised to familiarize with Calculus as far as possible.

Passing Microeconomics in Pre-Term enables students to fulfill one of the economics courses required for the MA program, thereby leaving more space for other courses. However, Pre-Term courses do not count toward the overall number of courses required for any school program.

The aim of this course is to introduce the basic statistical tools required to conduct and evaluate empirical research in economics and the social sciences. The topics covered include elementary probability theory, sampling, estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation and regression. Special attention will be given to the application of these statistical tools to the analysis of real phenomena. Students who attend Statistics in Pre-Term will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop on STATA in the fall or spring, as scheduling permits. Statistics is a prerequisite for more advanced courses in econometrics. Moreover, if you complete Statistics in Pre-Term, you will fulfill the MA quantitative requirement, leaving more room for elective courses.

Some students, based on their TOEFL or IELTS scores, are conditionally admitted to Johns Hopkins SAIS and must complete an English pre-entry requirement. 

We have been closely monitoring the evolving situation related to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) to evaluate the outbreak's impact on our global learning communities. Due to the ongoing complications resulting from travel restrictions, Pre-Term English classes will not be held on campus this year regardless of the status of Johns Hopkins SAIS campuses. We anticipate that visa issues will make it difficult for international students to arrive on campus in time for Pre-Term, so we are offering several options for students to choose from to meet their English condition in place of Pre-Term:

  • Enroll in an online or on-site English course offered by an accredited institution
    • Courses must be offered by an accredited institution and should be taken for credit and a letter grade. Students must earn a B- or higher 
    • MOOCs such as Coursera courses will not be accepted
    • The focus of the course should be academic writing, and it should be taught at an advanced-low level
    • The preference is for courses that are not self-paced. Minimum contact hours per language skill (speaking/listening; reading/writing) is 20 hours
  • Re-take the TOEFL or IELTS
  • Test out of the requirement via the Cambridge Proficiency Exam (any passing grade accepted)
  • Test out of the requirement via the ACTFL Exam (minimum grade of Superior in writing, and Advanced High in speaking)

Please submit syllabi to the Advising Office at for any English course you would like to take so they may approve it. Examples of courses that will be approved are listed below (more courses will be added to this list as they are approved):

University of California at Berkeley Online Courses


You will be required to take an online course in Pre-Calculus during the summer in order to refresh your math skills in preparation for economics courses. If you wish to take Microeconomics in Pre-Term, you must also have mastered Calculus. If you plan to attend any Pre-Term course other than Microeconomics, you are required to have passed the online Pre-Calculus test by Monday, August 10. If you plan to take Statistics in Pre-Term, you will need the math skills for the Statistics course.

If you are taking a language course in Pre-Term, you will be able to take advantage of the Math Review offered in Pre-Term to bring your math skills up to par before you start economics courses in the fall. If you do not pass the Online Pre-Calculus assessment by August 10, you will be required to participate in the Math Review during Pre-Term; if you pass the test, you are also welcome to attend if you feel the need to improve your Math skills.

In addition to the Math Review, teaching assistants will hold review sessions for Microeconomics and Statistics during Pre-Term. 

There is no additional fee for the Math, Micro- or Statistics review sessions and preliminary registration is not required for these sessions. 

Note: Before selecting pre-term course(s), you should check the economics requirement for their specific academic program. 

Pre-term courses do not count toward the overall number of courses required for graduation. However, the Microeconomics course enables MA students to complete an economics requirement early, thereby leaving additional room for electives, an economics specialization or a minor in another area. Likewise, if you complete Statistics in Pre-Term, you will fulfill the MA quantitative reasoning requirement, again leaving more room for elective courses.

Survival Italian is designed to be taken with Microeconomics or Statistics in Pre-Term. All other courses offered in Pre-Term are designed to be taken on their own because the time spent in the classroom coupled with additional study time after class would be too demanding.


Prior to the beginning of Pre-Term, you must have successfully completed (or be in the process of completing) a course covering principles of micro- and macroeconomics. Proof of having met this requirement must be provided to the Admissions Office that administered your application (DC or Bologna) by the start of the Pre-Term course. If you take the Online Principles of Economics, results will be transferred internally at the school. If you do not pass an approved Principles of Economics course, you will not be allowed to attend the corresponding economics course in Pre-Term; nor will you be allowed to enroll in courses in the fall. 

If you wish to attend Microeconomics in Pre-Term, you must take and pass the Online Calculus course by Monday, August 10. Access to an online review and assessment as well as to other JHU systems will be sent to all students as soon as possible after matriculation. If you register for Microeconomics in Pre-Term but do not meet one of the prerequisites, you will have to choose an alternate course (on a space available basis).