Master of Arts in Global Risk

Understand and Analyze Global Risk
Acquire Skills and Analytical Techniques
Take Advantage of Experiential Learning
Train with Risk Experts

Technology, politics, the environment, regulation, immigration, pandemics, and religious extremism are all areas where the theoretical frameworks of risk and uncertainty provide key insights and drive decision-making.

The MAGR degree provides students with the theoretical framework and practical tools required to understand and manage global risk factors in public policy and private-sector decision-making.

MAGR students undertake a client-based, professional practicum or an original research paper under the supervision of a Johns Hopkins SAIS faculty member.

MAGR faculty collaborate with governments, international organizations, and the private sector, creating a classroom atmosphere that is both academically rigorous and practical in orientation.

Academic Calendar
Employment Outcomes
Application Materials

Analyze, Assess, Act: Tackling Risk in the 21st Century

The instability that has characterized the last decade has increased the demand for qualified professionals who are able to understand and analyze global risk in its many forms. Today's risk experts are no longer confined to the realm of actuarial tables or financial derivatives. Technology, politics, the environment, regulation, immigration, pandemics, and religious extremism are all areas where the theoretical frameworks of risk and uncertainty provide key insights and drive decision-making in both the public and private sectors.

To meet the growing demands of candidates seeking to advance their understanding of global risk and the management of uncertainty, Johns Hopkins SAIS offers the Master of Arts in Global Risk (MAGR) is a 13-month, full-time, cohort-based program at the SAIS Europe campus in Bologna, Italy. The MAGR builds on the school’s strengths in multi-disciplinary analysis by introducing students to a broad array of concepts and tools from the social sciences that are necessary to undertake sophisticated political and economic risk analysis.

Courses are taught by Johns Hopkins SAIS faculty, renowned for their interdisciplinary approach to the study of economics, politics and history, as well as recent innovative work in the field of risk and uncertainty. MAGR students benefit from SAIS Europe's international community with classmates from 40 countries. They also have access to extracurricular programming, such as the faculty research seminar series, where distinguished guests including scholars, diplomats, central bank governors, and business leaders deliver evening lectures and engage with students in an informal setting.

Risk and uncertainty are unavoidable components of decision-making. The MAGR offers a unique opportunity to acquire both the theoretical framework and the practical tools for international careers in the management of uncertainty. This degree program draws on all the strengths of Johns Hopkins SAIS as a global institution, including its research-active faculty, outstanding career services and international alumni network.

Filippo Taddei, PhD
Academic Director, MAGR
Director, Bologna Institute for Policy Research, SAIS Europe


The MAGR is guided by a conceptual framework that focuses on the following key elements:

  • Understanding the methodological problems associated with the analysis of risk and uncertainty
  • Examining the major sources of risk that characterize global, international, and domestic affairs
  • Analyzing the different theoretical approaches to managing risk in economic decision-making
  • Gaining in-depth insight into the major sources of risk that develop in the realm of elections, political parties, policies, and social movements at the national and sub-national levels
  • Developing specific expertise in a particular market, international organization, country, or region of the world

Thematic cohort classes lay the foundation for a Johns Hopkins SAIS approach to political and economic risk analysis that serves to complement more traditional training in quantitative methods. Students review economic concepts related to risk in the summer session, are introduced to statistical techniques in the first semester, the fundamentals of corporate finance in an intensive intersession course, and quantitative approaches to risk assessment in the second semester.

The program starts with an intensive introduction to fundamental economic concepts and mathematical skills during a four-week summer term. During the fall semester, students focus on political and political-economy risks: they explore the methodological problems associated with the analysis of risk and uncertainty and the different theoretical approaches to managing risk (Risk in International Politics and Economics); they study how even established democratic societies can rapidly become politically unstable (Instability and Political Change in Consolidated Democracies); and they start developing quantitative approaches to risk assessment (Introduction to Statistics). In addition, candidates take an elective course to start tailoring their academic coursework to their professional objectives.

After an intensive course in corporate finance during the January inter-session, the spring semester provides the opportunity for students to develop the main tools for geo-political risk analysis (Sources of Risk in Global Politics) by analyzing the principal sources of risks at the national and international levels. Candidates are also introduced to the main techniques for quantitative risk analysis (Quantitative Methods for Risk Analysis) and take two additional elective courses. Students then begin to work on their capstone project: a 12-week, focused summer internship or an original 10,000-word research paper under the supervision of a Johns Hopkins SAIS faculty member, to be completed during their second summer term. 

Academic Calendar

Summer term

  • Microeconomic Risk and International Trade
  • Macroeconomic Risk and International Finance
  • Math Review for Risk Assessment

Fall Semester

  • Risk in International Politics and Economics
  • Instability and Political Change in Consolidated Democracies
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Elective 
  • Faculty Research Seminar

Inter-session course

  • Fundamentals of Corporate Finance

Spring Semester

  • Quantitative Approaches to Risk Assessment
  • Sources of Risk in Global Politics
  • 2 Electives
  • Faculty Research Seminar


  • Capstone

Employment Outcomes

The MAGR degree provides students with the skills, concepts, and analytical techniques required to understand and manage global risk factors in public policy and private-sector decision-making. MAGR graduates are prepared for a variety of roles in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors such as:

  • Consultancies (political risk, environmental, public health, city planning, public affairs)
  • The energy sector (political affairs, upstream/downstream, exploration)
  • International organizations (e.g., European Commission, UN, World Bank, OSCE, NATO)
  • Government (foreign service, military and intelligence, emergency management)
  • The financial sector (financial services, asset management, rating agencies, banking and insurance)

The Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe Office of Career Services and faculty advisors work closely with MAGR students to guide their professional development and job searches. Given its strategic location in the heart of Europe, Bologna provides a convenient base for seeking employment in major capitals across the continent, where active networks of Johns Hopkins SAIS alumni occupy the highest ranks in European policymaking, business, and nongovernmental organizations. Furthermore, access to the professional positions in the sectors mentioned above would be facilitated by the internship opportunities and institutional relationships that are already available to SAIS Europe in policy research, public affairs, consulting, international business development, financial and macroeconomic analysis, political movements, central banking and more.


SAIS Europe faculty have extensive experience in risk analysis. In addition to authoring cutting-edge publications, they collaborate with government agencies, international organizations, and the private sector, creating a classroom atmosphere that is both academically rigorous and practical in orientation. Our faculty includes:

Raffaella A. Del Sarto is a scholar in Middle East Studies and International Relations. She is Associate Professor of Middle East Studies at SAIS Europe and the Director of BORDERLANDS, a five-year research project funded by the European Research Council.  Her interests center on the nexus between international relations and domestic politics in the Middle East, often in relation to the European Union, questions of borders and interdependence, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Del Sarto was previously a Fellow at the Middle East Centre of St Antony’s College, Oxford University. At SAIS Europe she offers a course on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a seminar on the history and politics of North Africa and the Middle East.

Justin Frosini, a leading comparative constitutionalist, is Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development at SAIS Europe and assistant professor of constitutional law at Bocconi University, Milan. His academic work is mainly focused on comparative constitutional law and democratic development, with particular attention to federalism, regionalism and devolution, forms of government, constitutional justice and how the courts employ preambles in adjudication.

Mark Gilbert is a political historian who highlights the relevance of the study of history both per se and as a tool for understanding current affairs. His academic work, which has been developed in several books, and in numerous articles in journals of history and current affairs, focuses on the contemporary history of Western European democracies and European integration, with a particular focus on Italy and the UK. Mark Gilbert and Justin Frosini offer the course on Instability and Political Change in Consolidated Democracies, aimed at providing students with the necessary tools to assess the stability of contemporary political regimes. The course employs qualitative analysis of the economic, social, political and constitutional factors that greatly destabilized Great Britain in 1970-1979, and Italy in 1979-1996.

Erik Jones is one of the world’s most influential academics on European financial institutions and a frequently-cited expert on contemporary policy issues in Europe. He provides risk analysis to governments, central banks, and private-sector organizations and has directed the Europe practice at multiple global analysis and advisory firms. Author of four books, his most recent volume, The Year the European Crisis Ended, is a collection of essays written once a week for the political risk firm Oxford Analytica. Jones is the Director of the SAIS European and Eurasian Studies Program and also a Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College in Oxford, United Kingdom.  His course on Risk in International Politics and Economics emphasizes method — how we should think about risk — and the empirical material builds on case studies of actual decisions. The course also includes a companion seminar series about ideas, experiences, and careers in risk management.

Erika Meucci is Lecturer in Mathematics at SAIS Europe. She has also taught at the University of Bologna and at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, U.S. She is interested in quantum physics, in particular in the space of quantum states. In her course Math Review for Risk Assessment she provides the mathematical tools required for success in other quantitative MAGR courses. Her course Introduction to Statistics aims to familiarize students with the probability and statistical methods that allow them to analyze data, make inferences and understand the nature of possible correlations between variables.

Michael Plummer is the Director of SAIS Europe. His broad and deep knowledge about international economics derives both from his academic work and his top-level working experiences. He is a leading expert on trans-Pacific economic relationships and on Asian economies. He is president of the American Committee on Asian Economic Studies (ACAES) and he has been economic adviser of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). His academic work about the TPP, the Asian economic cooperation and integration, and the Asian countries’ economic development is frequently cited. His courses on Risk in International Economics and on Economic Foundations of Risk highlight the economic sources of risk in the international arena in the age of globalization and interdependence. These courses offer a rigorous analysis of the different arrangements in the international financial system and their effects on trade directions and intensity and on international capital flows.

Filippo Taddei is a Fellow at SAIS Europe and Director of the Bologna Institute for Policy Research. He is also Academic Director of the Master in Global Risk. Since 2013, he has served as economic advisor to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Taddei's research deals with the connection between the financial sector and the real economy, a subject that has gained immense traction since the 2008 financial crisis. In particular, his work has contributed to the debate regarding the design of macro-prudential regulation –  a set of policy tools designed to prevent macroeconomic volatility and financial crises. Previously Taddei was Assistant Professor at Collegio Carlo Alberto in Torino, Italy and Lecturer at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, New York. He received the Lamfalussy Fellowship from the European Central Bank, and has served as advisor for the International Labor Organization, the European Commission and the World Bank.


Qualified candidates with undergraduate or graduate-level training in a variety of areas, including (but not limited to) economics, history, law, philosophy, and political science, are encouraged to apply. The Johns Hopkins SAIS MAGR will produce a graduate who understands the details of risk analysis, possesses professional quantitative skills, and is able to apply these tools to policy problems or investment decisions as they are affected by political events.

The application deadlines are:

1 November (non-binding early decision)
7 January  (regular admission) 
Apply online

For further information, contact: 

SAIS Europe Office of Admissions
via Belmeloro, 11
40126 Bologna, Italy

Application Materials

  • Online application
  • Resume or cv statement of purpose and analytical essay
  • Official transcripts (for all university-level work)
  • Two letters of recommendation (with at least one professional letter)
  • GRE/GMAT score (highly encouraged)
  • TOEFL/IELTS (if applicable)
  • Interview