American Foreign Policy

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JHU SAIS in DC is open on time Thursday February 21, 2019 with all classes, events and activities taking place as scheduled.

Hal Brands - February 2018

U.S. Allies Are Failing to Fill the Global Leadership Void
U.S. Allies Are Failing to Fill the Global Leadership Void

Program Activities
Cross-Listed Courses
Role of the US in the New World Disorder
Events Calendar

The American Foreign Policy Program prepares students to understand the history (particularly from the Spanish-American War to the present), culture (ideas, premises and perspectives), process and politics of America’s foreign relations and contemporary issues of American foreign policy.

Capitol Hill Trek 2016. April 8, 2016
Conversation with Thomas L. Friedman (10/15/2015)
GPP Residency Program 2015
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Program Activities


Faculty Book Panel Discussions

The American Foreign Policy Program regularly sponsors discussions of recently published books written by faculty.


Research Opportunities

Small stipends are available for AFP-related research, at the director's discretion.


Domestic Study Visits

The American Foreign Policy Program sponsors annual visits to the US Congress and the US Department of State.


International Study Trips

The American Foreign Policy Program offers its students the opportunity to take part in international study trips, contingent on available funding. In academic years 2010-11, AFP sent students on a study trip to China.



American Foreign Policy | MA Requirements (Entering Class 2018-2019)

Learning Goals and Objectives

MA students must complete 64 credits and all degree requirements in order to graduate.

Students who are approved for a Dual Degree program or with Advanced Standing only need to complete 48 credits or 56 credits as determined by Academic Affairs, but still must fulfill all degree requirements.


American Foreign Policy Concentration

MA students concentrating in American Foreign Policy (AFP) must complete 20 credits of applicable coursework and a program capstone. One of the courses may be the Core course American Foreign Policy Since World War II (SA.100.720), if taken for credit.

American Foreign Policy concentrators must produce a major research paper on a subject approved by the director or acting associate director of the program. This requirement is fulfilled by one of the following:

  • A paper produced through significant research in a regular course or through supervised independent research. Students who successfully complete either Congress & Foreign Policy (SA.200.700) or Conduct of Foreign Policy (SA.200.701) who choose the paper option will meet this requirement. All papers must be at minimum 20-25 pages (5,000-6000 words) exclusive of notes, bibliography, illustrations, summary or abstract. Papers written for other courses may need to be revised in order to meet the capstone requirement.
  • Successful completion of the course Case Studies in US Foreign Policy (SA.200.762) [offered at SAIS Europe]

International Economics Concentration

MA students must complete a concentration in International Economics (16 credits). The four required courses are:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics (pre-requisite or concurrent: Microeconomics)
  • International Trade Theory (pre-requisite: Microeconomics)
  • International Monetary Theory (pre-requisite: Macroeconomics)

If a student is waived from a required course(s), the student must take a replacement International Economics course(s) to fulfill the concentration requirement.

Students who pass the non-credit Microeconomics course in Pre-Term will have this concentration reduced to 12 credits, but still must complete the remaining required International Economics courses (or a replacement course(s) if waiver exam(s) passed).

International Economics GPA Requirement
Students must achieve an International Economics concentration GPA of at least 2.67.

In the standard case, the concentration GPA is the average of the grades in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory, and International Monetary Theory.  If a student completed the non-credit Microeconomics course in Pre-Term, the concentration GPA is calculated based on the grades in the remaining required International Economics courses. If one or more of the required courses is waived, the highest grade(s) from any eligible replacement International Economics course(s) is used.

Students who do not meet the minimum International Economics concentration GPA must re-take required courses (or take additional replacement courses if any required course(s) are waived) until the minimum is achieved. The highest grade from any attempt at a required course is used in this calculation.


Quantitative Reasoning Requirement

MA students must fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning Requirement (4 credits). Eligible courses include:

  • Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
  • Econometrics (pre-requisite: Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
  • Applied Econometrics (pre-requisite: Econometrics)
  • Macro Econometrics (pre-requisite: Econometrics)
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Risk Analysis and Modeling
  • Quantitative Global Economics (pre-requisite: International Monetary Theory)
  • Credit Markets & Credit Risk (pre-requisite: Corporate Finance)

Students may not double-count the same course toward the Quantitative Reasoning requirement and as a replacement International Economics concentration course and vice-versa.

If a student is waived from a Quantitative Reasoning course, the student must take a different course from the list above to fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Students who pass the non-credit Statistical Methods for Business & Economics course in Pre-Term will have fulfilled the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.


Core Requirements

MA students must fulfill two Core requirements. Students may fulfill a Core requirement by passing a for-credit Core course or by passing a non-credit Core exam.

For students concentrating in American Foreign Policy, one of the Core requirements must be:

  • American Foreign Policy Since World War II

The second Core requirement may be one of:

  • Comparative Politics
  • Evolution of the International System
  • Theories of International Relations

Students may not take a Core exam in the semester in which they plan to graduate. If Core requirements are not completed before the start of a student’s final semester, the student no longer has the option of completing the exam and must enroll in the Core course(s) for credit.


Language Proficiency

MA students must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in a non-native language taught at SAIS. Students enroll in non-credit language courses to prepare for the proficiency exam.

Students whose native language is not English may use English as their proficiency language. All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering the school, even if not using English for proficiency, and may be required to take additional English language coursework.


Electives, Minors, and Specializations

Beyond the requirements, MA students may have room in their degree for electives, a minor, and/or a specialization(s).

Students may pursue an optional minor in any policy/regional area other than General International Relations.

Students may pursue an optional specialization(s) in five areas International Economics or Emerging Markets.



Entering Class 2017-2018
Entering Class 2016-2017
Entering Class 2015-2016
Entering Class 2014-2015
Entering Class 2013-2014
Entering Class 2012-2013
Entering Class 2011-2012
Entering Class 2010-2011
Entering Class 2009-2010


American Foreign Policy Minor Requirements:

  • 3 American Foreign Policy (or cross-listed) courses, which can include the core course American Foreign Policy Since World War II (SA.100.720). 
  • Passing the core examAmerican Foreign Policy Since WWIIif not taken as one of the three AFP minor courses, is highly recommended

Minor Guidelines:

  • MA students may pursue an optional minor in a policy or regional program. A student cannot pursue a minor in General IR or International Economics, but can pursue a Specialization in International Economics
  • A student can have only one minor and can declare a minor at any time prior to graduation.
  • Students do not receive bidding priority for a minor.
  • All minors require three courses. Some minors require a specific course(s) and/or language proficiency.
  • A student may use a maximum of one applicable cross-listed course (4 credits) toward both a minor AND concentration requirements. In the IR or Asia concentrations, the cross-listed course must be from the primary concentration area and not from the 2 additional required courses in the other IR or Asia areas.

Cross-Listed Courses

SA.200.700 (01)                 Congress & Foreign Policy
SA.200.700 (02)                 Congress & Foreign Policy
SA.200.706 (01)                 Values, Interests, and the Crafting of American Foreign Policy
SA.200.738 (01)                 Kissinger Seminar: History, Strategy, and American Statecraft
SA.600.738 (01)                 Psychology and Decision-Making in Foreign Policy
SA.660.740 (01)                 Strategy and Policy
SA.660.742 (01)                 American Grand Strategy: 1945 to the Present
SA.660.789 (01)                 The War with Al-Qa'ida and ISIS
SA.660.816 (01)                 Seminar in Crisis Simulation
SA.810.721 (01)                 Waging the Cold War in Latin America: US Regional Security Policy from WWII to the End of the Soviet Union
SA.810.722 (01)                 Drugs, Walls and Aging Guerillas: Seminar on Current U.S.-Latin American Relations
SA.200.701 (01)                 Conduct of Foreign Policy
SA.200.701 (02)                 Conduct of Foreign Policy
SA.200.716 (01)                 Road to Empire: The United States from Independence to World War II
SA.200.734 (01)                 Kissinger Seminar: Contemporary Issues in American Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy
SA.650.752 (01)                 United Nations and International Security
SA.650.765 (01)                 U.S. Constitutional Law and the International System
SA.660.701 (01)                 American Defense Policy
SA.660.740 (01)                 Strategy and Policy
SA.660.765 (01)                 The First Nuclear Era: Strategy, Force Structure, Nuclear Crises: 1945-1998
SA.660.779 (01)                 Am Intelligence: Role Practice and Impact
SA.660.779 (02)                 Am Intelligence: Role Practice and Impact
SA.680.759 (01)                 Facing the Oil Problem: The United States, Canada, OPEC and the World
SA.710.920 (01)                 Allies at War
SA.750.717 (01)                 U.S.-China Relations
SA.760.749 (01)                 US-Japan Relations in Global Context

Role of the US in the New World Disorder

Content updates coming soon. 


Contact Us

Daniel Serwer
Academic Director
Rome 416

Charles Stevenson
Acting Associate Director
Nitze 513

Starr Lee
Senior Academic Program Coordinator
Nitze 503

Address & Phone

American Foreign Policy
Nitze Building
1740 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC