- Global Careers
The International Economics Program provides students with a firm grasp of the theory and tools of economics, finance, and the functioning of the international economic system. These skills are an important component of modern training in international affairs. In addition, the advanced courses in the program can be used to prepare interested students for a variety of careers in international economic and financial analysis as well as in business.
The study of economics is an integral part of the academic program at Johns Hopkins SAIS. The strong emphasis placed on economics in the curriculum is one of the unique characteristics that sets us apart from other graduate programs in international affairs. Thus, in partial fulfillment of the MA in International Relations, all students must complete a concentration in International Economics by passing a minimum of four (4) economics courses formally taken at Johns Hopkins SAIS, over and above any economics courses that might be waived.
This required concentration is designed to provide students with a solid understanding of economic theories and concepts as well as the important role economic processes play in international affairs. Whether you are interested in pursuing a career in international finance, public policy, business, or economic development, our program will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and analytical capacity required for success in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
The International Economics Program offers students the opportunity to gain knowledge outside of the classroom through weekly faculty seminars and regularly scheduled brown bag discussions.
The International Economics Program holds regular seminars on Thursday afternoons, where invited professors present and receive feedback on research papers. These seminars are open to the school's community. You may find a copy of the Spring Seminar Series here.
If you would like to be added to our distribution list, please fill out the form here.
The International Economics Program holds regular brown bag lunches on Wednesdays, where professors and invited guests discuss and receive feedback on preliminary research ideas.
International Economics Learning Goals and Objectives
Entering Class 2017-2018 (prior entering class requirements are archived below)
Every MA student is required to complete a concentration in International Economics. Students must successfully complete four economics courses. At a minimum, these four course include:
Students may also choose to pursue a specialization (4 elective courses) in the following areas:
Concentration Course Requirement
Students must take and successfully complete a minimum of four credit-bearing courses (16 credits) from the International Economics program and maintain a GPA of at least 2.67 in these four courses. Students who pass Microeconomics in Pre-Term must successfully complete a minimum of three credit-bearing courses (12 credits) and must maintain at least a 2.67 in these three courses.
Fundamental Course Requirements:
Must demonstrate proficiency in intermediate-level courses in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics by either passing these courses (or the Accelerated version) as part of the minimum economics course requirement, passing Microeconomics in Pre-Term or passing the respective waiver exam.*
Core Economics Course Requirements:
Must demonstrate proficiency in intermediate-level courses in International Trade Theory and International Monetary Theory by either passing these courses (or the Accelerated version) as part of the minimum economics course requirement, or passing the respective waiver exam.*
*If proficiency in any of the above courses is achieved by passing waiver exams or through any approved arrangements, the student must take International Economics program elective courses to replace the waived courses in order to meet the four International Economics course requirements (16 credits) above. Students who pass Microeconomics in Pre-Term will only be required to take three additional econonomics courses (12 credits) to meet the overal requirement. The Pre-Term Microeconmics course is not for credit and is not factored into the GPA.
Concentration GPA Requirement
Students must achieve an average GPA of 2.67 or higher in the four (or three if Micro is passed in Pre-Term) International Economics program courses used to meet the concentration course requirements or they must retake a required course(s) until a 2.67 average is obtained. In the standard case, this GPA will be the average of the grades of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory and International Monetary Theory taken during the regular terms. When one or more of these four courses has been waived, the school will use the highest International Economics program elective course grade(s) on the student's transcript as a substitute for the waived course(s) in computing this four-course GPA average.
See here for a guideline on course grading in large International Economics program courses at the school.
For students with sufficient interest and room in their two-year program of study, we allow specialization in any of the following areas of International Economics:
Each of these generally require a set of four additional electives in the specialization area, with some specializations having other additional requirements. Students who achieve a specialization will have this appropriately denoted on their transcript. Completing an economics specialization is NOT required for fulfilling the MA, however, students with superior economics preparation or aptitude are encouraged to attempt one.
The MA oral exam tests students’ knowledge of international economics and their chosen functional or regional concentration. Exams are held in August, December and May and are scheduled by the Registrar’s Office. Only the top 30 percent of the student body are eligible to compete for honors. The 30 percent cutoff is determined by students’ grade point average after their third semester (after the second semester for students who have advanced standing of one semester). Students with conferral dates of August or December will be selected to compete for honors based on the previous May’s GPA cutoff.
Two examiners administer the oral exam: a full- or part-time professor from the student’s functional or regional program, and an international economist from the faculty or from the local academic, government or policy community. If a student is pursuing a third concentration, three examiners will administer the oral exam.
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 (same as 2010-2011)
For students graduating in December of 2016, specialization forms are due NO LATER than Friday, December 9, 2016.
Applications for the December graduating class will be audited and reviewed October 3-7 and applications of students graduating in May will be audited and reviewed March 6-10. You will receive a confirmation email of receipt of your application as well as any issues which may be present in your application following these audits.
The International Economics Program offers specializations within economics for those students with a strong background or interest in economics who wish to pursue a set of elective courses in one particular area. Specializations are offered in five areas of economics.
These specializations include:
Requirements for Specializations
The International Economics Program offers specializations within economics for those students with a strong background or interest in economics who wish to pursue a set of elective courses in one particular area. All of the specializations involve completion of the basic and core required International Economics courses:
300.700 Microeconomics or 300.699 Accelerated Microeconomics
300.701 Macroeconomics or 300.706 Accelerated Macroeconomics
300.707 International Trade Theory or 300.851 Accelerated International Trade Theory
300.708 International Monetary Theory or 300.852 Accelerated International Monetary Theory
In addition, students must complete a combination of required/electivecourses from area-specific lists found below.
Specializations are offered in five areas of economics. The links below define the requirements for each specialization above the basic and core required courses for the International Economics concentration:
Completion of the requirements in a specialization will result in a formal indication of the specialization on the student's transcript. Completion of the requirements for any of the specializations satisfies the international economics concentration requirement for the MA degree.
These specializations do not change the requirement of a concentration in an examination field outside of international economics. They are simply an option for students wishing to indicate a focus of study within the field of international economics.
It should be recognized that these specializations are significantly more demanding in terms of economic knowledge and workload than the general International Economics requirement. Students with no prior background in economics and students who do not fulfill the basic requirements (Microeconomics and Macroeconomics) before starting their first full semester are discouraged from considering a specialization.
Double Counting Courses for Specializations
Courses that appear in multiple specialization lists may be counted toward only ONE specialization. However, courses applied to an international economics specialization may also be applied to a regional or functional concentration's requirements otherwise specified by that concentration.
Note on Cross-Listed Courses
Be aware that the International Economics Program reviews the elective courses listed in each specialization yearly and that non-International Economics Program courses may be added or deleted. Any changes will be announced at the beginning of each academic year.
Note on SAIS Europe Courses
Students at SAIS Europe should check the curriculum listings for each semester to determine the economics courses offered.
Specialization in Quantitative Methods and Economic Theory
Click here to submit your application.
Specialization in International Finance
Click here to submit your application.
Specialization in Infrastructure Finance and Policy
Click here to submit your application.
Specialization in Development Economics
Click here to submit your application.
Specialization in Economic Policy
Click here to submit your application.
Basic Rules of the Waiver Exam
Waiver exams are available for microeconomics, macroeconomics, international trade theory, international monetary theory and statistics. To qualify for the waiver exams, students must show transcript records from his or her prior academic institution indicating completion of the equivalent economics or statistics course with a "B-" grade or better. All waiver exams, except statistics, must be taken before the start of the student's third semester at SAIS. Students who have received a letter or pass/fail grade for the corresponding course (SA.300.699/SA.300.700 for Microeconomics, SA.300.701/SA.300.706 for Macroeconomics, SA.300.707/SA.300.851 for International Trade Theory, SA.300.708/SA.300.852 for International Monetary Theory, and SA.340.709 for Statistics) naturally become ineligible for that course's waiver exam. Students may only attempt a waiver exam once, and only passing results will be recorded on their transcript. Waiver exams are administered online during fixed cycles (listed below). Students may request an out of cycle exam at the cost of a non-negotiable, non-refundable administrative fee. Students are ultimately responsible for reviewing and observing the full statement of rules, policies and procedures below. Any departure from or violation of these rules may render a student's exam invalid and, in the case of honor code violations, may result in further academic penalties.
How to Apply
For regular cycle applications, please email a copy of your unofficial transcript(s) along with a message detailing during which cycle you would like to take the exam, for which exams you are applying to sit, and an indication of which courses on your transcript(s) you are using as proof of eligbility to waive out of to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit your application no later than two weeks before the scheduled exam date.
The International Economics Program offers students with prior equivalent coursework in microeconomics, macroeconomics, international trade, international monetary theory, or statistics the option to take waiver examinations in each subject in order to facilitate the attainment of the economics requirements of the MA Degree. Click on each link below and read thoroughly as there are specific rules that apply to the economics waiver process.
Quantitative global economics examines questions relevant to understanding the world economy: How are exchange rates determined? How important are international capital flows? What forces determine the profile of US external balances? What is the role of economic activity and inflation in determining interest rates? How much? How do you know? Does it matter? What is the alternative? The answers to these questions are ambiguous because they depend on how you approach the subject. Hence, developing “an” answer entails persuasion that, in turn, benefits from approaching each subject critically: What are the assumptions, weaknesses, and strengths? Are there alternative methods of addressing a given issue?
Provides a practical and quantitative approach to understanding project finance transactions. Focuses on energy transactions in emerging markets. Integrates principles of corporate finance with an understanding of specific technologies, industrial organization, regulatory framework and country-specific policies. Examines foreign exchange issues, taxation, risk evaluation and mitigation and key contractual structures. Discusses typical loan structures and inter-creditor issues. Goal is to understand how the financial structure for a project finance transaction is analytically determined. Students build and apply detailed quantitative financial models.
The course provides a comprehensive treatment of policy issues arising in the organization and regulation of infrastructure ranging from regulation of market structure, choices of ownership (and partnerships) and regulation of market conduct to implications for finance. Most examples are drawn from telecommunications, electricity, transport and water. A multitude of country cases (including current policy debates) from across the globe demonstrate how basic principles interact with politics to yield a plethora of institutional incarnations and insights into variants of “state capitalism” at work.
International Economic Tutor List
Please note that the international economics department only organizes the list of tutors. You must contact the tutor directly to work out the logistics.
Click here to access the current list of tutors.
International Economic and Financial Institutions
The International Monetary Fund - IMF
The World Bank - World Bank
Bank of International Settlements - BIS
Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development - OECD
Johns Hopkins SAIS Library International Economics and Business Research Guide
US Economic and Financial Institutions
The Federal Reserve - Federal Reserve
US Department of Commerce - Commerce Department
USDC Bureau of Economic Analysis - Bureau of Economic Analysis
US International Trade Commission - International Trade Commission
US Securities and Exchange Commission - SEC
Stock Prices - Stockprices.com
Exchange Rates - Exchangerates.com