Pre-Term SAIS Europe

Choosing Courses
General Information
English and Italian Courses
Economics Courses
Fees & Registration

Pre-Term in Bologna provides students the opportunity to settle into Bologna, learn some Italian and fulfill part of their economics or quantitative reasoning requirements, thereby leaving more space in their program for other courses during the fall and spring terms. For non-native English-speaking students, it is an ideal time to improve English skills, particularly academic writing, before starting the year. In addition, Pre-Term offers students who have been away from university for a while the chance to re-acclimate to the academic world while meeting fellow classmates and professors. Although Pre-Term is optional, the majority of students (approximately two thirds) who come to Bologna attend Pre-Term.

Pre-Term 2017 at SAIS Europe runs from Thursday, August 17 to Friday, September 15, 2017. Registration will be available online from May 22  through June 26, 2017.  Places in some courses will be limited and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Pre-term courses offered at SAIS Europe are:

  • Intensive English (4 hours per day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks)
  • Intensive Italian (5 hours per day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks)
  • Survival Italian (2½ hours per day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks)
  • Intermediate Microeconomics (2½ hours a day, 3 days a week, 4 weeks)
  • Statistical Methods for Business and Economics (2½ hours a day, 3 days a week, 4 weeks)

The mid-term exam for Microeconomics and Statistics will likely be on Saturday, September 2, 2017 and the final exam will take place on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15. Language course exams are normally held during class sessions,  with the final exams for Intensive Italian and English courses on Wednesday, September 13, 2017.

Check out the Pre-Term schedule for more details.

All incoming students are required to take an online course in Pre-Calculus during the summer in order to refresh their math skills in preparation for economics courses at SAIS. Those who wish to take Microeconomics in Pre-Term must also have mastered Calculus (see detailed information on Economics courses). Those who plan to attend any Pre-Term course other than Microeconomics are required to have passed the online Pre-Calculus test before the start of Pre-Term. Those who take Statistics in pre-term will need the math skills for the Statistics course. Those who take a language course in Pre-Term will have the advantage of bringing their math skills up to par before they start economics courses in the fall. Those who do not pass the Online Pre-Calculus test before the start of Pre-Term are required to participate in the Math Review during Pre-Term; those who pass the test are also welcome to attend if they feel the need to improve their 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.

Before selecting Pre-Term course(s), all students should check the economics requirement for their academic program:


M.A.G.R. students do not need to enroll in pre-term courses as they will automatically be registered for their cohort courses.

Pre-term courses do not count toward the overall number of courses required for graduation. However, the Microeconomics course enables M.A. students to complete an economics requirement early, thereby leaving additional room for electives, an economics specialization or a minor in another area. Likewise, M.A. students who complete Statistics in pre-term fulfill the SAIS M.A. quantitative 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.

MIPP students may also enroll in pre-term, particularly if they are planning to undertake course work that requires a pre-term course as a prerequisite during the academic year (for example, Microeconomics is a pre-requisite for International Trade Theory, and Statistics is a pre-requisite for Econometrics).

MAIA students coming from partner programs in Europe should check the requirements for that program here.

Successful completion of Pre-Term courses is noted by High Pass (HP) or Pass (P) on a student's transcript. Failed Pre-Term courses and Survival Italian will be dropped from the Transcript at the end of Pre-Term.

Principles of Economics Prerequisite
Prior to the beginning of Pre-Term, all incoming students 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. For those who take the SAIS Online Principles of Economics course, results will be transferred internally at the school.

Information on the Principles of Micro- and Macroeconomics course offered online by SAIS (including the course fee) will be available around mid-March on the following webpage. Those who do not pass an approved Principles of Economics course will not be allowed to attend the corresponding economics course in pre-term; nor will they be allowed to enroll in courses in the fall.

Pre-Term Microeconomics Prerequisite
All students who wish to attend Microeconomics in Pre-Term must fulfill one of these prerequisites:

  • have taken and passed an intermediate Microeconomics course previously;
  • have passed Calculus in previous studies
  • have passed both Pre-Calculus and Calculus online

Access to an online review and test as well as to other JHU systems will be sent to all students as soon as possible after matriculation. Students who register for Microeconomics in Pre-Term but do not meet one of the prerequisites will have to choose an alternate course (on a space available basis). We therefore recommend that students planning to take Microeconomics in Pre-Term who plan to meet the pre-requisite by passing the Online Calculus course do so prior to registration for Pre-Term. Those who choose to come to Bologna for Pre-Term in any case, will be able to attend the Math Review in Pre-Term in order to prepare for Microeconomics in the fall. They may also be able to take Survival Italian on a space-available basis.

Pre-term Grading
Pre-term exams are graded with the standard SAIS letter grading scale; grades are then converted to the Pre-Term scale as follows:

A HP High Pass
A- HP High Pass
B+ P Pass
B P Pass
B- P Pass
C+ P Pass
C P Pass
D none Fail - the course will be dropped from the transcript
and must be repeated during the regular academic year.

Survival Italian does not entail a final exam and will show on the student’s record only during pre-term (for administrative purposes). It will be dropped from the student’s record at the end of Pre-Term.
Career Services Professional Development Course
In addition to the pre-term courses indicated above, the SAIS Europe Career Services Office also conducts its Professional Development Course (PDC) during pre-term.  All first-year students are required to complete the PDC in order to use Career Services. It commences with an Orientation session, which provides campus-specific information about Career Services and an opportunity for students to ask questions. Students get full access to SAISWorks, the school's Career Management System, only after attending the Orientation session. Subsequent modules of the PDC are taught on a weekly basis and present students with information to help them make the most of the individualized career counseling and other programming offered at the school.  Course content includes self-assessment, employer research resources, targeted resume and cover letters building, networking and interviewing skills.
In Bologna, the PDC is run during pre-term to allow students to complete most of the course before the start of the academic year. Career Services assigns students to PDC class sections that do not conflict with their Pre-Term class schedules so there is no need for students to register separately for this course.  It involves a total commitment of about 15 hours between classroom time and outside assignments.
Students who are not taking Pre-Term courses but who will be in Bologna at that time are encouraged to take the PDC during pre-term. The PDC is also run again in the first semester, but only for students who do not attend Pre-Term.

Intensive English 
This course helps non-native English speakers achieve the academic level necessary to perform well during the year, and to prepare for the SAIS English proficiency exam. It is designed around the subjects taught at the school and fosters the development of the language skills necessary to follow academic lectures, participate in discussions and debates, give oral presentations, and write essay exams and papers. Classes meet four hours a day for a total of approximately 80 hours.

Applicants who are non-native speakers of English will be required to take this course during Pre-term if their performance in the TOEFL or IELTS exams falls within these scores:

    - Overall TOEFL score between 100 and 104; or
    - Overall TOEFL score between a 105-109 with a sub-score lower than 25 on either the Writing or Speaking sections
    - Overall IELTS score of 7 with a sub-score lower than 7 on either the Writing or Speaking sections

Regardless of the English test scores submitted with a candidate’s application, some non-native English-speaking students may be required to take Intensive English during Pre-term (based on the admissions interview or other evaluations).

Any student required to take this course during Pre-Term will find that information indicated in their letter of admission.

Intensive Italian
This course is the best way to begin learning Italian and get the most out of living in Italy.  Participants will be divided according to their language background and aptitude through an initial test. Students with a strong language background 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. Classes meet for five hours a day for a total of approximately 100 hours. Student spouses and partners are also welcome to participate in this course.
Intensive Italian may not be combined with any other Pre-Term course(s) as the workload would be too heavy.

Survival Italian
This course is reserved for students taking Microeconomics or Statistics in pre-term, or those who are required to attend a math review in pre-term. It introduces students to the basic structures of the Italian language and facilitates participation in Italian daily life. Only beginner level classes are offered during Pre-Term. Classes meet two and one half hours a day for a total of approximately 50 hours. It is not recorded permanently on the transcript.
See also the detailed information on the language program for language-course offerings during the regular academic year.

Intermediate Microeconomics
Microeconomics is taught at the ‘intermediate’ level at SAIS. During Pre-Term, Microeconomics is scheduled in 2½ hours session on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, for a total of approximately 30 hours. In addition, two-hour review sessions are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The course involves an intensive program of study that would ordinarily take place over a complete semester, and entails a mid-term and a final exam. Students who qualify for Microeconomics in Pre-Term may also take Survival Italian.

This course gives students the opportunity to receive a systematic presentation of microeconomics at the intermediate level. It fulfills the microeconomics requirement for the MA and MAIA degrees and also enables students to take classes with a microeconomics prerequisite (for example, International Trade Theory) 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. Students should be aware that the Pre-Term course, like the microeconomics course offered during the academic year, requires recent familiarity with basic algebra, functions, graphical analysis and basic calculus.

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.


  1. Only students who fulfill the following criteria are allowed to take Microeconomics in pre-term: 1) have passed a similar (intermediate level) course previously with a grade of B- or equivalent; 2) have passed calculus at a prior university with a grade of B- or equivalent (or an AP grade of 4 or 5); 3)  have passed both the pre-calculus and calculus online tests (all students will be given access to these tests around mid-May). Students who have taken intermediate Microeconomics previously may also consider taking a waiver exam to fulfill that requirement but in that case they will need to substitute it with another economics course if they pass the waiver exam. 
  2. Students who applied and were admitted to the M.A. concentration in International Development must have fulfilled the Microeconomics requirement prior to the beginning of the academic year.
  3. Students who have taken other required economics courses previously (Intermediate Macroeconomics, International Trade and/or Monetary Theory, Statistics) are strongly advised to consider taking the corresponding waiver exam to avoid repeating subject matter that they have already mastered. Detailed information is available here.

Statistical Methods for Business and Economics
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. In particular, in order to obtain a better understanding of the concepts taught in lectures, an emphasis is placed on using software such as Excel and STATA. This course is a prerequisite for more advanced courses in econometrics. Moreover, M.A. students who complete Statistics in pre-term fulfill the SAIS M.A. quantitative requirement, leaving more room for elective courses.

Pre-term Course Fees 2017
Intensive Italian € 950
Intensive English € 950
Survival Italian € 500
Microeconomics € 950
Statistics € 950

To enroll in the pre-term courses you will be required to pay a non-refundabledeposit fee of €200 for each course by June, 26 2017.
The balance of the pre-term course fees is due by the first day of pre-term class, i.e. Thursday, August 17, 2017 (how to pay). 

Registration was available HERE from May 22 through June 26, 2017.