Global Theory and History

SAIS Women Lead Initiative
Jordan Abolishes "Marry the Rapist" Law
Global Theory and History Program
Beijing Journalists Meeting
Wells Fargo Says It Will Grow ‘Quickly’ in China

July 22, 2017 - Dr. Davis-Packard discusses status of women in the Middle East, President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia and her work at SAIS with Robert Satloff
with Robert Satloff, Executive Dir., Washington Institute

August 1, 2017 - Kent Packard-Davis on STATESIDE
Cause allowed rapist to go free if they married rapists.

"Drawing upon the insights of scholars and practitioners and upon historical experience, Global Theory and History addresses the large questions of statecraft."

American Foreign Policy/Global Theory and History China Study Trip

American Foreign Policy/Global Theory and History China Study Trip

Program Activities
SAIS Women Lead
Events Calendar
External Resources

The Global Theory and History Program examines continuity and change in the formation and maturation of territorially focused relations, along with transnational forces and ideologies. The program includes the interplay of political economy, diplomatic and military strategies, and cultural civilizations.

Great Wall of China - Global Theory and History China Study Trip
Global Theory and History China Study Trip - (Shanghai)
Global Theory and History China Study Trip - (Beijing)
Show More


Program Activities



Students who seek internships with the U.S. government, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations will find that the program's faculty and staff will assist them with supportive recommendations and helpful advice.

For Global Theory and History students based in Washington DC, summer internships are available.  Please talk to Starr Lee for details.


Global Politics and Religion Initiative (GPRI)

The Global Politics and Religion Initiative (GPRI) at SAIS promotes the study of religion and international affairs. Supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, the initiative has three main components that incorporate the study of the interaction between religion and politics into the school’s existing academic programs—new master’s degree courses, research seminars and executive education training sessions. GPRI’s goal is to foster an appreciation and deeper understanding of religion and international affairs among students, scholars and practitioners who will shape and influence future policymaking. Charles Doran, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of International Relations and Global Theory and History Program director, is co-directing the initiative with Jocelyne Cesari and Leila Austin. Cesari serves as a senior visiting professor of international relations in the Global Theory and History Program. She is also director of Harvard University’s Islam in the West Program. Austin is a professorial lecturer in the Global Theory and History and Middle East Studies programs and is deputy director of SAIS Cultural Conversations.

Learn more about the Global Politics and Religion Initiative.




Global Theory & History | M.A. Requirements

Global Theory and History Program Learning Goals and Objectives

Entering Class 2017-2018

MA students must take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits) in order to graduate. Those students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 courses (48 credits) or 14 courses (56 credits) as approved by Academic Affairs.



Students concentrating in Global Theory & History (GTH) must take a minimum of 4 courses within this program. Students are encouraged to take additional GTH courses.



Students must also fulfill the requirements for International Relations (IR), which include 2 additional courses from 2 different IR Areas or Policy Areas other than GTH. These areas include:

IR Areas:

  • Conflict Management
  • International Law and Organizations
  • International Political Economy

Policy Areas:

  • Energy, Resources and Environment
  • Strategic Studies

IR students studying at SAIS Europe must take at least 3 IR courses in Washington with the exception of dual-degree or advanced-standing students, who must take at least 2 IR courses in Washington.



Students must complete 16 credits. The four required courses are:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent: Microeconomics)
  • International Trade Theory (prerequisite: Microeconomics)
  • International Monetary Theory (prerequisite: Macroeconomics)

If a student passes a waiver exam in one of these areas, the student must take a replacement International Economics program course(s) to fulfill the concentration requirement.

Starting with the entering class of Fall 2017, students who pass Microeconomics in Pre-Term will have the concentration reduced to 12 credits, but still must complete Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory, and International Monetary Theory (or a replacement course(s) if waiver exam(s) passed). The Pre-Term Microeconomics course is not for credit and is not factored into the GPA.

Beyond the requirements, many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization in one of four areas of economics. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.

Concentration GPA Requirement
Students must achieve a combined GPA of at least 2.67 in four (or three if Microeconomics is passed in Pre-Term) required International Economics program courses or they must retake the course(s) until a 2.67 concentration GPA is achieved. In the standard case, the concentration GPA will be the average of the grades of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory, and International Monetary Theory.

If one or more of the four standard courses is waived, the school will use the highest grade(s) from any eligible replacement International Economics program course(s) to compute the International Economics concentration GPA.



 Students must complete one course from the list below.

  • Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
  • Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
  • Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
  • Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
  • Risk Analysis and Modeling
  • Quantitative Global Economics (prerequisite International Monetary Theory)
  • Credit Markets & Credit Risk (prerequisite Corporate Finance)

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

If a student passes the statistics waiver exam, the student must take an alternate course from the list above to fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Starting with the entering class of Fall 2017, students who pass Statistical Methods for Business & Economics in Pre-Term will have fulfilled the Quantitative Reasoning requirement. The Pre-Term course is not for credit and is not factored into the GPA.



All students must pass 2 core courses and/or exams from the subjects below. GTH concentrators must pass Theories of International Relations as one of their core requirements prior to the start of their third semester. If the core courses/exams are not completed by the start of the final semester, the student no longer has the option of completing the exam and must enroll in the core course(s) for credit.

  • American Foreign Policy Since World War II
  • Comparative Politics
  • Evolution of the International System
  • Theories of International Relations


MA candidates must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in a second language. This language must be offered at SAIS. 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 SAIS, even if not using English for proficiency.



Global Theory & History concentrators must complete ONE of the following capstones:

  • A twenty-page research paper whose focus and subject matter has been approved by the director
  • A twenty-page written report that draws conclusions about international relations or international political economy based on an internship undertaken while at SAIS
  • Successful completion of the course SA.600.702 Contemporary Theory of International Relations. Note: students must select the paper option (vs. the exam option) to use this course as a capstone.
  • MA Oral Exam (to compete for honors- if eligible)


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




Global Theory and History Minor Requirements: 

  • 3 Global Theory and History (or cross-listed) courses (12 credits)
  • Passing Theories of International Relations as one of the two core requirements is highly recommended

General Minor Requirements:

  • 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.
  • General IR concentrators can minor in an IR area or policy area (Conflict Management, Global Theory and History, International Law and Organizations, International Political Economy, Energy, Resources, and Environment, or Strategic Studies) by completing 2 additional area/policy courses (8 credits) beyond the 1 used toward the concentration.

To add or change a minor, please click HERE.

SAIS Women Lead

Add content...


Inclusive Diplomacy Luncheon Series

Culture Change at the State Department:
Inclusive Government Leaders Share Their Insights

Monday, March 6, 2017
12PM – 2:00PM
Rome 806

  • Ms. Betty Bernstein, Office of Global Women’s Issues (Senior Advisor and Director of Operations)
  • Mr. Jesse Bernstein, Senior Advisor to the Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons
  • Ms. Zakiya Carr Johnson,  Director - Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Unit, Policy Planning and Coordination Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs

Please RSVP by March 3rd to Starr Lee:

For more information, click HERE.

External Resources


SAIS Women Lead
SAIS Women Lead is a global women’s leadership development program that partners the school's faculty, students, alumni, and public and private organizations to raise the political and economic status of communities through the empowerment of women. By fostering scholarship and cross-cultural exchange, SAIS Women Lead raises awareness of gap areas in research and advocacy to create more inclusive, compassionate, and service-oriented societies.

Contact Us

Charles Doran
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of International Relations, Director of the Global Theory and History Program, Director of the Center for Canadian Studies
Nitze 510

Starr Lee
Program Coordinator
Nitze 509

Address & Phone

Global Theory and History
Nitze Building
1740 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC