Pre-Term SAIS Europe

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English and Italian Courses
Economics Courses
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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 2019 at SAIS Europe runs from Monday, August 19 to Saturday, September 14, 2019. Registration will be available online from Monday, May 20 through July 1, 2019.  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)

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). Students who plan to attend any Pre-Term course other than Microeconomics are required to have passed the online Pre-Calculus test by Monday, August 12. Those who take Statistics in pre-term will need the math skills for the Statistics course. Those taking a language course in Pre-Term will be able to take advantage of the Math Review offered in Pre-Term to bring their math skills up to par before they start economics courses in the fall. Those who do not pass the Online Pre-Calculus assessment by August 12 will be 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 specific 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 summer 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 has pre-term course as a prerequisite during the academic year (for example, Microeconomics is a pre-requisite for International Trade Theory and Corporate Finance; Statistics is a pre-requisite for Econometrics, which is offered in the Spring in Bologna).

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) can be found on here. 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 take and pass the Online Calculus course by Monday, August 12. Access to an online review and assessment 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).

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.

Pre-Term grades do not affect a students grade point average (GPA).

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 not 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 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 interested in participating in the Intensive Italian course should contact the SAIS Europe Registrar's Office for details.
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 is mainly intended to help students interact in Italian during their everyday life in Bologna. However, students who complete the course successfully may choose to have it registered on their transcript with a passing grade (P). 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. 


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 mainly 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 pass both the Online Pre-Calculus AND Calculus courses and corresponding assesment test prior to the start of Pre-Term (all students will be given access to these tests around mid-May) will be allowed to take Microeconomics in Pre-Term.  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 subjects 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 2019
Intensive Italian €   950
Intensive English €   950
Survival Italian €   500
Microeconomics € 1,050
Statistics € 1,050

To enroll in the pre-term courses you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of €200 for each course by July 1, 2019.

The balance of the pre-term course fees is due on or before the first day of pre-term class, i.e. Monday, August 19, 2019 (how to pay tuition and fees). 

Register HERE from May 20 through July 1, 2019.


Language course fees, less the non-refundable deposit, will be refunded to students who communicate their withdrawal in writing to the SAIS Europe Business Office by 9 am on Monday, August 26. 
Thereafter, no refunds will be granted.

Economics course fees, less the non-refundable deposit, will be refunded to students who communicate their withdrawal in writing to the SAIS Europe business Office by 9 am on Monday, August 26.
One half of the fee (after the deposit has been deducted) will be refunded to students who communicate their withdrawal to the SAIS Europe Business Office by 9 am on Monday, September 2. Thereafter, no refunds will be granted.