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Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

See also the articles on the SAIS international campuses: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Bologna Center (in Bologna, Italy) and Hopkins-Nanjing Center (in Nanjing, China)

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a division of Johns Hopkins University based in Washington, D.C., United States, with campuses in Bologna, Italy; and Nanjing, China. It is generally considered one of the top graduate schools for international relations in the world. The institution is devoted to the study of international affairs, economics, diplomacy, and policy research and education.[1]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
Johns Hopkins SAIS Logo
Type Private
Established 1943
Parent institution
Johns Hopkins University
Dean Vali R. Nasr
Postgraduates 950
Location Washington, D.C., US
Bologna, Italy
Nanjing, China
Affiliations APSIA
Website SAIS Website

Among the political scientists and economists based here are former World Bank chief economist Anne Krueger; and military historian and former counselor of the U.S. Department of State Eliot Cohen. Its students are selected from a large pool of applicants from all parts of the world.[2]

The SAIS Washington D.C. campus is located on Massachusetts Avenue's Embassy Row, just off Dupont Circle and across from the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and next to the Center for Global Development and the Peterson Institute. The school is a preeminent center for public debate in international affairs, hosting world leaders on a regular basis.



The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) was founded in 1943 by Paul H. Nitze and Christian Herter as a standalone graduate school and became part of The Johns Hopkins University in 1950. The school was established during World War II by a group of statesmen who sought new methods of preparing men and women to cope with the international responsibilities that would be thrust upon the United States in the postwar world.

The founders assembled a faculty of scholars and professionals (often borrowed from other universities) to teach international relations, international economics, and foreign languages to a small group of students. The curriculum was designed to be both scholarly and practical. The natural choice for the location of the school was Washington, D.C., a city where international resources are abundant and where American foreign policy is shaped and set in motion. When the school opened in 1944, 15 students were enrolled.[3]

In 1955 the school created the Bologna Center in Italy, the first full-time graduate school located in Europe under an American higher-education system. By 1963 Johns Hopkins SAIS outgrew its first quarters on Florida Avenue and moved to one of its present buildings on Massachusetts Avenue. In 1986, the Hopkins–Nanjing Center was created in Nanjing, China, completing the school's global presence.

Organization and academic programsEdit

Campus building on Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC.

Johns Hopkins SAIS is a global school with campuses in three continents. It has nearly 700 full-time students in Washington, D.C.; 190 full-time students in Bologna, Italy; and about 160 full-time students in Nanjing, China. Of these, 60 percent come from the United States and 37 percent from more than 70 other countries.[4] Around 50% are women and 22% are from U.S. minority groups. SAIS Europe is home to the Bologna Center and the only full-time international relations graduate program in Europe that operates under an American higher-education system, and the Hopkins–Nanjing Center, which teaches courses in both Chinese and English, is jointly administered by Johns Hopkins SAIS and Nanjing University.[5]

The school offers multidisciplinary instruction leading to the degrees of master of arts for early and mid-career professionals, as well as a doctor of philosophy program. Approximately 300 students graduate from the Washington, D.C., campus each year from the two-year master of arts program in international relations and international economics. Unlike most other international affairs graduate schools that offer professional master's degrees, Johns Hopkins SAIS requires its master of arts candidates to fulfill the International Ecopass a one-hour capstone oral examination synthesizing and integrating knowledge from the student's regional or functional concentration and international economics.[6] The oral examination and international economics requirements of the master of arts curriculum have been the signature aspects of the school's education.

Programs of Study in Washington, D.C.[7]

Master of Arts (MA) – The majority of students at Johns Hopkins SAIS are enrolled in the two-year, full-time Master of Arts degree program. The program’s interdisciplinary coursework emphasizes international economics, policy and regional studies, international relations, and languages. Students can elect to spend either year at SAIS Europe or both years in Washington, D.C.

Master of Arts in Global Policy – A 16-month master’s program is designed to help experienced professionals develop into global leaders while they maintain full-time employment. The curriculum reflects the school’s core strengths and provides students in this cohort-based program with policy relevant expertise in international politics, economics, strategy, and law. Students take classes together on alternating Fridays and Saturdays and participate in three multi-day residencies and one capstone residency abroad.

Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance – This 11-month master’s program positions early-career professionals to excel in economic and financial analysis roles. The curriculum prepares students to understand advanced economic theories, master professional quantitative and econometric skills, and assess a wide range of international economic and financial scenarios. Students in this cohort-based program take courses together.

Master of International Public Policy – This master's degree is designed for experienced professionals who wish to develop advanced analytical and leadership skills. Students tailor their coursework to focus on areas of greatest importance to their careers. Students represent diverse employment sectors and geographic regions and bring substantial work experience into classroom discussions. This full-time program is completed in one academic year.

Programs of Study at SAIS Europe

Master of Arts (MA) – The majority of students at Johns Hopkins SAIS are enrolled in the two-year, full-time Master of Arts degree program. The program’s interdisciplinary coursework emphasizes international economics, policy and regional studies, international relations, and languages. Students can elect to spend either year at SAIS Europe or both years in Washington, D.C.

Master of Arts in Global Risk – This 13-month, cohort-based program builds on the advantages of the school by introducing students to a broad array of concepts and the tools in the social sciences that are necessary to undertake sophisticated political and economic risk analysis. Students complete a capstone in the form of a client-based professional practicum or original thesis.

Master of Arts in International Affairs – This two-year degree program is research-focused, allowing students to produce an original 20,000-word thesis. Students may pursue both years of the MAIA in Bologna or one year at another participating European university as part of a cooperative degree program.

Master of International Public Policy – This master's degree is designed for experienced professionals who wish to develop advanced analytical and leadership skills. Students tailor their coursework to focus on areas of greatest importance to their careers. Students represent diverse employment sectors and geographic regions and bring substantial work experience into classroom discussions. This full-time program is completed in one academic year.

Diploma in International Studies – This diploma requires two semesters of full-time study at SAIS Europe (eight non-language courses plus a language requirement). This certification of graduate coursework in international studies is particularly useful for those who already hold or are earning a master's degree.

Programs of Study at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC)

Master of Arts in International Studies – Offered at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, this two-year program is the only master's degree fully accredited in both China and the United States. Non-Chinese students complete coursework and a thesis in Mandarin, culminating in a degree jointly awarded by Johns Hopkins SAIS and Nanjing University.

The HNC Certificate in Chinese and American Studies – The one-year HNC Certificate gives students flexibility in course selection while deepening their knowledge of Sinoglobal relations. Graduate-level courses in topics such as economics, energy, and law offered in Chinese help develop linguistic and cultural fluency. Intermediate to advanced level proficiency in Mandarin is required prior to beginning study. HNC Certificate/MA—Students in the HNC Certificate/ MA program continue their studies in Washington, D.C., or Bologna, Italy to complete the program requirements.

Courses are taught across 20 programs, including international economics; international relations (IR/conflict management IR/energy, resources, and environment; IR/global theory & history; IR/international law and organizations; IR/strategic studies); international development; African studies; American foreign policy; Asian studies (Asia/China studies; Asia/Japan studies; Asia/Korea studies; Asia/Southeast Asia studies; Asia/South Asia studies), European studies; Middle East studies; Russia & Eurasia studies; Western Hemisphere studies (Western Hemisphere/Canada studies; Western Hemisphere/Latin America studies); and 15 foreign languages.[6]

Johns Hopkins SAIS also maintains formal joint-degree programs with the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, INSEAD, the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia Law School, Stanford Law School, University of Virginia School of Law, Nanjing University, and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.


A study conducted in 2005 examined graduate international relations programs throughout the United States, interviewing over a thousand professionals in the field, with the results subsequently published in the Foreign Policy magazine. 65 percent of respondents named Johns Hopkins University–SAIS as the best terminal master's program in international relations. SAIS received the most votes, followed by Georgetown University (Walsh), Harvard University (Kennedy), Tufts University (Fletcher), and Columbia University (SIPA). The latest edition of the study was produced in 2014, with the master's program at SAIS ranking second globally after Georgetown (Walsh).

Since 1990, SAIS and the Fletcher School have been the only nonlaw schools in the United States to participate in the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Competing against full-time law students, SAIS generalists have performed very well. SAIS has twice placed second overall out of 12 schools and advanced to the "final four" in its region. In head-to-head competitions, SAIS has defeated elite law schools such as Georgetown University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Maryland.

SAIS students have also demonstrated their versatility by successfully competing in the Sustainable Innovation Summit Challenge hosted by the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona. Two different SAIS teams won first place in both 2007 and 2008, besting teams of MBA students from some of the world's top business schools.[8][9]

A joint team from SAIS and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business received second place in the first "Global Challenge" competition, a first-of-its-kind competition that challenged teams of MBA and other graduate students to develop a public–private venture to support development and the tourism industry in Asia. The competition was organized in 2010 by the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).[10]

Annual themesEdit

From 2005–2012, Johns Hopkins SAIS dedicated a substantive theme for each academic year in order to encourage its students, faculty, academic programs, policy centers, and alumni to examine the role of the particular theme within international affairs. These specific themes provided opportunities for the school to review scholarship and exchange views through special lectures, conferences, and guest speakers. The school hosted public events during the following themes of Energy (2005–06), China (2006–07), Elections and Foreign Policy (2007–08), Year of Water (2008–09), Religion[11] (2009–10), Demography (2010–11), and Agriculture (2011–12) and enhanced its fundraising with high-profile public events such as the lecture delivered by then–vice president of BP, Nick Butler, during The Year of Energy in 2005.[12]

Child Protection ProjectEdit

In June 2009 The Protection Project at SAIS partnered with the Koons Family Institute of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), creating the Child Protection Project, to draft a model law focusing on the issues of child protection; in particular: "neglect, abuse, maltreatment, and exploitation".[13] The primary objectives of the Child Protection Project are to "research existing child protection laws in the 193 member states of the United Nations (UN); convene a series of regional expert working group meetings to establish a common definition for 'child protection'; create a database of national legislation and case law on child protection issues from around the world; and draft, publish, and globally disseminate model child protection legislation".[14]

The drafting process included six expert group meetings, held in Singapore, Egypt, Costa Rica, Spain, Turkey, and the U.S.[13] The final version of the Child Protection Model Law was published in January 2013. It was presented to the members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child during its 62nd Session in Geneva, Switzerland, in January 2013.[13][15] It was also presented before the 129th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva in October 2013.[13][16][17] Accompanying the Child Protection Model Law, ICMEC and The Protection Project published a companion "100 Best Practices in Child Protection" guide in 2013.[18]

Research centersEdit


In addition to the different books and periodicals edited by SAIS programs or research centers, several school-wide publications are to be mentioned:

  • 38 North – A blog maintained by the U.S.-Korea Institute about North Korean affairs
  • SAIS Review – A journal on leading contemporary issues of world affairs, founded in 1956
  • SAIS Observer[19] – A student-written, student-run newspaper founded in 2002, the official student newspaper of the global SAIS community
  • SAIS Reports – A newsletter that highlights new faculty, research institutes, academic programs, student and alumni accomplishments, and events at the school, published bimonthly from September through May
  • SAIS Europe Journal of Global Affairs (formally the Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs) – A student-run journal on scholarly contributions to international relations, published online and annually as a print version
  • Centerpiece – The alumni newsletter of the Nanjing Center
  • Working Paper Series – A series of papers managed by the PhD students

Notable alumniEdit

Johns Hopkins SAIS has nearly 17,000 alumni working around the world in approximately 140 countries.[11] Over 130 SAIS graduates have become ambassadors for various countries.[20]

Past and present facultyEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations | Home". 1. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  2. ^ "SAIS Office of Career Services | For Employers". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  3. ^ Gutner, Tammi L. "The Story of SAIS". Washington, D.C.: School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, 1987.
  4. ^ SAIS Prepare to Lead Brochure, released Summer 2009
  5. ^ See Norton Wheeler, Role of American NGOs in China's Modernization: Invited Influence (Routledge, 2014) online review, on the history of the Nanjing Center
  6. ^ a b "Johns Hopkins SAIS Academics | MA Program | Requirements". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  7. ^ "Academics | SAIS". Retrieved 2015-11-24. 
  8. ^ "Thunderbird Names Sustainable Innovation Summit Winners – Press Releases on". 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  9. ^ "Sustainable Innovation Summit winners announced – Thunderbird School of Global Management". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  10. ^ "Robert H. Smith School of Business – University of Maryland, College Park". 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  11. ^ a b c "Johns Hopkins SAIS | Year of Religion". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  12. ^ "Johns Hopkins SAIS | Press Room | SAIS Reports". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Drafting Human Rights Legislation Expert Group". The Protection Project. 
  14. ^ Katai de Mello Dantas (August 1, 2011) "Protecting Children from Exploitation: Discussions on Creating a Model Law and a Parliamentary Guide", Peace & Collaborative Development Network
  15. ^ "Speeches". The Protection Project. 
  16. ^ "Panel Discussion (Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights) (Geneva, 7–9 October 2013); The Role of Parliaments in Protecting the Rights of Children, in Particular Unaccompanied Migrant Children, and in Preventing their Exploitation in Situations of War and Conflict", Inter-Parliamentary Union
  17. ^ "129th IPU Assembly; Overview of Main Events and Decisions (Geneva, 7–9 October 2013)", Inter-Parliamentary Union
  18. ^ "100 Best Practices in Child Protection". The Chronicle of Social Change. 2013. 
  19. ^ SAIS Observer
  20. ^ Archived October 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Popkin, Jim. Ana Montes did much harm spying for Cuba. Chances are, you haven't heard of her. Washington Post Magazine, April 18, 2013.
  22. ^ State department
  23. ^ U.S. Embassy press release
  24. ^ "Biography of Ambassador WANG Guangya". 2003-11-10. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  25. ^ Government Printing Office Web Division. "USCC Commissioners Page:Honorable William A. Reinsch". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  26. ^ "Osgood Center for International Studies". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 

Further readingEdit

  • Wheeler, Norton. Role of American NGOs in China's Modernization: Invited Influence (Routledge, 2014) 240 pp. online review, on Nanjing Center
  • Gutner, Tammi L. The Story of SAIS (School of Advanced International Studies, 1987). ISBN 978-9990530568.

Coordinates: 38°54′29″N 77°02′24″W / 38.908°N 77.040°W / 38.908; -77.040