Friday, December 17, 2010

The Economics requirement (gulp)

The application puzzle is coming together. You’ve hammered out your CV, your statement of purpose is almost ready, you've contacted your referees, your university is sending us your transcripts. Now you're thinking: "There is something missing. What could it be? Oh, I know! It’s Economics!"

Most of you are considering applying to SAIS because the master's program is unique. There is the opportunity to study in Bologna and Washington on campuses that complement each other. There are vast opportunities to learn languages. And there is Economics, truly one of SAIS's distinguishing features.

I studied law, not "the dismal science", at university. It was not until I listened to Çiğdem Akin, resident professor of Economics at SAIS Bologna, that I began to grasp the importance of this subject to an understanding of international relations. Put simply, it is difficult if not impossible to appreciate how the world works without understanding Economics. Economics permeates all areas of study at SAIS and, more broadly, provides the context and even the motivation for countless decisions by individuals and policymakers.

Here is an explanation of the importance of Economics at SAIS. "Whether you are interested in pursuing a career in international finance, public policy, business, or economic development, our program provides students with the knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed in both the public and private sector."

An example: my Admissions colleague Nelson Graves had had little if any Economics before coming to SAIS Bologna. In his first journalism job after graduating, he covered international finance from Washington and had a front-row seat on Latin America's debt crisis in the 1980s.

You may appreciate why you will be studying Economics at SAIS and how you will benefit. You should also know that to start classes, you will need to grasp the basics of both micro- and macroeconomics. You can satisfy this requirement through introductory courses, either as an undergraduate or independently. SAIS offers an online course during the summer before classes start to those without the basics. The choice is yours, and it's best that you consider as soon as possible how you will meet the requirement.

If you are not sure whether the course you plan on taking is right, send us an email with the course syllabus and we will let you know whether it meets the requirement.

There are also Economics requirements for graduating from SAIS. But that will be discussed in a future post by Professor Akin. So stay tuned.

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