Friday, December 10, 2010


In yesterday’s post, I explained the names of our two different campuses and noted that SAIS is part of The Johns Hopkins University. So you might ask: What are the differences between SAIS Washington and SAIS Bologna?

First, some crucial similarities:

  • On both campuses, graduate students undertake a challenging English-language course of study in international relations.
  • A common interdisciplinary curriculum emphasizes economics and requires proficiency in at least one foreign language.
  • SAIS provides a professional education that allows students to concentrate in either a region of the world or a functional area such as international development.
  • Graduates from both go on to a wide variety of jobs; many take advantage of SAIS's global network of alumni.
  • Both campuses are self-contained and independent units, with SAIS DC on Massachusetts Avenue (also called Embassy Row) in the U.S. capital, and SAIS Bologna in its own building next to the University of Bologna.
  • Both campuses are very international, with students and faculty coming from dozens of countries.

We often say that SAIS is one school with two campuses. About half the students start in Bologna and the other half in DC. When they leave, they are prepared for a host of professional challenges.

The main differences relate to geography and administration.

Bologna is a medieval city with a long academic history – the University of Bologna is believed to be the oldest continually operating university in the world. Washington is the capital of the United States. For many students, the opportunity to be exposed to a European and Mediterranean perspective in Bologna for one year, with another year in Washington, is a unique educational experience. We believe it is one of the key differentiators for SAIS.

Each campus has its own Administration. As the admissions requirements and procedures differ somewhat, both campuses have their own Admissions Office, reflecting mainly divergent educational traditions in and outside of the United States. Please keep in mind:

  • U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. apply through the SAIS DC Admissions Office, whether they want to attend SAIS DC or SAIS Bologna.
  • Other nationalities apply through either DC or Bologna, depending on the campus they wish to attend during their first year.

For more information on applying to SAIS Bologna, click here. For SAIS DC, click here.

Beyond the differences and similarities, we remain convinced that SAIS Bologna and SAIS DC offer experiences and outlooks that complement each other for the betterment of our students.

Nelson Graves 


Anonymous said...

If I apply to Bologna as my first year campus and then do my second year in DC, will that be virtually the same as doing my first year in bologna and the second one in DC?

I mean, will the degree be the same???

Nelson Graves said...

Dear Anonymous - Thank you for your question. I am assuming that you are asking whether a student receives the same degree whether they do BO-DC or DC-BO. Most candidates for the MA in International Relations who study in Bologna do so in their first year. However, one can start in DC and then go to Bologna for the second year. The major downside is that the student spends one instead of two years with their fellow students and so can miss out on the "bonding" that occurs among students. But it has been done. In both cases, the student is eligible for the MA in International Relations.