Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SAIS concentrations: an intellectual framework for understanding the world

Regional focus or international policy? That is the question.

The SAIS program is multidisciplinary, so the courses interlock to support a coherent framework for understanding the world. The program requirements are designed to strengthen that framework.

Still, each student pursuing the MA degree must choose a concentration in either Regions of the World or International Policy Areas. Like picking and choosing from a menu at a fine restaurant, the decision can be difficult.

Do you want to focus on a particular region that has piqued your interest? SAIS offers concentrations in African, Asian, Canadian, European & Eurasian, Latin American and Middle East Studies.

Keen to dig into an international policy area? The menu features American Foreign Policy; Conflict Management; Energy, Resources and Environment; General International Relations; Global Theory and History; International Law and Organizations; Strategic Studies, and International Development.

Many students take their time to make up their minds. Roughly half of SAIS' students change their minds about which concentration they prefer between the time they apply and when they graduate.

Concentrations, including International Economics, which is required of all students, aim to provide the intellectual framework for asking a broad range of questions that underpin international relations. They are not meant to be straightjackets. Many courses are cross-listed in more than one concentration, and students are by no means confined to courses in their own concentration.

The Latin American Studies program has prepared a short video (below) that highlights how that program helps students understand global challenges through a regional experience.

The combination of regional expertise within an intellectual framework; economics, and cultural and political sensitivity through language proficiency are what set SAIS students apart when they tackle the careers of their choice.

If you are reading this via email, you can view the video here.

Nelson Graves

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