Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Economics: developing the tools that will boost your future

SAIS is a graduate program in International Relations. Why, then, are students required to take Economics?

Put simply, because we believe a solid understanding of Economics is needed to understand the complexities of the world and to play a role in solving its most intractable problems.

Economics is part of the multidisciplinary approach at SAIS, along with languages and expertise in regions of the world and in international policy. This approach prepares SAIS students for the impressive range of careers available to our graduates.

What, then, are the Economics requirements?

Candidates are not required to have studied Economics before submitting an application. It's important that applicants should understand the importance of Economics and be comfortable with quantitative work. But there is no formal requirement to have studied Economics before applying.

The requirements kick in after admission, and it's important to distinguish between the entry and graduation requirements.

Before students can start studying at SAIS, they have to have mastered the principles of both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. Many admitted candidates will already have taken principles of Economics. Incoming students who have not taken introduction to both Micro and Macro before being admitted use the summer before classes start to get up to speed.

The graduation requirement is a bit more complicated.

During two-year master's programs at SAIS, students must take at least four courses in Economics. They must demonstrate mastery of intermediate Microeconomics, intermediate Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory and International Monetary Theory, either by taking the courses or by passing waiver exams in the subjects. More information on waiver exams is available here.

In addition, students must take at least one course in quantitative reasoning, such as Statistics, Econometrics or Corporate Finance, among others.

Many students start their Economics course work during the four-week pre-term period that precedes each academic year. To learn more about pre-term, you can read this post.

During pre-term we offer courses in intermediate Micro and intermediate Macro. Students who take one of these courses in pre-term tick off one of their graduation requirements. They do not have to take that course during the regular academic year, although they are still required to take at least four Economics courses during their regular semesters at SAIS.

On average SAIS students take seven Economics courses over two years, an indication of the quality of the teaching and the relevance of Economics to the overall curriculum. Students soon discover that the strong policy focus of our courses provides them with the breadth and understanding they need in their future careers.

Amina Abdiuahab

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