Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA)

The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies – SAIS Europe

Program Description

Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA)

The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies – SAIS Europe

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. It does not require a concentration and allows students to submit a thesis in lieu of two of the 16 non-language courses normally required for the MA Applicants put forward a research proposal which, if accepted, becomes the subject of an MAIA thesis in the second year.

A World of Resources

The Students

Dual degree programs with University of Bologna in Italy, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna in Austria, Sciences Po Lille in France, or the University of Leiden in the Netherlands are offered under this program, enabling students to experience the diverse academic environments. With access to archives and libraries across Europe, MAIA students benefit from a wealth of international resources for their research.

The Faculty

Courses at SAIS Europe emphasize economics, political science, history and foreign language proficiency, providing a cross-disciplinary approach. Core faculty and adjunct professors from major European institutions combine personal advising with a broad choice of curriculum. MAIA students select a course of study that complements their research focus.

Recent Speakers

  • Mario Draghi
  • Romano Prodi
  • Kenneth Waltz
  • Tariq Ramadan

Broaden Your Experience in Bologna, Italy

Home to the oldest university in Europe, Bologna’s long tradition of education, cultural heritage and political vitality makes it an attractive location for the school's European campus. On the cusp of its 60th anniversary, SAIS Europe is distinguished by strong faculty-student relationships, vigorous debate and a cohesive social and intellectual community. Exposure to contrasting European and US perspectives on global issues offers a distinctive academic pairing—making for an extraordinarily enriching experience.

Teaching at the Bologna campus is complemented by a thematic seminar series, and small classes, strong faculty-student relationships, and vigorous debate characterize the cohesive social and intellectual community.

Gain a Career-Building Edge

Graduates are highly valued by employers and in great demand in the international relations field. Economics knowledge, analytical abilities, regional expertise, diplomatic skills, language proficiency and the capacity to apply theory to real-world problems give our students a career-building edge.

Career Services

The Office of Career Services works with students to explore careers and set goals, acquire job experience and contacts, and strengthen their leadership abilities.

A Global Alumni Community

Students have access to a lifetime network of alumni–extraordinary individuals who hold positions of global leadership in government, business, journalism, nonprofit groups and multilateral organizations.

Common Paths

Alumni have pursued careers at:

  • US Department of State
  • United Nations
  • The World Bank
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • US Agency for International Development
  • JP Morgan Chase & Co.
  • The EU Commission
  • Brookings Institution


All MAIA candidates present and defend a 20,000-word research thesis. Upon admission to the program, candidates discuss options for thesis topics with the program director and then contact faculty in their subject area regarding the supervision.

It is preferable that either the primary supervisor or the second reader be chosen from among the full-time resident faculty, but students can also take advantage of the wide-range of research interests of the many adjunct faculties who teach at SAIS Europe. Once a faculty member agrees to act as primary supervisor, the candidate prepares a thesis proposal which must be evaluated and approved by the supervisor.

International Economics

International Economics is a required area of study for the MAIA degree. Candidates are required to take Microeconomics, Macroeconomics (or corresponding waiver exam), International Trade Theory and International Monetary Theory.

Students coming from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the University of Bologna, or Sciences Po Lille who have already taken intermediate Microeconomics or Macroeconomics are encouraged to take the corresponding waiver exams during the summer prior to enrolling at SAIS Europe. Should they not pass the waiver exams, they are encouraged to take Microeconomics in pre-term. Students who pass the waiver exams in Microeconomics and/or Macroeconomics will be able to take a wider selection of courses during the regular academic year.


For the MAIA, non-native English speakers must pass a comprehensive proficiency examination to demonstrate the required competence in English. Those students who apply for the MAIA program during their first semester at SAIS Europe must pass all four sections of the English proficiency prior to admission to the MAIA, i.e. by January. Those students who come from one of our partner institutions and enter as second-year students must pass all four sections of the English proficiency by the end of their year in Bologna, i.e. May. Nevertheless, the written section of the exam must be taken by all non-native English speakers, MAIA applicants included, during Orientation Week.

Native English speakers must pass a proficiency examination by the end of the second year in one of the seven foreign languages offered at SAIS Europe (Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish).

Cooperative Degree Programs

SAIS Europe offers cooperative two-year degree programs with leading European universities. Students may begin their course of study at either institution, earning a Diploma or Master’s degree from both. Cooperative degree candidates satisfy SAIS Europe’s prerequisites in economics and languages and write an original 20,000-word thesis. Students apply to both institutions.

  • Institut d’études politiques de Lille (Sciences Po Lille, France)
  • Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, Austria
  • University of Leiden, the Netherlands
  • University of Bologna, Italy

Prior to Attending


This program entails two years of study at SAIS Europe. Students who wish to enter this program (except for those coming from our partner institutions) are initially admitted to the MA program and must submit an MAIA application during their first semester of study at SAIS Europe. Students are selected on the basis of their performance in the first semester, their academic potential, and a research proposal that will become the subject of their MAIA thesis in the second year.

Non-Native Speakers of English

All non-native speakers of English must have proven English competence by submitting a TOEFL, IELTS or a CPE score (see the Admissions page for more information). The TOEFL/IELTS/CPE exam requirement may be waived for individuals who have done their undergraduate degree in English in a country where English is an official language.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated October 8, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
2 years
Full time
34,955 EUR
Italy - Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
Italy - Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info