About Johns Hopkins SAIS

sais-forsideSeven Decades of Educating Global Leaders.

SAIS has always looked to the future.

When the school was founded in 1943, World War II raged in Europe and Asia. But a group of visionaries —led by statesmen Christian A. Herter and Paul H. Nitze—foresaw the need for a graduate school that would prepare young men and women to assume responsibilities in the postwar world.

In today’s post-9/11 era, the challenges are enormous and unprecedented. Yet SAIS’s mission is more relevant than ever: to train the next generation of leaders in the global arena.

A division of The Johns Hopkins University since 1950, SAIS is truly an international institution, with campuses in Washington, D.C., Bologna, Italy, and Nanjing, China, that draw students from throughout the world. Unique among its peers, SAIS provides the opportunity for students to take advantage of all three campuses during their graduate experience—designing a degree program based on individual academic and professional interests.

SAIS offers the building blocks of leadership in all professional fields: core functional disciplines, such as strategic studies and international development; strong emphasis on international economics; robust regional programs; and essential foreign language training.

A SAIS Education

Based in Washington, D.C., the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University is one of the nation’s leading graduate schools devoted to the study of international relations. SAIS’s problem-solving approach toward the conduct of foreign policy has benefited approximately 15,000 alumni around the world.  The school’s graduates work in numerous public, private, multisector and nonprofit agencies and organizations in more than 140 countries.

SAIS’s founders established three primary goals:

  • To provide a professional education that simultaneously adheres to the highest standards of scholarship and takes a practical approach to training students for international leadership.
  • To conduct scholarly research related to the concerns of public and private institutions of the United States and governments of other countries and disseminate that research to a broad audience concerned with foreign relations.
  • To offer mid-career educational opportunities for those already working in international affairs.

SAIS in the Early Years

The school was established during World War II by a group of statesmen, led by Christian A. Herter and Paul H. Nitze, who sought new methods of preparing men and women to cope with the international responsibilities that would be thrust upon the United States in the postwar world. The founders assembled a faculty of scholars and professionals to teach international relations, international economics and foreign languages to a small group of students. The curriculum was designed to be both scholarly and practical. The natural choice for the location of the school was Washington, D.C., a city where international resources were abundant and where American foreign policy was—and continues to be—shaped and set in motion. SAIS enrolled 15 students when the first classes were held in October 1944.

SAIS became a division of The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in 1950, gaining access to the facilities and resources of a major academic institution. JHU, founded in 1876, served as the model for many modern American universities by establishing post-graduate research as a major academic function.

By 1963, SAIS outgrew its first quarters on Florida Avenue and moved to one of its three present buildings on Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. in Washington’s Dupont Circle neighborhood.

SAIS Today

SAIS enrolls about 600 full-time students in Washington, D.C., primarily in the school’s two-year Master of Arts program. Approximately 40 percent of the students are non-U.S. citizens coming from more than 70 countries. The school accepts a small number of candidates in the Doctor of Philosophy program. A one-year course of study leading to the Master of International Public Policy (M.I.P.P.) degree serves mid-career professionals in government and business from the United States and foreign countries.

Approximately 190 students study at the Bologna Center in Italy while about 140 students attend the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in China.

SAIS also houses more than a dozen research centers that endeavor to combine intellectual rigor and policy relevance through research, publications and seminars, offering insights into the interplay among the political, diplomatic and analytical worlds.

The current dean of SAIS is Vali R. Nasr, a Middle East scholar, foreign policy adviser and commentator on international relations. Click here to view biographies of SAIS’s senior leadership.

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