Friday, April 3, 2020

Energy, Sustainability Studies Fuel Job Opportunities for Grads


Graduates of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies have been branching out into employment sectors beyond their traditional targets. In addition to filling positions in government and at foreign policy–related think tanks, Johns Hopkins SAIS graduates are increasingly drawn to the energy and sustainability sectors.

“There is more diversity in this field than there was a few years ago,” says Julie Nussdorfer, associate director of global careers at Johns Hopkins SAIS. “Energy resources, the environment, electricity markets—it is a big field right now. There are a lot more options in the renewable energy industry than there were two years ago, as renewables become more financially viable and people are looking for more sustainable options. At the same time, the oil-and-gas space continues to grow.”

“Our goal is for our students to leave the school and work in a field they are really passionate about.” –Julie Nussdorfer, Associate Director of Global Careers, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
The Energy, Resources, and Environment career track at Johns Hopkins SAIS prepares students to address complex issues in the energy sector, from decarbonization to increased energy demand to urban sustainability. And SAIS offers various other career tracks as well—for those interested in economics and finance, conflict management, strategic studies, energy, and international development, for example—to give students an edge in the job market. According to Nussdorfer, employers seek out candidates with specialized knowledge and expertise who are “engaged in cutting-edge research.”
The school’s main campus is in Washington, DC, but students are exposed to potential employers and industries around the country and internationally through Johns Hopkins SAIS’s global career “treks.” During the treks, groups of students visit employers in their target industry, in cities such as Hong Kong, San Francisco, Houston, London, and Rome.

A solid alumni network also prepares students for their careers, by mentoring them one-on-one, connecting them with accomplished colleagues across sectors, and helping them come up with their perfect elevator pitch.
Johns Hopkins SAIS uses the Life Designing Model, implemented throughout the university, to guide students’ career exploration. Pioneered at Stanford University, the model makes career planning an integral part of the school, so that it is not confined to a career counseling office. “With this model, we are helping students find jobs that really inspire them,” Nussdorfer says. “Our goal is for our students to leave the school and work in a field they are really passionate about.”

The majority of Johns Hopkins SAIS students pursue its Master of Arts degree, and 92 percent of 2019 MA graduates were employed or pursuing further studies six months after graduation. Forty-six percent work in the private sector, 19 percent in the public sector, and 18 percent at nonprofits.
Career ServicesJHU SAIS Global Careers:
ContactJohns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies:
SAIS Washington, DC:
SAIS Europe:
Hopkins-Nanjing Center:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Update

While the school continues to monitor and track the status of the COVID-19 outbreak, we wanted to reaffirm that our top priority remains the health and well-being of our community—including prospective students. We encourage you to read Johns Hopkins President Ron Daniels’ message and the accompanying JHU COVID-19 guidelines which provide details on the university’s plans to address this issue.   

There are important developments that will impact upcoming admissions activities that we wanted to share:
  • In-person classes and large gatherings and events have been cancelled at our Washington DC, SAIS Europe, and Hopkins-Nanjing campuses until further notice, and classes have transitioned to virtual instruction.  

  • There are no staff members physically working in our offices so on-campus Information Sessions, Preview Days, Taster Lectures and Open Office hours have been suspended for the foreseeable future, however, you can participate in virtual events which are located on our Admissions website.  
  • Admissions and Financial Aid team members are available via email to help you acquire the information you need to learn about our application process, scholarships, curriculum, students and faculty. We are also happy to hold Skype or Zoom sessions to speak with you personally, if you desire. 
Please do not hesitate to contact our team if you need anything.We look forward to hearing from you or having you join us for an upcoming virtual event.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Building Expertise on Africa Inside and Outside the Classroom

Mabel Alamu
MA '20
International Development 

Q: What encouraged you to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS?

A: I became interested in Johns Hopkins SAIS when two of my undergrad professors recommended the school to me because they knew I was interested in Economics and International Development, making Johns Hopkins SAIS the perfect fit for me. After researching on my own, I found that the school's area of focus on International Development is one of the strongest in the US. I was also attracted to this particular curriculum because of the practicum, which gives students the opportunity to work with real clients on the field in developing countries.

Q: What types of extracurricular activities have you been involved with as a student?

A: I have had the pleasure of serving as a club leader for the school's Africa Association Club, which aims to connect students of African descent and those interested in African affairs. Furthermore, it allows students to engage with leading policymakers and business leaders across the African continent. 

Q: Could you please tell us about opportunities you have had to build your network outside the classroom?

A: I have the opportunity to meet with leading public sector officials in Africa such as, the foreign minister of Mali, Kamissa Camara; 2019 Nigerian presidential candidates, Kingsley Moghalu and Oby Ezekwesili; and the leader of the Engagement for Citizenship and Development Party in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Martin Fayulu. 

Q: What do you hope to do with your degree after you graduate?

A: I am really interested in improving access and the quality of education and gender equality in Africa, especially in West Africa. Since attending Johns Hopkins SAIS, especially after taking the Principles of Evaluation course, I have become increasingly interested in the Monitoring and Evaluation field (M&E). With my degree, I would love to evaluate programs/interventions that target education and gender equality in Africa, and I would like to contribute to improving such programs.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Congratulations to those who have been admitted to Johns Hopkins SAIS!
For more information, please visit our website. We look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Student Life: The Johns Hopkins Survival Guide

After finishing my first semester at Johns Hopkins SAIS, I walked into the Office of Admissions ready to start my shift as a Student Ambassador. As a Student Ambassador, my job requires me to speak with prospective students and address their questions and concerns. When speaking to applicants, many expressed concerns regarding curriculum, adjustment to graduate life, what factors led me to select Johns Hopkins, and other related inquiries. Above all, many were relieved to speak to someone who had recently been in their shoes.

I love speaking with potential students, answering their questions that I pondered less than a year ago. It is something I attribute to paying it forward for the next entering class. But, doing so on this day prompted my curiosity. With the backdrop of speaking with prospective students and my own semester reflection, I thought: what did I wish I had known before coming to SAIS? What would have helped me to know before beginning classes here?

And this, the SAIS Survival Guide was born. In my reflections and speaking with some of my close friends, I arrived at five important aspects to consider before beginning SAIS. While this list is certainly not finite, it does provide an important look into the first semester of SAIS and some important things to consider throughout the Master of Arts (MA) program.

1. Imposter Syndrome Never Goes Away

Imposter Syndrome is a very real phenomenon that never goes away. Johns Hopkins SAIS attracts some of the most brilliant students from around the world; that’s simply the nature of the institution. I still bask in awe at some of the amazing accomplishments of my colleagues, but this can very easily spike one’s imposter syndrome. It is unfortunately in our nature to compare ourselves to those around us; something that social media only exacerbates. You may find yourself wondering, “if they accepted this person, why in the world did they decide to accept me?” And you are not alone. It happens to all of us and will likely continue for the remainder of your time at SAIS, perhaps henceforth throughout life.

That’s because you’re looking at it the wrong way.

Consider it from this perspective: we’ve already mentioned that SAIS brings together some of the greatest minds of our generation from incredibly different backgrounds. And contemplate, for a moment, what you can learn from being in an environment like this and, furthermore, what your unique vantage point will add to the conversation. SAIS is like a puzzle of many, but every piece is necessary. Your experiences are unique from your colleagues and your puzzle pieces are just as important as theirs.
Johns Hopkins SAIS saw something brilliant in you. They recognized your potential. Never allow yourself to forget that.

2. There will be times where you think you can’t do it – but you can.

Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty.” The same is true for graduate school. It is intentionally difficult to challenge you, refine you into becoming a master of what you are studying; literally and metaphorically. 
All things considered, it will be hard. Your first semester will most likely be the most difficult, as you adjust to a new schedule, new expectations, new housing situation, a new city, and new friends. Your reading list will be never-ending, as is the amount of assignments, papers, and social events. You will feel exhausted. You will be frustrated. You will doubt yourself. You will question whether it is even worth your stress. You will wonder why you are doing this, but the end result is worth it and you can do it.
It never gets easier, you just get better.

3. Do ALL the things! But, stay true to yourself and your goals.

I say this jokingly, but I genuinely mean it. Get involved in every. single. thing you can. Join clubs at SAIS, attend guest lectures held on campus, go to talks at nearby institutions like Brookings or the CSIS, go on career treks with your classmates, the list of opportunities is incredibly expansive. But, be honest with yourself and your goals through it all. If you try and go to everything, you might become more lost and more burnt-out than before. Stay true to yourself through it all and follow whatever you feel passionate about.
Sure, you will not be able to attend everything because there are only 24 hours in a day. But, making time for the events you really care about is drastically important. This expands your knowledge, allows you to network in the field, and gives you a much-needed break from studying.

4. Your corner is critically important – take advantage of it!

In every boxing match, each boxer is given a “corner” where their trainers will provide help and encouragement. Grad school is similar in that those who surround you will assist by encouraging you when it is needed most.

Let’s revisit the earlier statement about the wonderful students at SAIS causing your imposter syndrome. Networking with your colleagues is just as crucial as networking outside your courses. By nature, I am very social and a great networker. However, I know that not everyone is like that. In fact, I was surprised at SAIS to find how many of my colleagues were not actively networking within SAIS. In fact, a few I met had not met many of their fellow classmates.
But, your fellow SAIS-ers are invaluable members of your corner. They will give you advice, help edit your papers, supply notes when you miss class, and pick you up when you are feeling down. Most importantly, your classmates, more than anyone else, understand what you are going through and can relate to your anxiety and frustrations. Their stress level is just as high as yours, but they will not hesitate to give you a pep talk when its needed.
I have, on numerous occasions, been astounded by how supportive my fellow SAIS students are. Never be afraid to turn to them whenever you need it because they will always have your back.

5. Expanding your knowledge is more important than grades.

This one is a difficult realization for me. I am a perfectionist and, by nature, do not like getting anything less than an A. Many first-year students at SAIS are unsurprisingly the same way.
However, venturing outside your comfort zone is the best way to expand your knowledge and grow exponentially. Taking a course like this may result in a B, but I contend the B is worth it without a doubt. Why? Gaining the most out of your SAIS experience is drastically more important than the grades you earn while here.
It is still challenging for me to accept, even though I know it is true. Push your limits and it can teach you what you are made of.
“Smooth sailing never made for a good sailor.”

As I mentioned, this is in no way a complete list. However, these are some of the most important aspects to keep in mind as you attend SAIS.

About the Student Blogger:                                                                                           
Chase Kelly
(MA, International Relations)
Chase Kelly is a first-year Master of Arts Candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Orginally from Tifton, GA, Chase aims to pursue a career in either diplomacy journalism after SAIS. In his spare time, Chase is an avid writer and reader, live music lover, and car enthusiast.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Winter 2019-2020: Information Session and Coffee Chats

Virtual Information Session - Q&A For Regular Decision
Coffee Chats:

  • December 27, 2019 at 10:30am: Chicago, IL
  • December 27, 2019 at 2:00pm: Washington, DC
  • December 28, 2019 at 3:30pm: Ann Arbor, MI
  • December 29, 2019 at 10:30am: Burlington, NC
  • January 4, 2020 at 4:30pm: Tel Aviv, Israel
  • January 4, 2020 at 1:00pm: Bangkok, Thailand
  • January 9, 2020 at 10:30am: Beijing, China
  • January 10, 2020 at 10:30am: Washington, DC

    Monday, November 25, 2019

    2020 Admissions Guideline: Application fee waiver

    Did you know that you might be eligible for an application fee waiver? Not a lot of applicants realize that if they are/were part of a certain professional development program, they can receive a fee waiver.

    These are the following professional development programs:
    • Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship
    • Public Policy in International Affairs (PPIA)
    • McNair Scholars Program
    • Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program
    • Teach for America
    • Teach for China
    • Fullbright (those currently on fellowship)
    • Peace Corps

    Are you eligible? If so, here are the steps to make sure that you get your fee waived.

    1. In the online application form, select the option to pay by check.
    2. Submit any official documents confirming your participation in the appropriate program by sending it to our email at
    3. Once we receive your documents, our office will waive the fee.

    For students applying to SAIS Europe, the application fee is waived.

    Have a question? Send us an email or call us at (202) 663-5700.

    Thursday, November 21, 2019

    2020 Admissions Guideline: Transcripts

    We get a lot of questions in the Admissions Office about transcripts: where to send them, what formats we accept, if we require translations and/or evaluations, etc. Here are some answers to those questions.

    What does “official transcripts” mean?

    An official transcript is issued to Johns Hopkins SAIS from the college, either electronically (via a service such as eScrip) or in hard copy (paper).  To make the process quicker, we prefer receiving transcripts electronically from your school; however, if you decide to take the paper route, you can (and should) request that the school send the transcript directly to Johns Hopkins SAIS.  If you choose to deliver the transcript to our office yourself, it still needs to be sealed in the original envelope, with your college registrar’s stamp over the seal.

    Can I submit unofficial transcripts?

    Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts as part of the application process, but will be required to submit official copies prior to enrollment. 

    Where do I send my transcript?

    Transcripts in hard copy should be sent to the Office of Admissions in Washington, D.C.: 

    Johns Hopkins SAIS 
    Office of Admissions 
    1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW 
    Washington, D.C. 20036 

    Transcripts in electronic copy should be sent to

    What does “all college-level coursework” mean? Isn’t my degree-granting transcript enough?  

    Most students have at least a few transfer credits on their undergraduate transcript for various reasons, ranging from study abroad to summer programs to switching schools.  You will need to submit transcripts for ALL of your coursework.  We want to see how you’ve done in all your coursework–not just some of the schoolwork.
    If they list the course titles AND grades for all transferred credits on your degree-granting transcript, then you don’t need any additional paperwork.  If they don’t, ask if they have copies of the other school’s transcript in your files and ask them to include copies with your degree-granting transcript. 
    If neither of these options works for you, you’ll need to contact multiple schools to request all the transcripts you need.  Additionally, if you’ve taken any additional coursework post-graduation (for credit) you’ll need to supply those transcripts as well.

    What about international transcripts?  

    • What if I received my bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution and I completed a semester or two abroad?

    The first thing you need to do is check your undergraduate transcript and see how the courses are recorded. We need to see both the courses and the grades listed on your transcript. If the transcript lists both, then you’re covered and you won’t need to do anything else. However, if your school only lists the courses as transfer credits, you’ll need to provide an official copy of your study abroad transcript.
    This is easier than you might think. Any U.S. school that accepted study abroad credits will have an official copy of your study abroad transcript in your student file; all you have to do is ask them to send a copy of it to the SAIS Admissions Office and you’re ready to go.

    • What if I received my bachelor’s degree from a non-U.S. institution?

    First, you’ll need to determine if your school will issue a transcript in English. Many international institutions are prepared to do so; if your school is an international institution, you’ll need to acquire an English-language copy in a sealed envelope (don’t open it!) and forward it to our office.

    If your school does not provide transcripts in English, you are asked to provide an official translation of the entire transcript and an explanation of the grading system of the university. You are strongly encouraged to use a credential evaluation service, particularly if you are not sure of how to obtain original transcripts or face difficulties obtaining them. See the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services for a list of providers. Transcripts and translations must be received by the Johns Hopkins SAIS Office of Admissions before the relevant deadline, so please make any requests well in advance.

    • What if I took non-credit language courses abroad?
    SAIS doesn’t require official transcripts for non-credit language courses, so you don’t need to submit these transcripts - you can indicate language experiences on your application and your resume. If you want to send us photocopies/scanned copies as proof of these courses, you’re certainly welcome to do so, but we don’t require them.

    Monday, November 18, 2019

    2020 Admissions Guideline: Letters of Recommendation

    Here are some helpful answers to FAQs about letters of recommendation. Make sure you get a head start on these!

    How many letters of recommendation do I need?

    The Johns Hopkins SAIS application process requires two (2) letters of recommendation, but you can submit up to three letters of recommendation. It's up to you if you decide to submit 2 or 3.  Personally, I always think it's good to ask for 3 just in case one person forgets to submit a letter on time. The last thing you want is to stress over a missing letter even though you completed the application on time.

    How do I submit my letters of recommendation?

    All letters of recommendation are submitted electronically in our application portal. Having it submitted electronically instead of by snail mail makes it easier for our office, you, and the person writing your letter. Once you start working on your application, you can fill out the contact section for your referrals, and we will send them a link to where they can submit your letters.

    Who should I ask for my letters of recommendation? 

    Should they be professional, academic, or one of each? We don't have a preference for one type over another.  Rather than acquiring specific types of recommendations, you should look to solicit letters of recommendations from individuals who can best speak to your suitability as an international relations professional.  For those who have been out of school for a few years, that may mean all your recommendations are professional.  If you're younger, that might mean all your recommendations are academic in nature. That's okay. Just make sure you ask someone who can really speak well about your strengths for the program.

    How should I ask for a letter of recommendation?

    When you approach someone about writing a recommendation letter for you, make sure they know about the program.  Be prepared to tell them why Johns Hopkins SAIS interests you, and why it's a good fit for you.  If you want them to focus on specific items in the recommendation, make sure they know.  If you haven't seen this individual in some time, you may want to spend some time catching up and letting them know what you've been doing lately and what you plan to do after graduate school.  I always think it's a good idea to give a copy of your resume/CV to help them use as a reference while writing your letter.

    You should also ask them well in advance.  You never know how many other people are asking them for letters of recommendation, and you need to give your recommender enough time to write a strong recommendation. Remember, they're doing you a favor, so make it a smooth process for them.

    Can it be in another language?

    Sadly, our office of Admissions does not speak every language in the world. Although this would be a nice skill to have, we ask that all letters of recommendation be in English. If your recommender does not speak English, he/she will need to get a translator, but we ask that your letters are in English.

    Will I be able to see the letter of recommendation?

    Unfortunately, you will not be able to see any of the letters since your recommender will submit it electronically through a separate link sent to them. However, you can see if they have submitted the letter through the application portal.

    What if I am done with my application and I am only missing the letter of recommendation?

    We strongly encourage students to get all of their documents ready prior to the deadline. If your referral did not write you a letter, you should reach out to them directly and send them a reminder. Chances are they might have forgotten in the midst of their other work, which happens. It wouldn't hurt to send a reminder, but make sure you're not overdoing it by sending them emails after email. Last case, find another person to write your letter.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to send us an email!

    Friday, November 8, 2019

    2020 Admissions Guideline: Analytical Essay

    The Analytical Essay topic is, to put it bluntly, pretty vague:
    Discuss an issue of national or international importance and its concern to you.
    Not surprisingly, we get a lot of questions about this: topic, format, word limit, etc. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive. 

    What is the format of this essay?

    There is no one format for writing this essay. Some applicants write op-ed style essays, others write their essay in the form of a policy memo, and some even write in the style of a mini research paper with citations. Think about which writing style can help best express your thoughts clearly. 

    Are citations required? 

    If the style of paper you choose to write calls for citations, then go for it; however, it is not required.

    Will citations contribute to my word count?

    No, it will not, but make sure you still remember to keep the 600 word limit in mind. Some of the most successful essays are the ones that are concise and clear.

    Does the topic need to be related to the concentration I indicate on my application?

    Not necessarily, but most applicants do choose to write on a relevant topic. Why is that? Because most applicants select an area that they already have some experience or knowledge about the topic. You should choose a subject matter that you're well-versed on; now is probably not the time to write about something new (to you).

    Basically, we intentionally left the topic vague because we want to assess how you choose to examine a topic that matters to you. It's going to tell us a lot about your perspective as a candidate and as a person. There's no right or wrong answer to this one. It's more about getting to know who you are as a student of international relations and future leader impacting the world.