A joint degree between Georgetown University and Solvay Brussels School (ULB)
Why a degree in political economy?
You’re interested in the reciprocal relationship between politics and markets.
This requires a deep understanding of the behavior of non-market agents (such as legislatures, government agencies, judicial institutions, NGOs and activist groups, the media), and their interactions with traditional market agents (companies and consumers). Political economy develops systematic frameworks for understanding such behaviors and interactions. A key asset of the political economy toolbox is that it allows for a deep understanding of the determinants of public policy effectiveness both at the macroeconomic and microeconomic levels.
You’d like to understand how non-market agents influence the functioning of the market.
For instance, emission standards affect virtually all aspects of automobile design and manufacturing, and thereby the competitive advantages of automakers around the globe. Political economy provides the tools to understand elections, lobbying, information provision, and institutional specificities shape actual emission standards, which may thus differ from the socially optimal outcome.
As a corporate executive, you will understand how to approach the government and tackle the constraints they are facing. As a government agency, you will grasp how companies operate and how to design better regulation.
“The program taught me a new way to think about the intersection of public policy and economics. It forced me to dive deeper into the intersection of the two and changed my understanding of how, and often times why, certain policy decisions are made. It was an all around amazing experience and has helped me excel in my career – Alexandra Campana, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of President, Alumna
Why the joint master degree by Georgetown University & ULB-Solvay Brussels School?
The Brussels-Washington joint degree in Political Economy is an innovative one-year program combining the strengths of two internationally-renowned institutions. Upon successfully completing the program, each student will receive 2 degrees which will be presented side by side. Both documents will reference both degrees and will include the name of the other institution.
Learn from expert decision-makers in Europe and North-America and explore:
The specificities and differences between the approaches taken on each continent
Their impact in various geopolitically crucial regions around the world
The complex relationships with other actors within this global governance architecture
The objective of the program is to prepare the next generation of economists to rigorously analyze both the economics and the politics behind the key policy questions of the 21st century.
The focus on political economy reflects the view that evaluating and addressing global and local economic challenges also requires an understanding of the institutions and political settings in which such challenges arise.
The program aims at providing students with a balanced and attractive mix of solid theoretical knowledge and exposure to hands-on practice through the inclusion of both faculty and experts in the respective fields.
By the end of this Advanced Master, you will be able to:
Gain a firm understanding of the incentives and behavior of economic (consumers, firms) and political agents (legislatures, government agencies, judicial institutions, NGOs, activist groups, the media)
Explore the technological and political constraints that shape government interventions
Cultivate a deep understanding of the reciprocal relationship between politics and markets
Design better government regulations by the investigation of corporate stakeholders and their motivations
Cultivate a professional network of trainers, experts, consultants and policy-makers within the academic and alumni community of both institutions.
Georgetown University in Washington, DC and ULB-Solvay Brussels School are among the best educational institutions in their class in the United States and in Europe according to the Financial Times. Their Masters programs attract candidates from around world. The two institutions share a set of core values rooted in the collaboration between academics and practitioners to deliver a high-quality education.
Georgetown is located in the US capital, the seat of policy-makers and business leaders. World leaders regularly visit and students have the opportunity to meet and engage with those driving political, social, and economic events around the world. Students benefit from a wide array of opportunities at various international organizations, embassies and consulates, trade and consulting groups, and non-governmental institutions.
Located in the capital of EU, the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is strategically seated near the European Commission and NATO headquarters. Students have the opportunity to interact and participate in international business and policy in a cosmopolitan atmosphere where the active exchange of ideas and multicultural perspectives is intrinsic to student life. Access to summits, international corporations – even free French courses – fosters a student-practi-tioner dynamic supplementing this world-class education.
Advanced Masters alumni and students talk about their Solvay experience ↴
Upon successfully completing the program, each student will receive::
a “Masters of Arts in Political Economics” from Georgetown University
an “Advanced Master in Political Economy” university certificate delivered by Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management – Université libre de Bruxelles
which will bepresented side by side. Both documents will reference both degrees and will include the name of the other institution.
The Georgetown/Solvay (Advanced) Master in Political Economy seeks:
Highly-motivated students willing to take up global political and economic challenges
Students with an outstanding academic background, intellectual curiosity, and the discipline to succeed in a demanding environment
Above all, the Advanced Master in Political Economy is what you make of it. For me, it was an avenue into the industry I had found most interesting from day one of the program – Kyle Blocher, Community Solar group at Clearway Energy, Alumnus
Eligible applicants must satisfy the following requirements:
A 4-year BA (in continental Europe: 3-year BA + 1 or 2-year master) or MSc or equivalent degree.
Eligible degrees include, but are not limited to, Economics, Political Science, Statistics, and Mathematics.
Work experience is not necessary, but a 2+ year experience strengthens your application.
A solid background in economics and quantitative methods is a prerequisite.
An undergraduate degree in economics is not a requirement for admission to the Program. However, substantial coursework in economics is one factor that tends to strengthen an application for admission to the Program. Since economics is a highly quantitative subject, substantial coursework in mathematics, probability and statistics, and other quantitative subjects is another factor that will strengthen your application. At least two courses in calculus, as well as courses in intermediate microeconomics and intermediate macroeconomics, are specifically required for admission to the program.
Evidence of aptitude in quantitative disciplines such as quantitative GRE score.
Minimum GPA 3.0 on 4.0 (U.S.) scale where available.
TOEFL score of at least 100 IELTS score (7.0) also acceptable. The test is waived if a previous degree has been obtained at an English-speaking university.
Admissions will be based on the candidates’ academic and/or professional background, and motivation. Proficiency in English necessary.
“The blending of academic economics and practical applications was a theme present throughout the program, and it was but one of many attributes of the program that really stood out in letting me know that this Master was truly giving us a deep understanding of political economy” – John Gaffney, Alumnus
This full-time masters degree consists of 10 courses (equivalent to 60 ECTS in the EU and 30 credit hours in the US), split over threeterms and completed within 12months.
The program will kick off in Brussels with a preparatory non-credit bootcamp in mathematical methods in the second half of August. The objective of this course will be to fill any gaps in the student’s knowledge of basic mathematical techniques commonly used in economic analysis and applied statistics.
Students will take the core courses in macroeconomics, microeconomics, political economy and data analysis in the fall term in Brussels. Core courses are taught by faculty members of Georgetown University and Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management.
After the completion of the core courses, students will choose six elective courses (3 in the Spring term and 3 in the Summer term). Elective courses are jointly taught by a faculty member of one of the two institutions (SBS-EM in the Spring term and GU in the Summer term) and a policy expert or practitioner.
*Travel and accommodation costs of the optional student trip are to the charge of the participant.
The program boasts an unrivalled cast of highly-experienced practitioners and regulators shaping the evolution of economic policies around the world, and top-quality academics from Georgetown University and Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, including:
• David Burke (CBO)
• JulieCarey (NERA)
• Christophe Croux (EDHEC Business School)
• JonLanning (CFPB)
• Aniol Llorente-Saguer (Queen Mary University of London)
• AlexMarten (EPA)
• John Rogers (FRB)
• HoracioSapriza (FRB)
• PaulZimmerman (FTC)
• Paola Conconi (Université libre de Bruxelles) • TomásGarcíaAzcárate (Spanish National Research)
• GeorgKirchsteiger (Université libre de Bruxelles)
• Kai-Uwe Kuhn (University of East Anglia)
• AndréSapir (Université libre de Bruxelles)
• PhilippeWeil (Université libre de Bruxelles)
“The professors were incredible – never before have I had any professor who came remotely close to this level of concern for the students, with both professors highly receptive to feedback and taking considerable time to modify the course in response to the levels and preferred learning outcomes for the students.” – Political Economy Alumnus 2018
More about the Academic Directors
Micael Castanheira Academic co-Director of the Advanced Master (Solvay Brussels School)
Micael Castanheira is a senior research fellow with the Belgian National Science Foundation. He works at ECARES and is a professor at Solvay, where he also teaches microeconomics and political economics. His main research topics include the political economics of collective decisions, and of reforms. Micael is a contributor to leading scientific journals, such as Econometrica, The Journal of the European Economic Association, The Economic Journal, Games and Economic Behavior, International Economic Review, International Tax and Public Finance and the Journal of Public Economics. He is also a member of the scientific board of the Price Observatory of the Belgian government and the National Bank of Belgium, and has worked as an external expert for several companies and institutions (a.o. the World Bank, and the Bertelsmann Foundation)
Franco Peracchi Academic co-Director of the Advanced Master (Georgetown University)
Franco Peracchi is the Director of Masters Programs in Economics and a Professor of the Practice at Georgetown University. He is also a Fellow of the Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) in Rome, Italy. After receiving a MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the LSE, and a PhD in Economics from Princeton University, he taught at UCLA, NYU, Universidad Carlos III and the University of Rome Tor Vergata. His research interests include econometrics, labor and health economics, and the economics of social security and pensions. He is currently working on a variety of issues including long-term effects of growing up in wartime, cognitive decline among the elderly, distribution regression and approaches to model selection.
Graduates of this master can look forward to job opportunities with a faster advancement potential in a broad range of institutions and companies, including:
International institutions (EC, WTO, World Bank, IMF, OECD, NATO, ETC.)
Multinational enterprises (lobbying and consulting firms, investment banks)
Governmental institutions (regulatory agencies, central banks, foreign affairs)
Global NGOs & Think Tanks
Higher Education (through PHD programs)
“I wouldn’t have been able to obtain this job without this masters. Of course, the data analysis skills and understanding of micro/macroeconomics are directly relevant to my position. But perhaps more importantly, I think the uniqueness of this degree really set me apart as an applicant” – Adam Freedman, Bank Policy Institute, Alumnus.
In order to successfully grow in your working life and make the right choices for your career, it is fundamental to define your goals and have the tools to achieve them. The Solvay Brussels School’s career service will help you in building your career thanks to its strong connection with the business sector and acces to a wide network of alumni.
Two Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic)
GRE exam (GMAT not acceptable)
Official Transcripts (all prior institutions)
Minimum GPA 3.0 on 4.0 (U.S.) scale where available.
TOEFL score of at least 100 IELTS score (7.0) is also acceptable. The test is waived if a previous degree has been obtained at an English-speaking university.
Receive feedback on your eligibility or additional queries from the programme’s management team.
If feedback is positive, you will receive an official letter of admission from Georgetown University.
Please note that you will have two weeks to finalise your registration by paying a deposit of $2000.
Contact the program manager of Solvay Brussels School, who will assist you with the documents needed for your Belgian visa process.
Non-EU students: 31May 2019 (recommendation related to visa procedures)
EU students: 30 June 2019
Merit-Based Mobility Scholarships for EU students:
EU candidates applying before April 16th, 2019 can apply for one of two 2 mobility scholarships, worth 10.000$ each.
Decision on whether the scholarship is granted to the student or not comes from our Academic Committee after being admitted into the program.
These scholarships will be awarded by a jury who will base their decision on (1) your application essay, (2) your academic record and (3) on the date of your application. Therefore, early applications are encouraged.
Important: non EU-citizens should be aware that student visa procedures may take up to 3 months and therefore check the timing and conditions with their nearest Belgian Embassy or Consulates if they wish to apply after May 2019. Applications received after May 2019 will only be processed subject to such checks being made immediately.
Additionally, non-EU applicants must take into consideration that getting a student visa for Belgium implies the obligation to prove their sufficient and regular means of subsistence (€650 net/month in 2016-2017) or their sponsor’s. If they can’t, Solvay can support them if the applicant transfers the requested amount covering 9 months on a school deposit account (which will be redistributed on a monthly basis to the student as soon as a Belgian bank account has been created). For more information visit this link or contact the nearest Belgian embassy.
An international experience at the heart of global policy-making decision powers, with full immersion in both Washington DC, host of all US institutions and Brussels, capital of Europe and host of all European institutions.
Courses instructed by academics and practitioners who are leading specialists in their field.
On-site meetings that guide students through the inner-workings of international institutions, such as at the European Commission, the World Bank, the OECD, the IMF and various think tanks.
A combination of frontier training in formal and quantitative political economy, in addition to concrete policy cases.
Access to the wide and active alumni networks of Georgetown and Solvay.
For more information on Georgetown University please click here and on Solvay Brussels Schools please click here.
1) Why did you choose this Advanced Master in Political Economy? I had studied political science and economics separately in undergrad, and became really interested in where these two disciplines intersect. I knew that I wanted to accelerate my career by going to grad school, and I chose this program because it sounded the most intellectually stimulating and offered an intimate classroom setting with world renowned economics professors and policy practitioners. In addition, I knew that building out my statistical analysis and programming skills would be useful in getting my next job, and this program offered that.
2) Talking about your own experience, what have been the main benefits of this program? The main benefit of this program was being trained to “think” like a political economist. When I read about policy developments in the news or discuss them with peers, I naturally find myself applying economic concepts and arguments, all while understanding the politics at work and the institutional constraints. It’s an impressive skill set, one that will stay with you long after your final exams, papers, and projects.
3) Tell us about one of the courses and/or a professor who made a strong impression on you. What did you learn from it/him/her? John Rogers, who taught Open Economy Macroeconomics at GU and works at the Federal Reserve Board, went above and beyond to help students feel equipped as economic analysts. As an expert in his field, he truly wanted students to get as much out of the course as possible. He pushed me to understand complex economic papers and methodologies, while the homework assignments enabled me to build my programming skills.
4) What kind of key personal and professional skills do you feel you have acquired during this year? The intensiveness and broad scope of this degree instilled me with the tools to unpack complicated political and economic issues while being mindful of the different approaches in the US and Europe. I have also grown more comfortable facing a steep learning curve — whether that be a new programming application, an unfamiliar economic concept, or simply living in a foreign city. Though my French and Flemish pronunciations often failed, perhaps I grew the most by branching out and becoming friends with other international students who, like me, came to call Brussels a second home.
5) What is your job position? I got a job at the Bank Policy Institute, a trade association of leading banks operating in the US. They primarily do regulatory and legislative advocacy, although I’m working for their two PhD economists on the research team as a Research Analyst.
6) In which way was your master instrumental to obtain your current job? I wouldn’t have been able to obtain this job without this masters. Of course, the data analysis skills and understanding of micro/macroeconomics are directly relevant to my position. But perhaps more importantly, I think the uniqueness of this degree really set me apart as an applicant. People are simply curious as to what this dual degree is all about, and I’m eager to tell them.
7) Please describe your Solvay and Georgetown experience in one sentence. There are no more interesting places to study political economy than Washington D.C. and Brussels.
1) Why did you choose this Advanced Master in Political Economy? I chose this Master in Political Economy because it offered the unparalleled opportunity to study at the center of both European and American decision-making from professors who are the best in the field. I wanted to gain a deeper understanding about the interactions between economic theory and the political challenges facing our world today, and the program emphatically exceeded all expectations.
2) Talking about your own experience, what have been the main benefits of this program? The program ties the study of cutting-edge research and academic advancements to challenges facing society today, and the economic tools learned in class are always taught with tangible real-world applications. While the academic benefits are evident from the quality of the institutions and the professors, the cultural and personal benefits were also far vaster than I could have imagined – living on another continent for two semesters introduced me to new friends, experiences, and perspectives that have widely expanded my perception of the world in ways that a master’s program solely in America never could.
3) Tell us about one of the courses and/or a professor who made a strong impression on you. What did you learn from it/him/her? The course in Macroeconomics featured many of characteristics common throughout our classes that made the program so great – in the first half of the course, we learned theoretical models from a leading economic researcher that dealt with salient political issues affecting American and European governments, while the second half of the course was taught by an economist at the European Central Bank who was able to bring his expertise and experience working in the field to show us how economics is applied in practice. This blending of academic economics and practical applications was not unique to our Macro course – it was a theme present throughout the program, and it was but one of many attributes of the program that really stood out in letting me know that this Master was truly giving us a deep understanding of political economy.
4) What kind of key personal and professional skills do you feel you have acquired during this year? The Master in Political Economy gave me the academic confidence to take on any problem. The many tools learned from an education in political economy can by applied to solve a range of problems far larger than I would have known before this year, and I now feel prepared to analyze any issue – no matter how challenging – and use what I’ve learned to understand the dynamics at play and reach a solution that’s both feasible and practical. In addition, spending a year between Brussels and D.C. ensures that you’ll spend significant time immersed in a foreign culture, opening your world and expanding your horizons. For me, living in Belgium meant that I never stopped learning, even outside the classroom.
5) Please describe your Solvay and Georgetown experience in one sentence. Deciding to enroll in the Political Economy Master was the best decision of my life!
1) Why did you choose this Advanced Master in Political Economy? I chose this program because I knew it would provide me with the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. Although I had a variety of different programs to choose from, the international component really set this program apart. I felt that by getting a different perspective from European professors and combining that with a US experience, it would make me a more well-rounded Economist. Reflecting back on this decision it is clear that this program far exceeded that goal!
2) Talking about your own experience, what have been the main benefits of this program? I feel the primary benefit of this advanced master is the caliber of professors. This program contains both practitioners and academics who are at the top of their field and specialty. We learned from a variety of professors from top-level economists at the Fed and ECB to game theorists and political economists that are widely published and respected within the field. It is very rare that you are taught about theories and policies from professors who helped craft them and, in this program, you have that opportunity across many economic and political subjects. Also, not only were these professors engaging inside the classroom, they truly invested in the success of their students. I had many in-depth discussions during office hours about topics of interests and career opportunities. In fact, I still keep in contact with many of them today.
3) Tell us about one of the courses and/or a professor who made a strong impression on you. What did you learn from it/him/her? One of my favorite professors was Michele Lenza, who taught the monetary policy portion of our Macroeconomics class. He is currently one of the Heads of Monetary Policy research at the ECB and is a ULB alumni. I recall many engaging conversations with him about different monetary economic models and breaking ECB news. One of my favorite trips we took was to Frankfurt to attend lectures organized by Prof. Lenza, which included different ECB sections presenting their group’s recent research. The day culminated with our attending a lecture featuring Peter Praet, a member of the Executive Board of the ECB and fellow ULB alumni. Michele and I still keep in touch and I look forward to a possible stop in Frankfurt during my next trip to Europe to catch up with him.
4) What kind of key personal and professional skills do you feel you have acquired during this year? Often economic theory tends to take many assumptions for granted such as full information, operating in autarky, etc., however the real world rarely reflects these assumptions. This program takes the added step of giving students an understanding of outside forces that clean economic models ignore. I am now able to apply both a global perspective and an analytical approach that combines economic theory with real-world reality.
5) What is your job position? I currently work in Business Development and Strategy at Kobre & Kim, an international law firm specializing in financial fraud and misconduct. I act as an advisor to the legal teams regarding different market opportunities stemming from changes in legal, regulatory, and political environments. I believe that the international perspective and research skills I gained during this program enhanced my preparation for this role. I have brought to my current position many tools that I acquired from projects conducted throughout the program analyzing markets on both the macro and micro level. Most importantly, since much of this program focuses on confounding factors and their influence on economic theories in real life, I am able to apply this understanding to changes in markets and the impact of those changes across the globe.
6) In which way was your master instrumental to obtain your current job? Since my company operates internationally, the familiarity I have with global markets was a strong selling point. Even during my interviews, I was able to recall my experiences traveling throughout Europe and learning from professors from various backgrounds. Also, the Career Center at Georgetown helped me throughout the application and interview process, from editing cover letters to interview preparation.
7) Please describe your Solvay and Georgetown experience in one sentence. A learning opportunity both inside and outside the classroom that provided a unique and rewarding experience.
The program taught me a new way to think about the intersection of public policy and economics. It forced me to dive deeper into the intersection of the two and changed my understanding of how, and often times why, certain policy decisions are made. It was an all around amazing experience and has helped me excel in my career.
1) Why did you choose this Advanced Master in Political Economy? For me, the decision was simple. I chose the Master in Political Economy to gain the perspective that comes with studying the multi-faceted field of political economy in each of the two premier political capitals of the western world.
2) Talking about your own experience, what have been the main benefits of this program? By allowing me to examine familiar topics through multiple cultural and disciplinary lenses, the program provided a framework of analytical thinking which is widely applicable in nearly all facets of life. Also, I was able to visit twelve countries across Eurasia while based in Belgium, including program sponsored trips to the European Central Bank in Frankfort and OECD headquarters in Paris!
3) Tell us about one of the courses and/or a professor who made a strong impression on you. What did you learn from it/him/her? The microeconomics course which kicked the program off ended up setting the tone for the remainder of the year. Program director Dr. Micael Castanheira and behavioral economist Dr. Georg Kirchsteiger structured the course such that each student applied the concepts covered in the course to a specific industry of their choosing. This made it easy for me to fully engage with the subject matter and become all the more invested in my final work product. What’s more, Drs. Castanheira and Kirchsteiger were highly accessible and exceptionally invested in my and each of the other students’ success.
4) What kind of key personal and professional skills do you feel you have acquired during this year? Adaptability. In studying a diverse curriculum taught by numerous brilliant professors from two world-class institutions, I had the opportunity to study under a number of circumstances. By gaining such a wide range of experiences in just twelve months, I am now more adaptable to different environments such that I can take better advantage of new opportunities and respond to new challenges.
5) What is your job position? I am a Business Development Analyst in the Community Solar group at Clearway Energy, one of the largest renewable energy companies in the US.
6) In which way was your master instrumental to obtain your current job? As alluded to above, the microeconomics course which was offered out of the gate allowed me to gear my studies towards the electric power sector. I would go on to study energy and environmental economics and policy more deeply for the remainder of the program. Energy markets broadly, and the market for community solar specifically are incredibly unique in the economic and political forces at play. By allowing me to focus my studies in a deliberate way, the program enabled me to obtain a job which required industry-specific work experience which I lacked but made up for with the depth of knowledge I gained while at Solvay and Georgetown.
Above all, the Master in Political Economy is what you make of it. For me, it was an avenue into the industry I had found most interesting from day one of the program
7) Please describe your Solvay and Georgetown experience in one sentence. Truly unique!