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International School of Economics In Tbilisi State University


The International School of Economics was founded at Tbilisi State University in 2006, through a unique collaborative effort of the World Bank, BP, Open Society Institute, the governments of Georgia, Germany, Sweden and Norway. 

ISET offers a two-year Master's Program in Economics, serving Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The program adheres to international academic standards with English language instruction by visiting and resident international Ph.D. faculty. Of more than 100 graduates to date, more than one third occupy analytical positions with economic policy agencies in all three countries of the South Caucasus region. About 10% continue their education in the most prestigious Ph.D. programs in Europe and North America, such as Stanford, Chicago and Pennsylvania Universities. 

ISET Policy Institute  was established in May 2011 to complement the educational mission of ISET. ISET-PI provides independent policy research and training, and reaches out to the broader academic, policy and business communities in the South Caucasus. It is one of the first university-based think-tanks in the region, supported from inception by the Open Society Institute’s Think Tank Fund. ISET-PI is also a member of the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE) network.

ISET was created in response to a letter from Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania - just three weeks before his tragic death - to the World Bank President James Wolfensohn, in which he appealed for help in "creating our own capability to train young economists in modern economics as it is taught all over the world and to conduct economics research here in Georgia."

Initial input from the World Bank and ongoing support from the Government of Georgia, Government of Germany and Tbilisi State University in cooperation with an international group of donors including BP, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Open Society Institute Higher Education Support Program, and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), have made Zhvania's dream a reality. The International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET) opened its doors to students in 2006 to offer the first world class Master's Program in Economics in the South Caucasus.

Basic Facts:

International quality Master's Program in Economics. Two year English-language curriculum. Regional mandate (South Caucasus);

100 graduates (10% currently in such PhD programs as Stanford, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Washington Universities in US, University of Toulouse and Centre for Operation Research and Econometrics at the Catholic University of Louvain, in Western Europe); 

Facilities & Working Environment 

ISET's seven-floor building is located on Zandukeli Street, in the charming Vera neighborhood, in the center of Tbilisi. The building is open to ISETers every day of the week, round-the-clock. At any hour of the day or night, students can be found working in the state-of-the art computer labs, classrooms, and library to prepare for exams, complete problem sets, or do their own research.

State-of-the-art classrooms provide PowerPoint and Internet capabilities for lectures, and smaller  rooms are available for seminars and recitation sessions.

ISET's library holds one of the best modern economics collection in the South Caucasus region. It provides electronic access to thousands of economics, business and social science journals, data, monographs and modern economics reference materials.

Two computer labs provide workstations with standard software packages as well as specialized programs for statistics and Internet access.

Individual faculty offices provide ISET professors with a place to do their research, prepare for classes, and meet with individual students. Office space is also available for teaching assistants.

The ISET Conference Hall provides outstanding A/V, simultaneous translation and videoconferencing capability for public lectures, conferences, and workshops.

ISET Policy Institute is located on third floor of the building. It houses the ISET-PI secretariat and provides individual office space for its research fellows and staff.

The Guest House on the seventh floor of the building provides four luxurious suites for visiting faculty and guests. A cozy faculty lounge serves as a common dining room and entertainment center. 

Student Lounge is a space dedicated for fun activities, including ping-pong, chess, TV & cinema, etc. 

The Gym facility is available for all ISETers and even guests to make sure that their bodies are as fit as their beautiful minds. 

The ISET Cafeteria serves ISET students, staff and faculty, and provides catering services for hosted events. 

ISET Library

The ISET library holds the best modern economics collection in the South Caucasus region.  

The library provides electronic access to thousands of economics, business and social science journals, as well as hard copies of modern economics reference materials.

Through collaboration with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, ISET serves as a repository for reports and publications of these organizations. The library is also home to the donated collection of late Princeton University economics professor Robert E. Kuenne, and the social science collection of the Caucasus Research and Resource Centers.

The library is open to the public 10:00-21:00, including Saturday. It provides a quiet reading room, multiple workstations and free Wi-Fi access to the internet.  

Koha is Electronic Catalog providing online access (from within ISET’s computer network) to bibliographic information on thousands of books, journals and other publications included in the ISET library Readers can search the catalog using keywords, reserve library materials that are currently on loan, and review their library status. 

MA in Economics

ISET's MA program in Economics was launched in fall 2006 as a graduate program at Tbilisi State University, serving the entire South Caucasus region. The program takes students through a challenging two year curriculum, comparable in content and quality to the first two years of study in reputable Ph.D. programs in North America and Western Europe. All courses are taught in English by highly-qualified international faculty. 

Each year, ISET enrolls up to 60 students from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and other countries of the region. ISET graduates are working as economists in the private sector, National Banks, Ministries of Finance and Economic Development, international organizations and think tanks. Many are already teaching at other universities in the region. Many of our best graduates have entered Ph.D. programs in top universities in Northern America and Western Europe. ISET and the ISET Policy Institute itself hire academically-minded graduates to work closely with our faculty on teaching and research projects. 

The program of study includes a major research component. During the second year of studies, students participate in research projects, and write a Master's thesis with the support of resident and visiting faculty. 

Graduates receive a Master of Arts in Economics diploma from the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University. ISET is recognized by The World Bank as one of five "centers of excellence" in economics education and research in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. 


The ISET Master's Program combines both theoretical and applied courses in all major areas of economics.

Tuition & Financial Aid

ISET is able to provide scholarships, educational loans, living stipends and housing support.

Rules & Regulations

The ISET Faculty and Student Handbooks and Orientation Guide outlines the policies and procedures that have been established to further ISET's academic mission.

International recognition

Students earn three European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits for each course consisting of 21 hours of instruction. 120 credits are required to complete the MA.  The ECTS credit system facilitates recognition of the degree internationally. Additional coursework in Academic Writing/English and Professional Skills is also required. 

ISET uses the U.S. grading system (A-B-C-D-F).

Class Schedule

Each course consists of 14 lectures, typically delivered twice a week, for seven weeks. The last week of each mini-term is used for review sessions and exams. Each class (lecture) normally lasts 1 hour 30 minutes. Additional or longer lectures or recitation may be offered by course instructors and TAs in coordination with the Academic Affairs Office.

Elective Course Offerings

Topics in Macroeconomics  

Economic Growth 

Environmental Economics 

Principles of Finance 

Time Series Analysis I  

Economics of Energy Markets

Agricultural Economics

Program Evaluation

Open Economy Macro I

Labor Economics I

Time Series Analysis II

International Trade

Advanced Mathematics I

Advanced Econometrics

Topics in Game Theory

Health Economics

Environmental Economics

 Resource Economics

Public Economics

Transition Economics

Labor Economics II

Mechanism Design

Advanced Finance

Industrial Organization

Advanced Mathematics II

Open Economy Macro II

Trade Policy

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Economics Development

 Reasons to Study at ISET

ISET is now accepting online applications for admission to the MA Program in Economics in the 2013-2014 academic year. The deadline for application for admission in 2013-2014 academic year is 1pm, May 1, 2013, Tbilisi time.

1. International Faculty

ISET faculty is truly international, with faculty members from the US, Germany, Italy, Israel and other countries. All faculty members hold PhDs from leading Western universities such as the University of Pennsylvania, George Washington University and Columbia University.

During your time at ISET you will meet professors such as Florian Biermann, a German national with a PhD from Hebrew University. He specializes in Game Theory and Matching Theory, and as other faculty members, publishes his research in international journals and presents at international conferences. Learn More...

2. International Visitors

International visitors are an integral part of the ISET MA program. Visiting faculty from the world’s leading universities teach courses, supervise student research and support students in their applications to PhD programs abroad.

One of our regular visitors, Motty Perry, is an esteemed professor at the University of Warwick and the Hebrew University. A PhD graduate of Princeton University, Motty Perry has a distinguished career and held positions at the University of Chicago, Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is a fellow of the Econometric Society, and with publications in leading economics journals, is a world-leading expert on Game Theory and Mechanism Design. He visits ISET several times a year, teaches a course, advises students and supports their applications to PhD programs abroad.

3. Job Placements

Throughout the two years of study at ISET, faculty and administration help students with the nuts and bolts of securing jobs.  Many students go on to accept fulltime positions with the institutions where they completed internships. Additionally, many students make contacts with potential employers via ISET seminars and public lectures and go on to receive job offers from these organizations. Some of the top students stay on at ISET as research fellows at the ISET Policy Institute. Our graduates are placed in leading positions in the public and private sector in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Learn More...

4. PhD Placements 

Our best and brightest graduates go on to pursue Ph.D. programs at top universities in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. ISET graduates can be found in PhD programs at Stanford University, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, McGill University and the Toulouse School of Economics, among others. Coursework and research projects at ISET prepare students for demanding PhD programs. In addition ISET faculty and visitors actively support applications by providing letters of reference, preparatory training for GRE and TOEFL exams and by directly recommending particularly strong candidates to the admission commitees of PhD programs.

5. Student Life

Being a part of ISET is not only about studying in a reputable school, and achieving personal goals in the pursuit of a better future - but about understanding our role in a society as a whole, and the importance of giving back and caring about the common good. ISET students often get engaged in activities ranging from collection of donated clothing for refugee camps, to cleaning up and planting trees in national parks, rehabilitating tourist routes in nature reserves and taking pleasure spending time in nature.

6. Generous Scholarships

Thanks to the generosity of our international donors, we are able to provide students with scholarships. The best students receive Future Leader Scholarships that cover tuition and provide living stipends of up to $500 US. Other Scholarships are also available that partially cover tuition and living stipends. Students from outside Georgia are provided with living space in a shared apartment. Additionally, students from the outlying regions of Georgia may be eligible for a space in a shared ISET apartment or a small housing allowance to help defray the cost of apartment rental in the city. Special scholarships are available for all students from Armenia and Azerbaijan in good standing. These special scholarship allow students to study tuition free. 

7. Internships

In the summer, between the first and second year of study, ISET students participate in Internships in the public and private sectors at institutions such as The World Bank, government ministries, international organizations and central banks. 

Exceptional first-year students are eligible to apply for a 3 month internship with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.

8. Donors

ISET has the generous support of international donors and governments, which provide a strong financial backing that guarantees the continuity of the school.

Our donors include  BP, CERGE-EI Foundation, Governments of Georgia and Germany, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, OSI, Sida, USAID and the World Bank. Other international donors such as the Volkswagen Foundation, USAID or the Asian Development Bank support research projects implemented at the ISET Policy Institute. 

9. Modern Facilities

ISET has modern facilities including a library, computer labs and a student lounge. The ISET library is based on the private library by Princeton University Professor Robert E. Kuenne, whose late wife donated the library to ISET. The library offers a large collection of modern English language textbooks, online databases for journals and statistical data and modern reading rooms. Our classrooms are equipped with modern instructional equipment, and wireless network is available throughout the building.

10. Research and ISET-PI

ISET faculty and students are involved in cutting edge research, published in international Journals and presented at international conferences, in all areas of economics from Game Theory over Labor Economics to International Trade. Both faculty and researchers at the ISET Policy Institute are active in applied research projects related to the economic policy questions faced by the countries of the South Caucasus. Students actively participate in research, as research assistants or research fellows in projects, or independently when completing their master thesis under the supervision of a faculty member or visiting faculty.

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Hostel facility for students is also available. These facilities are made available as per the requirement of the students. Accommodation for students is very comfortable and upto the European life stands.

It is our great pleasure to announce to students that we have started to accept Applications for 2018 session Academic year for Undergraduate, Master and Preparatory Medium. To apply fill in our Online Application form on our website and send clear scanned copies of your credentials. We enable you to pick the program of your choice and you are guaranteed to get an admission in any of the National universities that offer your chosen course.

Types of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Georgia.

1) University – bachelor, master and doctoral programs  
2) Teaching university – bachelor and master programs
3) Colleges – bachelor and higher professional education programs

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