Courses & Requirements

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2022-2023 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.

Diplomacy and World Affairs

Overview

Diplomacy and World Affairs (DWA) is Occidental College's nationally recognized International Relations major. This innovative department grounds students in international relations theory, security and human security, international organizations, economic development, and case studies regarding state-building, nationalism, religion, identity, and ethnic conflict. Recognizing the variety of academic connections that can inform the study of global politics, offerings in the Economics, History, Politics, Religious Studies, and Urban and Environmental Policy departments can be used by students to supplement the DWA major's core offerings.

The Chevalier Program in DWA was established in 1957 by the late Mrs. Stuart Chevalier to honor the memory of her husband, a distinguished lawyer and pioneer leader on behalf of the United Nations, who for 19 years served as a member of Occidental's Board of Trustees. The program is one of the few undergraduate interdisciplinary majors in international relations offered at a Liberal Arts institution such as Occidental.

Occidental-at-the-United Nations

DWA students are strongly encouraged to participate in study and research programs abroad and on Occidental's United Nations (UN) program in New York. Students interested in this rich array of opportunities should work with an advisor to plan their curriculum to include language and other prerequisite courses as early as possible.

Careers

Opportunities of interest to DWA graduates include service with U.S. government agencies, such as the Department of State and the Foreign Service, the Peace Corps, the Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as careers with the United Nations or one of its affiliated agencies, and in the non-governmental organization (NGO) community. Students also have an opportunity to prepare themselves for work in the general fields of international business and banking, law, journalism, or the academic world.

Requirements

Major

The DWA major completes six core courses (24 units), a language requirement, and at least 16 more credits in international relations, two of which must be DWA courses. 

Core Courses (24 units, 6 courses)

DWA 101International Relations: The Changing Rules of the Game

4 units

DWA 102International Organizations

4 units

DWA 103Introduction to Global Political Economy

4 units

ECON 101Principles of Economics I

4 units

One DWA course at the 300-level

4 units

DWA 490Senior Seminar

4 units

Additional Electives

Sixteen credits in international relations classes numbered 200 or higher.  At least 8 of these credits must be in in Diplomacy and World Affairs at the College. Department credit can be given for up to two courses in international relations from a different Occidental academic department, the United Nations Program, or from study abroad; off-campus courses must be approved by the department chair prior to departure.  

Language Proficiency

Students must complete the equivalent of four college semesters of one language (101, 102, 201 and 202), or two college semesters each of two languages (i.e. 101 and 102). Parts or all of the language requirement may be waived for international students or advanced speakers in any language other than English pending verification by a language professor. Please contact the DWA department chair for further clarification.

Honors in the Major

Qualified majors may achieve Honors by maintaining an overall grade point average of 3.25, with a 3.5 GPA in the major (inclusive of courses from all departments taken at Occidental that count toward fulfilling DWA major requirements; study abroad, language, and Oxy-at-the-U.N. courses do not count toward the major GPA); and through completion of the comprehensive requirement with a grade of Pass with Distinction. Those interested should consult the department chair for details, preferably in the junior year.

Second-Stage Writing Proficiency

Students majoring in Diplomacy and World Affairs will satisfy the Second-Stage Writing Proficiency requirement by taking one 300-level DWA junior seminar. These junior seminars will focus on preparing students for their Senior Comprehensive Project (DWA 490) and will include substantial writing assignments, including a literature review. In order to fulfill the Second-Stage writing requirement, students need to achieve an end-of-semester grade of C+ in the designated 300-level seminar. If a student does not pass the requirement the first time, they will be required to take and pass with a C+ an additional 300-level course. The department recommends that students complete this requirement by the end of their junior year; exceptions to this recommendation must be approved by the department chair.

Comprehensive Requirement

Seniors will complete DWA 490 as their comprehensive requirement in the spring of their senior year. There are two options within DWA 490:

  • Thesis: a 30-50-page thesis based on independent academic research.
  • Film/Documentary: Production of a documentary film that advances knowledge in the IR field. To undertake the documentary option, it is recommended that you complete MAC 242 or take a filmmaking course through the Art Center at Night Program.

Details on these options will be given to students during the spring of their junior year. Students must submit a proposal for the option they hope to pursue during the fall semester of their senior year for approval by the department.

Advising Information

Students interested in the DWA major are encouraged to take DWA 101 and ECON 101 during their first year. It is recommended that students register for DWA 102 soon thereafter, especially if interested in the Oxy-at-the-UN program. To fulfill the major’s language requirement, students must complete the equivalent of four college semesters of one language (202-level), or two college semesters each of two languages (102-level).

Placement Information

While there are no placement exams specifically required for the DWA major, students who have previously studied one or more non-English language offered at Occidental are encouraged to take the relevant language placement exams as early as possible.

Sample 4-Year Plan


Fall

Spring

Year 1

  • Fall FYS course

  • Core Requirement

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Language Course*

  • Spring FYS course

  • DWA 101

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Language Course*

Year 2

  • ECON 101

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Language Course*

  • DWA 102 (CPGC)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Language Course*

Year 3

  • DWA 103

  • DWA Elective

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • DWA Elective

  • 300-level DWA

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 4

  • DWA 490 (Senior Seminar)

  • DWA Elective

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • DWA Elective

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Curricular Notes

  • DWA 101 is a prerequisite for DWA 102.

  • DWA 101 and ECON 101 are both prerequisites for DWA 103.

  • DWA majors must complete the equivalent of four college semesters of one language (101, 102, 201 and 202), or two college semesters each of two languages (i.e. 101 and 102). Students with advanced proficiency in a non-English language may be able to complete this requirement in other ways. 

Transfer Credit Policies

The Diplomacy and World Affairs Department policy on transfer credit conforms to College policy. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for details. For the “Additional Electives” major requirement at most two courses will be accepted in transfer. The ECON 101 requirement for the Diplomacy and World Affairs major may be met through AP, IB, or A-level Economics. See the Economics Department section for details.

Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence
Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence

Courses

Diplomacy and World Affairs Courses