Diplomacy and World Affairs


DWA is Occidental College's nationally recognized International Relations (IR) major. This innovative department grounds students in IR 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.


DWA students are strongly encouraged to participate in study and research programs abroad and on Occidental's 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


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.

Major Requirements

The DWA major completes six core courses (24 units), a language requirement, and at least four more courses 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

One DWA course at the 300-level

4 units

DWA 490Senior Seminar

4 units

ECON 101Principles of Economics I

4 units


Students must complete the equivalent of four college semesters of one language (202), or two college semesters each of two languages (102).

Additional Electives:

Four additional classes numbered 200 or higher in International Affairs at the College. At least two of these courses must be in DWA. 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.


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.


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.


Qualified majors may achieve Departmental Honors at graduation through maintenance of 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 (Honors). Those interested should see the Honors Program and consult the department chair for details, preferably in the junior year.


Diplomacy and World Affairs Courses


Regular Faculty

Lan T. Chu, chair

Associate Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs; Affiliated Faculty, Latino/a and Latin American Studies

B.A., M.A., New York University; Ph.D., George Washington University

Phillip M. Ayoub

Associate Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., University of Washington; M.A., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Ph.D., Cornell University

Anthony Tirado Chase

Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz; M.A.L.S., Columbia University; M.A.L.D., Ph.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Sophal Ear

Associate Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., M.S., M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; M.P.A. Princeton University

Laura Hebert

Associate Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; M.A., University of Oregon; Ph.D., University of Denver

Movindri Reddy

Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., University of Natal; M.A., Ph.D., Cambridge University

Derek Shearer

Stuart Chevalier Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., Yale University; Ph.D., The Union Graduate School

On Special Appointment

Mariano Bertucci

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., Universidad de San Andrés, Buenos Aires; M.A., University of Denver; Ph.D., University of Southern California

Youssef Chouhoud

Part-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., M.A., Lehigh University; Ph.D., University of Southern California

Juvenal Cortes

Full-Time Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D., University of Southern California

Jacques Fomerand

Assistant Director, Occidental-and-the-U.N. program; Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., Lycée Janson de Sailly; M.A., Diplôme de I’Institut d’Études Politiques; Ph.D., City University of New York

Douglas Gardner

Director, Occidental-and-the-U.N. program; Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., Denison University; M.A., Thunderbird School of International Management

Sherry Simpson Dean

Non-Tenure Track Instructor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.S., Boston University