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General Education

UH Manoa Core Requirements

Foundations Requirements

Diversification Requirements

UH Manoa Graduation Requirements

Focus Requirements

Hawaiian or Second Language (HSL)

Optional Wild Card

UH Manoa Graduation Requirements

Hawaiian or Second Language Requirement

Knowledge of a second language increases the student’s ability to understand other people; it encourages deeper awareness of the structure of language and its relation to thought, develops sensitivity to other ways of ordering personal experience and social institutions, provides a direct way of comparing another culture to one’s own, and provides greater insight into the workings of one’s native language.


Before graduation, students must show competence at the 202 (or equivalent) level in Hawaiian or a second language by doing one of the following:

(a) Completing a four-semester sequence (usually 101, 102, 201, and 202) in a single language.

(b) Demonstrating competence by taking a UH Manoa exam if one is offered. Check with the language department in question.

(c) Receiving a language-requirement waiver. For example, waivers may be given to students who are native speakers of a language other than English. Contact the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature for details.

The Hawaiian or Second Language requirement has been modified or waived for students in the following schools and colleges: College of Business Administration; College of Education; College of Engineering; School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene; School of Ocean, Earth Science, and Technology; College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Students in these colleges/schools should consult a college advisor.

Students should be aware that changing their major may change their Hawaiian or Second Language requirement. A list of majors and their respective college/school can be found in the “Degrees” section.

Credits for Previous Language Experience

All students (including native speakers of a language) under the current General Education requirements with experience in a language other than English may earn “back credits.” These students may take any UH course, appropriate to their level, in which there is significant use of that language. (Appropriate level determined by placement exam or advisor; significant use determined by the instructor.) Upon completion of this course, if students earn a letter grade of C (not C-) or better, they will receive between 3-16 back credits.

Back credits may be earned for only one language. The student must take the course for a letter grade (not credit/no credit). Other restrictions also apply. Check with the appropriate language department for details and forms.

Four-semester Sequences Offered in these Languages

Arabic, Burmese, Cambodian, Cantonese, Chamorro, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Ilokano, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Latin, Mandarin, Maori, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Sanskrit, Spanish, Tahitian, Thai, Tongan, Vietnamese.

Some language courses are not offered regularly and this is noted in the course description section of this Catalog.

Besides the approved courses listed above, American Sign Language also fulfills the language requirement.

Courses in American Sign Language are not offered at UH Manoa, but the campus will consider students who complete American Sign Language to the second level of study as having met UH Manoa’s Hawaiian or Second Language requirement.