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UH Manoa Core Requirements

Foundations Requirements

Diversification Requirements


UH Manoa Graduation Requirements

Focus Requirements

Hawaiian or Second Language (HSL)


Undergraduate Advising Offices

UH Manoa Graduation Requirements

3. Focus Requirements

The Focus requirements identify important additional skills and knowledge necessary for living and working in diverse communities. Courses fulfilling Focus requirements are offered in departments across the curriculum and vary each semester. To meet a Focus requirement, a course must have official UH Manoa Focus designation during the semester in which it is taken. Courses taken outside the UH System cannot be used to fulfill Focus requirements. Instead, non-system transfer students’ Focus requirements are adjusted according to the number of credit hours awarded by UH Manoa for non-System courses.

  • Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Issues (H or HAP): 1 course

These courses focus on issues in Hawaiian and Asian or Pacific cultures and history; they promote cross-cultural understanding between nations and cultures.

  • Contemporary Ethical Issues (E or ETH): 1 course

These courses involve significant readings on and discussion of contemporary ethical issues; they give students tools for the development of responsible ethical judgments.

  • Oral Communication (O or OC): 1 course

These courses provide students with training in oral delivery and give them the opportunity to do individual and/or group oral reports.

  • Writing Intensive (W or WI): 5 courses, including at least 2 numbered at the 300- or 400-level

These courses collectively help students both to learn course content and to communicate through writing. Small writing-intensive classes, in which instructors work with students on writing related to course topics, are offered in nearly all departments.

Note: Students are strongly encouraged to satisfy the Foundations-Written Communication (FW) requirement before they enroll in writing-intensive courses.

Focus Courses

Focus courses are not shown in this Catalog, but appear in each semester’s Schedule of Classes (as H, E, O, and W) and on the UH Manoa Registration Homepage (as HAP, ETH, OC, and WI). Because the approved Focus courses change each semester, students should consult the UH Manoa Registration Homepage’s up-to-date online course listing each semester before they register.

Focus Requirements for non-UH System Transfer Students

Students who transfer from a non-UH System institution may have adjusted (“pro-rated”) Focus requirements. The adjustment is based on the number of non-UH transfer credit hours accepted when a student is admitted to UH Manoa.

  Focus Requirement
Number of accepted credits hours: W H E O
0-36 5* 1 1 1
37-54 4* 1 1 1
55-88 3* 1 1-E or 1-O
89+ 2* 1 0 0

*including at least two “W” courses numbered at the 300- or 400- level.

Focus Requirements for UH System Transfer Students

Students who enter the UH System in Fall 2011 and thereafter must meet all of the Focus requirements. Students who entered the UH System from spring 2005 through spring 2011 must meet requirements given in the table below. Students who entered UH prior to Spring 2005 should check with a UH Manoa college/school advisor to determine their Focus requirements. Depending on the number of UH transfer credit hours accepted, E and O requirements for transfer students may be reduced. The W and H requirements are not affected, since students may transfer approved UH System courses to help them satisfy the W and H Focus requirements.

  Focus Requirement
Number of accepted UH credits hours: W* H E O
0-54 5 1 1 1
55-88 5 1 1-E or 1-O
89+ 5 1 0 0

*at least two “W” courses must be numbered at the 300- or 400- level.

Exemption from a Focus Requirement

Students who engaged in an extraordinary educational experience that took place outside of the ordinary university curriculum may request a one-course exemption from a Focus requirement that is directly related to that educational experience. To request an exemption, students must demonstrate to the General Education Committee that the experience was extraordinary and educational and fulfilled the goals of the Focus area. If approved, the exemption reduces the number of courses required for the appropriate Focus requirement; however, it does not reduce the total number of credit hours needed to graduate. Students are limited to one exemption. Restrictions apply. For information, students should consult a college/school academic advisor and visit www.hawaii.edu/gened/focus_exemption.htm.