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Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language

Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies

Ka Papa Lo‘i o Kanewai

Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies

2645 Dole Street
Kamakakuokalani 209A
Honolulu, HI 96822

Tel: (808) 973-0989
Fax: (808) 973-0988
Email: chsuhm@hawaii.edu
Web: manoa.hawaii.edu/hshk/index.php/site/acad_studies/en/


*I. H. Andrade, MFA (Director)—Native Hawaiian visual culture, customary practices and contemporary arts, museum studies
*R. P. H. Ka'aloa, MEd (Graduate Chair)—educational technology, distance education, Indigenous education
*C. L. Andrade, PhD—traditional navigation, Malama 'Âina: traditional resource management, indigenous geography, Hawaiian music
*J. Armitage, PhD—Hawaiian mythology, literature, nation building
*A. A. H. Drexel, MFA—Native Hawaiian visual culture, customary practices and contemporary arts, politics of "imaging," history, mythology, land tenure, cultural studies
*A. Freitas, MURP—Innovative educational initiatives and support in areas of student services, program development and strategic planning, grant writing, faculty/staff development, assessment and evaluation
*L. Kame'eleihiwa, PhD—Hawaiian mythology, history, land tenure, literature, genealogies, traditional navigation
*L. O. M. A. Keawe, PhD—comparative politics, indigenous studies; political "myths," rhetorical tropes-and "imaging," body politics of Kanaka Maoli identity and culture; educational administration, leadership, and mentoring
*J. Osorio, PhD—politics of identity in the Hawaiian kingdom, colonization in the Pacific, Hawaiian music
*W. K. Perry, JD—comparative politics, Hawaiian law
*E. K. Wright, PhD—Indigenous higher education, identity politics, and student affairs

Emeritus Faculty

H. Trask, PhD—native political movements in Hawai'i and the Pacific, literature and politics of Pacific island women, Hawaiian history and politics, third world and indigenous history and politics

Cooperating Faculty

M. Akutagawa, JD
K. Beamer, PhD

Degree Offered: BA in Hawaiian studies, MA in Hawaiian studies

The Academic Program

Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies (HWST) recognizes its kuleana to nurture and educate the next generation of community leaders, teachers, and scholars who will lead Hawai'i into the future. Kamakakuokalani offers bachelor's and master's degrees that reflect the breadth and interdisciplinary nature of Hawaiian knowledge. Our BA graduates have moved forward to earn advanced degrees in anthropology, art, botany, business, communications, counseling, education, engineering, English, geography, law, linguistics, medicine, ocean science, Pacific Island studies, political science, psychology, social work, theater, and urban and regional planning.

In Fall 2005, we inaugurated our MA program to offer students an opportunity to pursue their interests while deepening their scholarly abilities. The master's of art degree builds on the BA program's areas of concentration. It addresses crucial issues such as the sustainability and resource management of the environment that is consistent with the geography and history of Hawai'i, indigenous pedagogy and epistemology, and a political and governmental infrastructure for a Hawaiian nation. The MA also provides professionals in government, law, criminal justice, education, social work, and various health fields, the specialized knowledge in Hawaiian history and culture needed to adequately serve an array of communities.

Our BA and MA programs consist of five areas of concentration:

  1. Halau o Laka: Native Hawaiian Creative Expression
  2. Kukulu Aupuni: Envisioning the Nation
  3. Kumu Kahiki: Comparative Hawai'inuiakea and Indigenous Studies
  4. Malama 'aina: Hawaiian Perspectives on Resource Management
  5. Mo'olelo 'Oiwi: Native History and Literature

Undergraduate Study

Bachelor’s Degree

Students design their program around a selected area of concentration. Third-year fluency in Hawaiian language and a Senior capstone project is required, as well as familiarity with Hawaiian history and literature, culture and creative expression, politics and integral components of governance, resource management and sustainability, and comparative indigenous studies. A Native Hawaiian perspective is emphasized in the major.

Major Requirements

Completion of 120 credit hours, including the General Education Requirements (see the “Undergraduate General Education Requirements” section for more information) and the following program requirements:

  • GPA of 2.0 in all UH Manoa registered credit hours.
  • A GPA of 3.0 in all courses for the major.
  • Total of 35 credit hours
  • 23 credit hours in the following required courses:
    • HAW 301 and 302
    • HWST 207 or 281 or 285 or 351
    • HWST 222 or 224 or 225 or 372 or 478
    • HWST 341
    • HWST 342
    • HWST 343 or 390 or 490
    • HWST Elective (see academic advisor)
  • 12 credit hours of approved courses in one of these areas of concentrations:
    • Halau o Laka: Native Hawaiian Creative Expression
    • Kukulu Aupuni: Envisioning the Nation
    • Kumu Kahiki: Comparative Hawai'inuiakea and Indigenous Studies
    • Malama 'aina: Hawaiian Perspectives on Resource Management
    • Mo'olelo 'Oiwi: Native History and Literature
  • Third-year fluency in Hawaiian

Before beginning work on the major, students should have completed HAW 101, 102, 201, and 202; HWST 107 or 107A; HWST 270. Specific programs should be determined through consultation with the academic advisor. Majors should be interviewed by the academic advisor by the end of the sophomore year.

Students admitted to the BA program prior to Fall 2010 should consult the academic advisor to review changes that may affect their programs.

For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.

Graduate Study

Master’s Degree

The MA in Hawaiian Studies features an interdisciplinary curriculum that draws from faculty strengths in indigenous knowledge as well as other academic fields. Some examples of faculty expertise in Native practices include oli, music, fiber arts, voyaging, and navigation. Our faculty members' expertise also covers a wide spectrum of other academic fields that include poetry, political science, history, geography, education, and natural sciences.

The graduate chair offers continuous administrative assistance and academic advising as needed. Academic benchmarks include but are not limited to: development of critical thinking and analytical skills; theoretical foundations for interdisciplinary studies; grounding in and application of Native practices particular to individual interests.


The following are prerequisite courses for applicants who are not BA degree recipients of Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies. Students taking these prerequisites may enroll concurrently in graduate level Hawaiian studies courses with consent of instructor. Significant contexts for analysis and critical thinking are based in the measurable teaching objectives and learning outcomes of these courses. They represent the educational foundations of our field:

  • HWST 107/107A Hawai'i: Center of the Pacific
  • HWST 270 Hawaiian Mythology
  • HWST 341 Hawaiian Genealogies
  • HWST 342 Chiefs of Post-Contact Hawai'i

And one of the following to complete the 15 credits of course prerequisites:

  • HWST 343 Myths of Hawaiian History
  • HWST 390 Issues in Modern Hawai'i
  • HWST 490 Senior Seminar in Hawaiian Studies

Applicants to the MA program must have satisfactorily completed HAW 302 or the equivalent at the time of entry. All MA students will complete the fourth level (HAW 402) of Hawaiian language by graduation.

Degree Requirements

There are four core classes that all MA students are required to complete. They form the foundation of the MA program:

  • HWST 601 Indigenous Research Methodologies
  • HWST 602 Hawaiian Archival Research
  • HWST 603 Review of Hawaiian Literature
  • HWST 604 Writing a Hawaiian Thesis

Areas of Concentration

Hawaiian Studies MA candidates will choose two of the five areas of concentration to focus their research. Candidates will be required to integrate the two areas of concentration in a single thesis (Plan A) or non-thesis project (Plan B). The areas of concentration are:

  • Halau o Laka: Native Hawaiian Creative Expression
  • Kukulu Aupuni: Envisioning the Nation
  • Kumu Kahiki: Comparative Hawai'inuiakea and Indigenous Studies
  • Malama 'aina: Hawaiian Perspectives on Resource Management
  • Mo'olelo 'Oiwi: Native History and Literature

Admission Requirements

  1. Students seeking admission must have completed a BA degree.
  2. Satisfactory completion of HAW 302 or the equivalent.
  3. Complete and send an online (manoa.hawaii.edu/graduate) application to UH Manoa Graduate Division.
  4. Complete a Hawaiian Studies Graduate Education Application Information Form available at the Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies office in Room 209A.
  5. Three current letters of recommendation. Two from the applicant's former professors and one from a Hawaiian Studies (KCHS) faculty member with whom the applicant has consulted during preadmission advising.
  6. Writing sample: a five to ten page (clean and type-written) research paper for an undergraduate level course (any class, any topic) which you have received a grade and credit. In lieu of such a document, applicants may submit an original essay (five to ten pages in length and type-written) as an overview that conveys the nature of the applicant's major field of study.
  7. Personal statement: a two page (typed) statement of intent describing the applicant's proposed thesis topic and its basic relationship to the interdisciplinary field of Hawaiian Studies.
  8. Submit a cover letter with the above mentioned documents (items #4-7) as enclosures to the graduate chair at Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, 2645 Dole Street, Honolulu, HI 96822.

HAW Courses

HWST Courses