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General Information


Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language

Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies

Ka Papa Lo‘i o Kanewai

Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language

2540 Maile Way
Spalding 253
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-4321
Fax: (808) 956-4599
Email: olelouhm@hawaii.edu
Web: www.manoa.hawaii.edu/hshk/kawaihuelani


*K. R. K. Oliveira, PhD (Director)—innovative instruction of Hawaiian language through various cultural activities, Hawaiian place names and land tenure
*M. R. Nogelmeier, PhD (Graduate Chair)—innovative instruction of Hawaiian language and literature, translation, poetry, composition, creative writing
C. Baker, MA—Hawaiian grammar, construction of Hawaiian identity through language, Hawaiian language theatre, linguistic anthropology
K. de Silva, MA—Hawaiian language and literature, revitalization of language and identity through mass media
R. Koga, MA—Hawaiian and English language and literature, language teaching and learning
*R. Lopes Jr., PhD—innovative instruction of Hawaiian language through cultural means such as hula and music
K. K. Lucas, MEd—Hawaiian language learning and instruction
K. Makekau-Whittaker, MA—Kanaka Maoli education during the Hawaiian Kingdom period, Hawaiian language immersion education, Hawaiian culture and ceremony in language learning
R. K. NeSmith, MA—language teaching and learning, communicative language teaching, incorporation of Hawaiian culture in language teaching
F. P. Nicholas—Hawaiian language and culture, native Hawaiian language speaker from Ni'ihau
M. L. K. Saffery, MEdT—place-based Hawaiian curriculum; development of culturally appropriate interdisciplinary Hawaiian language undergraduate and graduate curriculum
*R. Solis, PhD—Hawaiian language learning and instruction, Hawaiiian religion, newspaper translating and broadcasting
*S. L. Warner, PhD—Hawaiian language, Hawaiian language immersion education, evaluation, curriculum development and second-language acquisition, educational psychology
*A. K. Wong, PhD—Hawaiian language and culture, immersion education, curriculum development, native Hawaiian language speaker
*K. L. Wong, PhD—revitalization of Hawaiian language and people
M. K. Wong, MA—Hawaiian language and culture, Paniolo practices and lifestyle.

Cooperating Faculty

M. Akutagawa, JD
K. Beamer, PhD

Degrees and Certificates Offered: Undergraduate Certificate in Hawaiian, minor in Hawaiian, minor in Hawaiian Immersion Education, BA in Hawaiian, MA in Hawaiian

The Academic Program

Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language (HAW) offers an undergraduate certificate, a minor in Hawaiian, a minor in Hawaiian Immersion Education, and bachelor and master's degrees in Hawaiian. The center conducts research in relevant fields of study and offers four years of language study as well as courses on immersion education, curriculum development, and topics of relevant Hawaiian cultural content. In partnership with Ho'okulaiwi: 'Aha Ho'ona'auao 'Oiwi (Center for Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Education), Kawaihuelani trains teachers for Hawaiian immersion schools, public schools with Hawaiian language courses, Hawaiian charter schools, and the UH Manoa program. The faculty and staff of Kawaihuelani create and implement projects and programs that promote Hawaiian language, culture, history, and traditions such as: Ka Halau Hanakeaka, Ho'okulaiwi: 'Aha Ho'ona'auao 'Oiwi (Center for Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Education), Ho'olaupa'i: Hawaiian Newspapers Resources, Kauakukalahale, Kaulakahi Aloha, Ke Aolama, Mary Kawena Pukui Hale, Ka Waihona a ke Aloha, and Mauiakama.

Undergraduate Study

BA Degree in Hawaiian


  • Completion of 120 non-repeated 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
  • 30 credit hours above HAW 202 with a GPA of 3.0 or better, including:
  • Required courses (15 credits): HAW 301, 302, 401, 402, and 452
  • 15 electives credits: HAW 321, 331, 332, 345, 373, 383, 384, 425, 426, 427, 428, 429, 430, 433, 435B, 435C, 445, 454, 462B, 462C, 462D, 463, 466, 470, 483, 484, 485, 486, 488, 490, and 499
  • A maximum of 3 credit hours from HAW 284, MAO 102, SAM 102, TAHT 103, 104, ES 360, MUS 312, MUS 412, MUS 413, SLS 430, LING 445 can be counted towards the electives
  • Students must earn a grade of C or better for all Hawaiian Language courses that serve as prerequisites for other Hawaiian Language courses. Students who do not meet this requirement will not be permitted to register for the next level of Hawaiian Language.
  • For Hawaiian Language majors, a grade of B (B+, B, or B-) or better is required for 300-400 level Hawaiian courses counted towards the Hawaiian Language major.

Students admitted to the BA program prior to 2007 should consult an 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/.


Kawaihuelani offers two undergraduate minors. One in Hawaiian and one in Hawaiian Immersion Education.

Minor in Hawaiian

The overall purpose of the minor in Hawaiian is to provide an undergraduate learning opportunity tailored to classified students who are interested in Hawaiian Language as a second discipline of specialization that will complement their major studies, support their future work in and for the Hawaiian community, and/or empower their growth and development as Native Hawaiians. Acceptance into the minor follows:

  • Completion of 25 credits of university work with a 2.0 cumulative and major GPA
  • Admission to an appropriate academic major.
  • Successful completion of HAW 101, 102, 201, and 202.


  • 18 credit hours of non-introductory Hawaiian Language courses (beyond 202) including:
    • 12 credit hours in continuing Hawaiian language study (HAW 301, 302, 401, and 402)
    • 6 credit hours from HAW elective courses at the 300-400 level in various content areas
  • A 3.0 GPA in courses leading to the minor.
  • A grade of B (B+, B, or B-) or better is required for all Hawaiian Language courses counted towards the Hawaiian Language minor.

Minor in Hawaiian Immersion Education

In collaboration with Ho'okulaiwi: 'Aha Ho'ona'auao 'Oiwi (Center for Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Education) housed within the College of Education, Kawaihuelani administers a minor in Hawaiian Immersion Education to prepare secondary subject area teachers for the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program in the Department of Education. Acceptance into the minor follows:

  • Completion of 55 credits of university work with a 2.75 cumulative and major GPA
  • Admission to an appropriate academic major
  • Successful completion of the College of Education entrance exam and personal admissions interview
  • Successful completion of HAW 302 or higher
  • Attainment of a B (B+, B, or B-) average for all advanced level Hawaiian language courses.


A total of 27-36 credits will be required with a minimum GPA requirement of 2.75 in the minor courses: 15-18 from the College of Education and 12-18 from Hawaiian Language.

  • College of Education: ITE 312, EDEP 311, EDEF 310, one complementary course (ETEC 414; SPED 445; ITE 360; EDCS 431), ITE methods course (33X–34X) in subject area
  • Hawaiian: HAW 331, 332, 401, 402, 463, and 470


On recommendation of the Center for Hawaiian Language, UH Manoa confers certification of achievement in Hawaiian language.


  • 15 credit hours beyond the intermediate level in Hawaiian, including:
    • 6 credit hours in continuing language study
    • 9 credit hours in language, literature, or structure courses selected to complement the major field of study
  • A 3.0 GPA in courses leading to the certificate is required.
  • A grade of B (B+, B, or B-) or better is required for all Hawaiian language courses counted towards the Hawaiian language certificate.

Graduate Study

Master’s Degree

The graduate program in Hawaiian is designed to provide broad, in-depth education in the Hawaiian language, culture, and literature and is an integral part of the efforts to revitalize Hawaiian as a living language. The program is designed to create scholarship in Hawaiian in new domains, including advanced study of literature; to strengthen and expand the understanding and use of various styles of Hawaiian; to develop curriculum and resources and teacher training for the Kula Kaiapuni (Hawaiian medium schools); and to provide support to graduate students in related fields. The MA in Hawaiian is intended for students who have a broad background in Hawaiian language and culture, but want more depth in their knowledge. The three areas of the curriculum that are available are:

  • Mo'olelo. The Mo'olelo curricula focuses on Hawaiian history and literature through the analysis, critique, creation and presentation of Hawaiian language resources.
  • Kumu Kula Kaiapuni. The Kumu Kula Kaiapuni curricula focuses on the educational, linguistic, and cultural tools that teachers need to perform better in Hawaiian medium schools. Students producing curriculum and developing their own teaching skills will also be able to work closely with the newly established Mary Kawena Pukui Hale: Center for the Survival and Promotion of Hawaiian.
  • Kalai'olelo. The Kalai'olelo curricula focuses on the linguistic analysis of Hawaiian.

Admission Requirements

All potential graduate students must submit an application to the Graduate Division. Applicants to the MA in Hawaiian must have completed a bachelor's degree and submitted the following to the graduate chair prior to admission: official transcripts from each school attended; 18 upper-division credit hours in Hawaiian and HAW 402 (or equivalent); a statement of objectives written in Hawaiian; and three letters of recommendation.

In addition, a written and oral examination in Hawaiian will be administered by the graduate chair, and an interview will be conducted by an admissions committee of Hawaiian language faculty.

Degree Requirements

Effective Fall 2012:

  • Students must complete 33 credits with a GPA of 3.0 or better and must include at least 24 credits at the 600 level or higher.
  • With pre-approval from the graduate advisor, a student may include a limit of 9 credits that are not taught in Hawaiian but are related to their research.
  • Students must receive a B (B+, B, or B-) or better in ALL courses counted towards their degree.
  • Core requirements:
    • HAW 601 Kakau Mo'olelo (Narrative Writing)
    • HAW 602 Kaka'olelo Oratory (Hawaiian Speech Styles)
    • Choose two of the three courses below:
      –HAW 604 Haku Palapala Noi Laeo'o/Writing a Hawaiian Master's Proposal
      –HAW 605 Ka Hana Noi'i (Research Methods)
      –HAW 612 Na Mana'o Politika Hawai'i (Hawaiian Political Thought)
    • HAW 615 Kuana'ike (World View)
    • HAW 652 Pilina 'Olelo (Grammar)
  • Thesis (Plan A) and Project/Non-thesis (Plan B) options are offered.
  • Students completing a Plan A thesis are required to take 6 credits of HAW 700. A student must write a thesis in Hawaiian on a topic approved by the student's advisor and committee. The total number of 699 and 700 credits applied toward degree requirements shall not exceed 12 credits.
  • Students completing a Plan B project/non-thesis will enroll in 6 credits of HAW 695. This capstone course is the culminating experience where the student will display the knowledge he or she has researched into a form of his or her choice with the approval of the advisor and committee. Students may also choose the internship/haumana relationship with a manaleo (native speaker), kupuna (elder), or other cultural practitioner where the student will observe, learn, participate, and document the experience. A maximum of 9 credits of 699 may be applied toward degree requirements.

For more information on the MA in Hawaiian, contact the graduate chair through the departmental office.

Credits for Previous Hawaiian Language Experience

Back Credits Policy & Procedures

Please refer to the Hawaiian and Second Language Policy on Back Credits available in the General Education section of the Catalog.

Definition: Back credits are credits received for previous language experience that do not qualify as transfer credits.

Eligibility: All students (including native speakers of a language and non-UH system students) with experience in Hawaiian language may be eligible to earn 3 to 16 back credits.

One Language: Back credits may be earned for ONLY ONE language and will be based on the first instance of taking a course for a letter grade in that language at UH Manoa. A repeated or backtrack course is NOT eligible for back credits.

Students who wish to earn back credits for Hawaiian language shall:

  1. Make arrangements with Kawaihuelani's academic advisor to take the Hawaiian language placement exam.
  2. Complete the Hawaiian language placement exam in order to determine the appropriate level HAW course for the student.
  3. Enroll (for letter grade) in the Hawaiian language course that the student was placed into after completing the Hawaiian language placement exam.
  4. Earn a grade of C or better (not C-) in the Hawaiian language course that the student was placed. Back credits will not be awarded if a student does not receive a grade of C or better for the class the student was placed. The grade of C or better must be earned on the first time the course was taken. A grade of C/NC is not eligible for back credits.
  5. Make arrangements to complete forms with Kawaihuelani's academic advisor to receive back credits. Back credits are not automatically awarded. To receive back credits, students must complete a petition form with Kawaihuelani's academic advisor. Submit the petition form the semester after the student's satisfactory completion of the language course, but no later than one semester before graduation.
  6. Kawaihuelani's academic advisor shall award from 3 to 16 back credits based on the course the student successfully completed with a grade of C or better. Back credits are earned with no grade assigned.

Transfer Credits Policy and Procedures

Please refer to the UH Manoa Policy for Transfer Credits. Access: manoa.hawaii.edu/admissions/undergrad/policies.html#credits.

Definition: Transfer credits are credits received for previous language courses completed at another institute of higher education that articulate with UH Manoa language courses. Transfer credits accepted for language courses completed at another institution of higher education are not eligible for back credits.

Eligibility:Majors and non-majors may request an evaluation of their Hawaiian language transfer credits, however, the request cannot be formally processed and approved until a student has been admitted to a program leading to a degree and has confirmed their intention to enroll.

  1. Students shall submit to Kawaihuelani's academic advisor: (a) a completed "Request for Evaluation of Transfer Credits" form available at the Office of Admissions; as well as (b) supporting documents for each course requesting to be evaluated (include syllabus, course description, final product/assignment, and textbook(s)/reading(s) used). If supporting documents are not available, the Kawaihuelani Curriculum Committee may request a short interview with students to assess their Hawaiian language proficiency and to ask them about the courses in question (what was learned, what did you do, etc.).
  2. The advisor will review the transfer credit petition to assure all required forms and supporting documents (listed above) are included and will check and printout the student's transcript on STAR.
  3. The advisor will then send the entire transfer credit petition (forms, documents, and transcript) to Kawaihuelani's Curriculum Committee for review and decision-making on a case-by-case basis. The Curriculum Committee is encouraged to include faculty with specific expertise when needed. The committee will review requests twice a semester, or as needed.
  4. Possible outcomes of the committee review may include:
  5. a. the outside course has already been articulated with UH Manoa, so the credits will transfer and count as the articulated HAW course;
    b. the outside course is deemed equivalent to a HAW course even though it has not been officially articulated, so the credits will transfer and count as the equivalent HAW course;
    c. UH Manoa does not have an equivalent course, but committee finds the outside course valuable and in line with the scope/mission of the program/degree, so the credits will transfer and count for an HAW upper-division elective; or
    d. the outside course is not equivalent to an existing HAW course and does not align with the scope/mission of the program/degree so credits will not be counted towards any HAW course.

  6. Final decisions of the Curriculum Committee will be communicated to the director and academic advisor, who will notify the student of the decision and guide them with finalizing the transfer credits process.

Honors and Awards

Lokomaika'iokalani Snakenberg Hawaiian Language Graduate Scholarship

Offered to encourage graduate-level research and study for students specializing in Hawaiian language and related fields, this scholarship provides an award of up to $5,000 per semester to students registered in graduate programs at UH Manoa.

Dorothy M. Kahananui Scholarship in Hawaiian Language

This scholarship is offered to students who have successfully completed at least the intermediate level of Hawaiian language, with preference given to doctoral or master's degree candidates who plan to teach the language. The minimum amount of the award is resident tuition at UH Manoa.

Red Mandarin and Lady Yi-suen Shen Scholarship in Hawaiian Studies

Offered to undergraduate students in Hawaiian studies at UH Manoa, this scholarship covers tuition for the academic year. It is awarded to a degree candidate who demonstrates exceptional promise and achievement. Applicants must be pursuing a program of study that shows a central commitment to Hawaiian studies, including Hawaiian language.

HAW Courses