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Undergraduate Programs

Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences

Professional Programs


Political Science

College of Social Sciences
Saunders Hall 640
2424 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8357
Fax: (808) 956-6877
Email: polisci@hawaii.edu
Web: www.politicalscience.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

*D. Halbert, PhD (Chair)—public policy, political futures, law and politics, and politics of intellectual property
*S. Krishna, PhD (Graduate Chair)—comparative politics, international political economy, South Asian Studies, and postcolonial studies
*J. N. Goodyear-Ka'opua, PhD (Undergraduate Chair)—Hawaiian politics, Indigenous politics, politics of education and culture
*H. Aikau, PhD—contemporary native Hawaiian identity and politics, feminist theory, and critical race theory
*R. Chadwick, PhD—international relations, global modeling, methodology
*J. A. Dator, PhD—alternative political futures esp. Asia and Pacific Islands; Asian politics; governance designs for space settlements; politics of media
*K. Ferguson, PhD—feminist theory and methods; political theory; politics of organizations; gender, globalization, militarism
*P. Flowers, PhD—Japanese politics, international law, international relations
*J. Goldberg-Hiller, PhD—law and society, law and philosophy, sexuality politics, indigenous politics
J. Grove, PhD—critical war studies, complexity theory and system theory
*M. Henningsen, PhD—European politics, genocide/Holocaust, political philosophy, political theory
*K. Heyer, PhD—law and society, disability politics, comparative law, social movement and civil rights
*E. Kimura, PhD—comparative politics, political change, Southeast Asia
*C. Moore, PhD—American politics, public policy, politics of bureaucracy, institutional change
*L. Nitz, PhD—American government; methodology; political economy; public policy; research methods; topics in political theory
*M. J. Shapiro, PhD—American politics; interpretive methods; politcs of culture; media and popular culture; political theory; public policy
*N. Silva, PhD—Hawaiian politics, indigenous politics
*N. Soguk, PhD—international relations theory, comparative politics; international organization; international migration and diasporas, human rights, Middle East
*M. Steger, PhD—global politics, globalization, political ideologies, comparative political theory (mostly East-West), nonviolence
*C. M. Stephenson, PhD—international relations; international organization; international environmental politics; international security; peace studies, conflict resolution
M. Yang, PhD—comparative politics, political economy of development, East Asia
*K. Zhou, PhD—comparative politics; Chinese & Asian politics; women and development, and public policy

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

W. Dissanayake, PhD—Asian cinema, film theory
F. Farhi, PhD—Middle East politics, comparative politics
B. Kerkvliet, PhD—Southeast Asian politics
O. Lee, PhD—Chinese foreign policy, U.S.-China relations

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

K. O. Kane, PhD—philosophy and theory, pedagogy, film and media studies, women's studies

Degrees Offered: Undergraduate Certificate in Law and Society, BA (including minor) in political science, MA in political science, PhD in political science

The Academic Program

Political science (POLS) examines politics not only in government and among nations but also in private organizations, businesses, universities, families, language, and daily life.

Various methods are used to do this, ranging from the interpretive and historical to the quantitative and statistical. Political science graduates enter numerous professions: journalism, foreign service, social services, government, law, law enforcement, teaching, civil service, business, librarianship, and research. Undergraduate majors have done all of these and more. So have the department's graduate students, many of whom come from abroad and return to their home countries to become leaders in their fields. The Department of Political Science provides a sound undergraduate education that helps prepare people to think critically and constructively about the world and to be active, concerned citizens in whatever walk of life they choose. Its internship program permits undergraduates to earn academic credit while working in community or governmental institutions and processes.

At the graduate level, the department stands out in the fields of Asian politics, comparative politics, Asian politics, futures studies, indigenous politics, international relations, law and society, policy analysis, and political theory. The department is an open, informal place where students, staff, and faculty alike are encouraged to participate in departmental affairs and governance. For further information, call (808) 956-8357 or write to the department.


Students may write to, or make appointments to see, either the graduate chair or the undergraduate chair, who will discuss the options available and assign students, if necessary, to a faculty member who specializes in a field of study.

Undergraduate Study

Bachelor’s Degree


Students must complete 30 credit hours, including:

  • a prerequisite introductory course at the 100 or 200 level
  • 12 credit hours from courses distributed as follows: POLS 335; either POLS 301 or 302; either POLS 305 or 315; and one of either POLS 375, 376, or 385
  • POLS 390 (Political Inquiry and Analysis)
  • 9 credit hours from other 300 level courses, including 3x5 courses
  • 3-6 credit hours from 400 level courses

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



Students must complete 18 total credit hours. 15 credit hours from the 300 level or above, including one course from POLS 305, 315, 335, 375 or 385.

Students should choose one of the 100 or 200 level political science courses as part of their General Education Core in social sciences, since a 100 or 200 level course is prerequisite for 300 level courses.

Undergraduate Certificate in Law and Society


15 credits will be required to be completed with a GPA of 2.5 or above.

  • POLS 374/SOC 374
  • 9 credits must be upper division (300-400 level)
  • 6 credits from either AMST 365, AMST 436/POLS 436/WS 436, ECON 476, HWST 495, HWST 496, HIST 475, PHIL 318, POLS 375, POLS 376, SOC 231, SOC 333, SOC 432, or SOC 435/WS 435
  • Students are also required to submit a portfolio containing three essays.

Interdisciplinary Certificate in Social Science and Health

The purpose of this certificate is to supplement the disciplinary major of students who wish to pursue careers in the field of health and health care by enhancing the breadth, quality, and coherence of their education through taking health-related courses in a variety of different academic disciplines. A more complete description and the requirements are described under the Department of Sociology.

Graduate Study

he department has three different graduate degree programs: master's degree Plan A, for which a master's thesis is required; master's degree Plan B, for which a culminating experience is required; and the doctor of philosophy (PhD) program. The department offers specializations in alternative futures, Asian and Pacific politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, indigenous politics, and public policy.

Further information regarding the requirements for all three programs is available at www.politicalscience.hawaii.edu.

The application deadline is December 1 for admission in the fall semester. NO SPRING semester admissions are taken.

Master’s Degree

The department offers MA Plan A (thesis) and Plan B (culminating experience) degrees that can be tailored to a student's interests and needs. The MA program invites applicants who are prepared to think critically and constructively about political phenomena. All MA students are required to take three of the following courses regardless of program (Plan A or Plan B): POLS 610, 620, 630, 640, 650, 660, 670, and 680.

Doctoral Degree

The department's PhD program encourages students to pursue specialized interests as well as to broaden their understanding of political phenomena. The department looks for students who are prepared to construct a successful course of study based on their individual interests, in conjunction with appropriate advising and course work. We encourage applicants who approach political questions in a critical and creative manner and who combine work from different specializations and disciplines to pursue their own particular projects.

Honors and Awards

The department has serveral teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and scholarships that are awarded to deserving qualified students.


  • Thomas Hamilton Memorial Scholarship—$600 for a student with outstanding scholarship and all-around performance who has completed at least two courses in political theory.
  • Carl Knobloch Prize Fund—$500 for a student with an excellent academic record who also has an outstanding record of community and/or UH service.


  • Norman Meller Award—$1,500 for fall semester to a graduate student with an outstanding academic record.
  • Harry J. Friedman Memorial Scholarship—$700 for outstanding work in comparative politics.
  • Jorge Fernandes Memorial Fellowship and Award—for spring semester to aid an outstanding graduate student to support the completion of his/her dissertation.
  • Glendon Schubert and James Neal Schubert Political Science Endowed Scholarship—for spring to a graduate student who specializes in public law, law and society.

POLS Courses