Undergraduate General Education Requirements
To obtain an undergraduate degree from UH Manoa, a student must satisfy: (a) General Education requirements, (b) requirements of the student’s college or school, and (c) requirements of the student’s specific academic major. Consulting the college/school advising office can help a student select courses that simultaneously satisfy more than one requirement. This section of the Catalog describes the four components of the UH Manoa General Education requirements:
Foundations and Diversification together are UH Manoa Core requirements. Focus and Hawaiian or Second Language together are UH Manoa Special Graduation requirements.
Students who transfer to UH Manoa having completed the Foundations/Basic requirements at another UH System school are considered to have fulfilled UH Manoa Foundations requirements. Students who transfer to UH Manoa having completed the Diversification/Area requirements at another UH System school are considered to have fulfilled UH Manoa Diversification requirements. Finally, students who transfer to UH Manoa having completed both the Foundations/Basic and the Diversification/Area requirements at another UH System school are considered to have fulfilled the UH Manoa Core (Foundations and Diversification) requirements.
A grade of D (not D-) or higher is required for a course to fulfill General Education requirements. The Credit/No Credit option is not allowed for any course taken to fulfill a General Education requirement, with the exception of those courses offered only for CR/NC. (See “Grades” of the Catalog for additional information.)
General Education Overview
* These abbreviations appear after course descriptions to identify courses that meet specific requirements. See the “Courses” section in this Catalog to view course descriptions.
** The STAR Degree Check indicates Focus classes by “H,” “E,” “O,” and “W.” Check “Class Availability” at www.sis.hawaii.edu/uhdad/avail.classes?i=MAN, indicates Focus sections with “ETH,” “HAP,” “OC,” and “WI.”
1. Foundations Requirement: 12 credits(Top)
The Foundations requirements are intended to give students skills and perspectives that are fundamental to undertaking higher education. Students should complete the Foundations requirements during their first year at UH Manoa. Courses taken to fulfill the Foundations requirements may not be used to fulfill Diversification or Focus requirements.
Written Communication (FW) courses introduce students to the rhetorical, conceptual, and stylistic demands of writing at the college level. Students receive instruction in composing processes, search strategies, and how to access and use various types of primary and secondary materials.
To enroll in a course that meets the Written Communication requirement, students must first determine their course eligibility by visiting www.hawaii.edu/gened/foundations_fulfillFW.htm. Non-native speakers of English should visit www.hawaii.edu/eli or contact the English Language Institute at (808) 956-8610, email@example.com.
Students can satisfy the FW requirement by earning a score of 4 or 5 on either of the Advanced Placement (AP) English examinations; see www.manoa.hawaii.edu/admissions/pdf/AP.pdf for details. Students may also be able to satisfy this requirement through submission of a collection of writing. For eligibility criteria and other information, visit www.hawaii.edu/gened/foundations_FWcollection.htm or contact the General Education Office at (808) 956-6660, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Effective Fall 2018, Quantitative Reasoning (FQ) replaces Symbolic Reasoning (FS) as a General Education requirement. To ensure there is adequate time for students who entered the UH System prior to Fall 2018 to complete their FS requirements, FS courses will be offered through Summer 2023 at UH Manoa and through Summer 2020 at UH community colleges.
The primary goal of FQ courses is to develop mathematical reasoning skills at the college level. Students apply mathematical concepts to the interpretation and analysis of quantifiable information in order to solve a wide range of problems arising in pure and applied research in specific disciplines, professional settings, and/or daily life.
Students entering the UH System in Fall 2018 and beyond may select courses with the FQ designation. Students who entered the UH System prior to Fall 2018 and have been continuously enrolled should refer to their original catalog year requirements. Students should contact their designated college/school academic or faculty advisor for more information.
* Course has a prerequisite.
Global and Multicultural Perspectives (FG) courses provide thematic treatments of global processes and cross-cultural interactions from a variety of perspectives. Students will trace human development from prehistory to modern times through examination of narratives and artifacts from diverse cultures. At least one component of each of these courses will involve the Indigenous cultures of Hawai‘i, the Pacific, and Asia.
To satisfy this requirement, students must take a total of six credits; the six credits must come from two different groups.
Group A (FGA; courses cover the time period prehistory to 1500)
Group B (FGB; courses cover the time period 1500 to modern times)
Group C (FGC; courses cover the time period prehistory to modern times)
For Non-UH System Transfer Students Only
Students who transfer from a non-UH System school with one or more western civilization courses will be required to take only three credits of Foundations-Global and Multicultural Perspectives. If the course or courses that they have taken are time-period specific, the credits that they take at UH Manoa must cover a different time period.
2. Diversification Requirement: 19 credits(Top)
The Diversification requirements are intended to assure that every student has exposure to different domains of academic knowledge, while at the same time allowing flexibility in choice of courses for students with different goals and interests.
Students can complete the Diversification requirements over the full four years of their academic program. Students may satisfy the Diversification requirements by taking approved courses for which they meet course prerequisites. Some courses that satisfy Diversification requirements may also simultaneously satisfy Focus and/or major requirements. (See the “Can a single course satisfy more than one requirement?” table)
Can a single course satisfy more than one requirement?
To satisfy this requirement, students must take six credits; the six credits must include two of the three different areas: Arts “DA,” Humanities “DH,” and Literatures “DL.”
To satisfy this requirement, students must take a total of six credits from two different departments.*
To satisfy this requirement, students must take three credits in Biological Science “DB,” three credits in Physical Science “DP,” and one credit of Science Laboratory “DY.”
Diversification courses are identified in this Catalog in the “Courses” section with
the following letters after the course description:
Some departments have multiple course alphas. Students who take their two DS courses from the same department but with different course alphas are considered to have fulfilled the DS requirement. For example, the Family and Consumer Sciences Department offers two course alphas: Human Development & Family Studies (HDFS) and Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM). A student who takes HDFS 230 and FDM 200 is considered to have fulfilled the DS requirement.
3. Focus Requirements(Top)
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 an 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-UH System transfer students’ Focus requirements are adjusted according to the number of credit hours awarded by UH Manoa for non-UH System courses.
These courses focus on issues in Native Hawaiian and Asian or Pacific cultures and history; they promote cross-cultural understanding between nations and cultures.
These courses involve significant readings on, and discussion of, contemporary ethical issues; they give students tools for the development of responsible ethical judgments.
These courses provide students with training in oral delivery and give them the opportunity to do individual and/or group oral reports.
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 change each semester. Therefore, Focus designations are not shown in this Catalog, but appear each semester on Class Availability at www.sis.hawaii.edu/uhdad/avail.classes?i=MAN. Focus designations are indicated in the GenEd/Focus column as ETH, HAP, OC, and WI.
Focus Requirements for Students with Non-UH System Credits
Students who transfer credits from a non-UH System institution may have adjusted (“prorated”) Focus requirements. The adjustment is based on the number of non-UH System transfer credit hours accepted when a student is admitted to UH Manoa. Non-UH System credits completed while an active UH Manoa student are not included in proration (summer courses, Study Abroad, National Student Exchange, etc.).
*At least two “W” courses must be 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 following table. 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.
*At least two “W” courses must be at the 300- or 400- level.
Exemption from a Focus Requirement
Students who have engaged in one or more extraordinary educational experiences that took place outside of the ordinary university curriculum may request exemption from up to three Focus requirements that are directly related to the educational experience(s). To earn exemption, students must demonstrate to the General Education Committee that the experience(s) fulfilled the goals of the requested Focus area(s). Approved exemptions reduce the number of courses required for the approved Focus area(s); however, they do not reduce the total number of credit hours needed to graduate. Students are limited to three exemptions. Restrictions apply. For more information, consult a college/school academic advisor or visit www.hawaii.edu/gened/focus_exemption.htm.
4. Hawaiian or Second Language Requirement(Top)
Knowledge of a second language encourages deeper awareness of the structure of language and its relation to thought. It 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 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:
Important Note: The Hawaiian or Second Language requirement has been modified or waived for students in the following schools and colleges: Shidler College of Business; College of Education; College of Engineering; John A. Burns School of Medicine; School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene; School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology; Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work; College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. (See www.hawaii.edu/gened/hsl.htm for additional information.) Students in these colleges/schools should consult a college/school advisor.
Students should be aware that changing their major may involve a change in their college/school and thus change their Hawaiian or Second Language requirement. A list of majors and their respective colleges/schools can be found in the Degrees section.
Credits for Previous Language Experience
ll students under the current General Education requirements with experience in a language other than English (including native speakers) may earn “back credits.” These students may take any UH Manoa course appropriate to their level of proficiency in which there is significant use of that language. (Appropriate level is determined by a placement exam or an advisor; significant use is determined by the course content.) Upon completion of this course, students will receive between 3 and 16 back credits if they earn a letter grade of C (not C-) or better. (The course must be the first Hawaiian or second language course taken since high school; and it must be taken for a letter grade, not CR/NC.) Back credits may be earned for only one language. Other restrictions apply. Check with the appropriate language department for details and forms. Information is also available at www.hawaii.edu/gened/hsl.htm.
Languages in which a Four-semester Sequence is Offered
Arabic, Cambodian (Khmer), Chamorro, Chinese (Mandarin), Filipino, French, German, Greek, Hawaiian, Hindi/Urdu, Ilokano, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Maori, Persian, 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.
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.
Academic Planning: Tips for New Students
UH Manoa has a wide range of fields, majors, and courses from which to choose and build a dynamic and satisfying academic program. Here are some tips to help students get started:
Transfer students should contact an advisor as soon as possible. An advisor can often help a transfer student make choices that will help the student make steady progress toward graduation. Students with a major should contact an advisor from the college/school in which the major is located; students who have not yet chosen a major should contact the Manoa Advising Center. Students needing assistance in the transfer process should contact the UH Manoa Transfer Coordination Center. See manoa.hawaii.edu/undergrad/Transfer/ for contact information for all advising offices.
Important: Transfer students should consult the UH Manoa college/school advising office for their major to find out about their major’s requirements and about recommended General Education course choices.
Please note: This Catalog was prepared to provide information and does not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right to change or delete, supplement or otherwise amend at any time and without prior notice the information, requirements and policies contained in this Catalog.
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