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UH Manoa Core Requirements

Foundations Requirements

Diversification Requirements

UH Manoa Graduation Requirements

Focus Requirements

Hawaiian or Second Language (HSL)

Undergraduate General Education Requirements

UH Manoa Graduation Requirements

4. Hawaiian or Second Language Requirement

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:

a. Completing a four-semester sequence (usually 101, 102, 201, and 202) in a single language.
b. Demonstrating competence by taking a UH Mânoa language-competency exam if one is offered. Check with the language department in question.
c. Receiving a language-requirement waiver by demonstrating 202-level second language competency. For example, waivers may be given to students who are native speakers of a language other than English. Contact an academic advisor in your college/school for further information.

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 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

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 Mânoa'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:

  • Contact an advisor. Assistance in planning an academic program is available. Resources include:
    –New Student Orientation and Fall Extended Orientation workshops, (808) 956-3667,;
    –College/school and major advisors. (See
  • Explore different academic areas. Most freshmen are exploring possible majors during their first year. These students may select General Education Foundations and Diversification courses that allow them to sample different fields, which can help in deciding on a major. See Core requirements for a list of Foundations courses; see the “Courses” section of this Catalog to find courses with a Diversification designation. The “Courses” section also lists course prerequisites.
  • Plan ahead. Majors and colleges/schools may have requirements that should be met in the first year. Once students decide on a major, they should find out what particular courses are required for the major and also by the college/school in which the major is located. (Program requirements and four-year academic plans for all undergraduate majors can be found at Students who have not yet decided on a major should become familiar with potential majors and with their college/school requirements in order to take recommended courses when possible.
  • Enhance educational experience through special opportunities. Consider participating in one of the following:
    –First-year Programs, (808) 956-8626,;
    –Honors Program, (808) 956-8391,;
    –Student Life and Development, (808) 956-8178,;
    –A research project or internship (see major department);
    –Civic and Community Engagement, (808) 956-4641,;
    –National Student Exchange, (808) 956-6772,; and
    –Study Abroad Program, (808) 956-5143, (808) 956-6958,

Transfer Students

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 for contact information for all advising offices.

Many requirements, including General Education Foundations, Diversification, and Hawaiian or Second Language requirements, may be met by transferring articulated courses from other campuses. Students can check the UH Transfer Credit Database

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.

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