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Degree, Minors and Certificates Offered

General Information

Undergraduate Programs

Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences



College of Social Sciences
Saunders Hall 542
2424 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8496
Fax: (808) 956-4347
Email: econ@hawaii.edu
Web: www.economics.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

*T. Halliday, PhD (Chair)—health economics, economic development, econometrics
*C. Bonham, PhD—applied macroeconomics, monetary theory
*P. Fuleky, PhD—time series econometrics, economic forecasting
*B. Gangnes, PhD—international macroeconomics, econometric modeling
*T. Greaney, PhD—international economics, industrial organization
*R. Juarez, PhD—microeconomic theory, game theory
*B. Karacaovali, PhD—international trade, political economy of trade policy, development economics
*D. E. Konan, PhD—international trade
*S. H. Lee, PhD—population economics, labor economics
*I. Love, PhD—development economics, finance
*J. Lynham, PhD—environmental and resource economics, experimental economics, marine ecology, behavioral economics
*A. Mason, PhD—population economics, macroeconomics
*S. Rhee, PhD—macroeconomics, labor economics
*M. Roberts, PhD—environmental and resource economics, agricultural economics
*K. V. Sherstyuk, PhD—experimental economics, game theory
*N. Tarui, PhD—environmental and resource economics, applied microeconomics, applied game theory
*J. R. Traczynski, PhD—economics of education, law and economics
*L. Wang, PhD—monetary economics, macroeconomics, search and matching theory
*X. Wang, PhD—macroeconomics, monetary economics, econometrics, applied microeconomics, labor economics

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

K. Burnett, PhD—environmental and resource economics
P. Garrod, PhD—marketing and production economics
E. Im, PhD—econometrics, statistical theory
P. S. Leung, PhD—production economics, quantitative methods
S. G. Rhee, PhD—Asia-Pacific financial markets
T. B. Vu, PhD—development economics, international economics

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

L. Cho, PhD—population economics
L. Endress, PhD—growth theory
F. Fesharaki, PhD—energy economics
B. Kaiser, PhD—environmental economics, microeconomics
I. Noy, PhD—international finance, disaster economics

Degrees Offered: BA (including minor) in economics; MA in economics; PhD in economics, Graduate Certificate in Ocean Policy

The Academic Program

Economics (ECON) is the social science that deals with the allocation and use of resources under conditions of scarcity and uncertainty. It examines this subject matter at the micro level (the consumer, the household, the firm, and the industry) and the macro level (the region, the labor force, the government, the nation, and the world). Courses in economic theory and econometrics provide statistical and mathematical tools necessary for modeling research questions, data collection and analysis, and evaluation and testing of hypotheses. Economics students learn a body of knowledge that is essential to understanding local and global economies as well as contemporary public policy issues. Undergraduate courses cover critical issues, including climate change, ocean resources, energy economics, property rights, aging and wealth transfers, experimental economics, foreign investment, econometric analysis, labor markets, health economics, law and economics, network economics, the economies of China and Japan, monetary economics, and microeconomic theory.

A BA in economics is excellent preparation for demanding analytical and policy positions in the public and private sectors; it also provides strong preparation for graduate work in law, business, public policy, public health, as well as economics.

Economics at UH Manoa is consciously directed toward policy challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Hawai‘i. Geographic and subject matter interests of students and faculty contribute to a regional specialization in accord with UH’s overall mission.

Exchange Programs

The Department of Economics participates in academic and educational exchanges with Nankai University, Tianjin, China; Hitosubashi University, Tokyo, Japan; Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan; Kobe University, Kobe, Japan; Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan; Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea; and Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Advising is mandatory for all graduate and undergraduate economics majors. Contact the department office for specific information.

Undergraduate Study

Bachelor’s Degree

The BA in economics provides students with an intensive knowledge of the theory and practice of economics, with an emphasis on the analysis of contemporary policy challenges of Hawai‘i and the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region. Majors study a wide range of current economic policy issues and learn powerful theoretical and empirical methods for analyzing these issues. They also develop reasoning and communication skills that are useful across disciplines. As a result, the BA program has been successful in preparing graduates for advanced study in economics, business, law, and other social sciences, as well as challenging careers in business management, technical analysis, policy evaluation, and education. The Quantitative Economics concentration requires calculus and a certain number of more mathematical or computational economics courses. This concentration will better prepare students for more technical careers or for graduate study. The Economics Honors Track provides our most highly motivated majors with the opportunity to conduct advanced study and research in close contact with a faculty advisor from the department. Students can join the Economics Honors Track any time after they are accepted into the UH Manoa Honors Program and have an Economics GPA of 3.3. Students have access to a free tutoring program in introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics courses; a student-run economics club; internships; co-op work arrangements; study abroad programs in Tokyo, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand; and research opportunities with economics faculty.


Majors must complete 24 credit hours of upper division courses including ECON 300, 301, and 321. At least six credit hours must be earned by completing Upper Division II ECON courses, and students must earn a C (not C-) or better in all courses designated as counting toward the major.

Students enrolled in the Quantitative Economics concentration must complete the above requirements, but must include at least three quantitative-focused economics courses, and take two additional mathematics courses, specifically calculus classes. Among economics courses, students must take ECON 420, 425, and 427 or 429. Students are required to take either the MATH 215-216 sequence or the MATH 241-242 sequence to meet the calculus requirement. Overall, this is a much more mathematics and quantitative-skill focused package.

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



Students must complete 15 credit hours of approved upper division courses, including ECON 300 and 301.

Graduate Study

The UH Manoa Department of Economics offers one of the world’s leading graduate programs, providing theoretical, empirical, and historical foundations for the study of economic policies across the globe. The graduate program offers an MA and PhD degrees. Graduate alumni teach and research in universities, work for federal and state agencies, international organizations and in the private banking and consulting sectors.

The MA program prepares students for policy analysis in government, international agencies, and the private sector, emphasizing application of theory to economic decision-making. The PhD program provides state-of-the-art theoretical and empirical training for high level academic, government, and private-sector careers.

Entering graduate students are expected to have a bachelor’s degree, not necessarily in economics, and to have completed courses in intermediate microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, elementary statistics, and a mathematics background that includes at least two 3-credit semester courses in calculus. For the PhD program, it is recommended to have completed two additional courses prior to entry in any of the following subjects: advanced calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, real analysis, or related areas. Students with deficiencies must make them up prior to entering the program or within the first year of study. GRE General Test scores and two letters of recommendation must be submitted by all applicants. TOEFL scores are required for applicants from foreign countries where English is not the primary means of communication.

Master’s Degree

An MA student must be in residence for at least two semesters, and all work must be completed within seven years of admission. A student following normal progress should be able to earn the MA degree within two years.


A student must earn 30 credit hours in economics, including at least 21 hours of 600- or 700-level courses. Up to 9 credit hours of 400-level courses may apply to the 30 credit hour requirement. Graduate credit will not be granted for 300-level courses. A student must have a B average (3.0 GPA) for all courses completed at UH Manoa applied toward the degree, and a B average for all 600-level and 700-level courses.

The MA requires completion of the following:

  • A four-course common core comprising ECON 606, 607, 627, and 628, with a B average;
  • A two-course area of concentration; and
  • An individual research project, constituting the capstone experience for the degree.

The MA program builds on rigorous economic theory and econometrics classes from the PhD program, making MA students exceptionally well trained.

As a capstone experience for the degree, the individual project allows students to apply the theory learned in classes towards a problem in which they have a particular interest. The project helps students to develop critical thinking skills and use a variety of economics tools and models. A student may also choose to write a master’s thesis in lieu of the individual research project. Students en-route to the PhD and who complete the PhD core may substitute a passing grade on either of the PhD qualifying exams for the individual research project requirement for a master’s degree.

A student who completes the MA degree may apply to the PhD program. By taking appropriate courses, a student should be able to earn both MA and PhD degrees within five years.

Doctoral Degree

A PhD student must be in residence for at least three semesters and complete all requirements within seven years of admission to the graduate program. A student following normal progress should be able to earn the PhD degree within five years.


The PhD in economics requires successful completion of the following:

  • seven core courses comprising ECON 606, 607, 608, 609, 627, 628, and 629 with a grade of B- or better in each course;
  • qualifying examinations in microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory;
  • seven 600-level and 700-level courses in economics (including ECON 730) beyond the core;
  • two fields;
  • a third-year research paper;
  • an oral comprehensive exam, administered jointly with the defense of the dissertation proposal;
  • a final oral exam, including defense of the final dissertation; and
  • submission of the final dissertation manuscript to Graduate Education.

Normal progress requires students to take and pass both theory qualifying exams at the end of the first two semesters of study, and to complete all core courses in the first three semesters of enrollment. Students failing a qualifying examination may retake it only once.

Students choose two fields, each consisting of two courses, from among the following five fields offered by the department:

  1. Economic development (ECON 610 and 611)
  2. International economics (two of ECON 660, 661, 662, and 664)
  3. Public economics (ECON 650 and 651)
  4. Resource and environmental economics (ECON 637 and 638)
  5. Human resources (two of ECON 670, 672, and 674)

Some field courses are offered annually, others less frequently. Students may petition to substitute a field in another discipline or another field in economics for one of the five fields listed above.

The third-year research paper is a transition experience between PhD course work and independent dissertation research. A successful paper will demonstrate a depth of knowledge within an area of specialization and the ability to implement the research methods needed for dissertation-level research. The deadline for submitting your paper is May 1 of your third year of graduate studies and the deadline for resubmission is August 1. Students who do not meet these deadlines will be placed on academic probation in the fall semester of their fourth year of studies.

The comprehensive examination–of which the written qualifying examinations are a part–will include a broad probing of the candidate’s general economic knowledge. The oral part of the PhD comprehensive examination will be administered jointly with the defense of the dissertation proposal, before a dissertation committee chosen by the student and approved by the graduate chair and Graduate Education. A student who fails the comprehensive examination may repeat it once. A student who fails a second time is dismissed from the program. Students who pass the oral exam are advanced to candidacy for the PhD.

The final examination, which is oral, covers the candidate’s defense of the final dissertation draft. It is administered orally and is open to the public. Candidates failing the final examination may be allowed to repeat it once upon petition approved by the graduate faculty concerned and the dean of Graduate Education. Those failing it twice are dismissed from the program.

Finally, a dissertation accepted by the dissertation committee is submitted to Graduate Education. The final dissertation must also conform to UH Manoa standards in content and format.

Graduate Ocean Policy Certificate

Governance and stewardship of the oceans requires an interdisciplinary approach grounded in both theory and empirical study of the human-marine environment. The Graduate Ocean Policy Certificate is designed as a concurrent program for classified graduate students and law students in good standing. Community professionals and practitioners who meet minimum admissions requirements are also eligible to build their skills in fisheries economics, coastal conflict resolution, maritime boundaries, and ecosystem-based management of marine resources. An advisor assists each student in custom-designing a 15-credit program that draws on marine-related courses at UH Manoa in environmental and resource economics, geography, law, history, marine science, public policy, conflict resolution, and planning. A major paper and internship project are required. For further information and applications, see the department’s web page at www.economics.hawaii.edu/gopc/.

ECON Courses