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Degree, Minors and Certificates Offered

General Information


Undergraduate Programs

Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences

Professional Programs



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

*S. La Croix, PhD (Chair)—economic history, development economics, industrial organization
*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
*T. Halliday, PhD—health economics, economic development, econometrics
*R. Juarez, PhD—microeconomic 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
*J. Roumasset, PhD—development economics, public resource allocation, resource 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
I. Cintina, PhD—labor economics, health 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
H. He, PhD—macroeconomics, health economics
B. Kaiser, PhD—environmental economics, microeconomics
I Noy, PhD—international finance

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 human and material 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 these topics are complemented by instruction in the statistical and mathematical tools necessary for modeling, data collection and analysis, and hypothesis testing. Students of economics will learn a body of knowledge that is essential to understanding many aspects of the modern world and contemporary public policy issues, including such vital matters as international trade, economic development, the environment, Hawai'i's economic challenges, regulation, business cycles, and consumer behavior. A BA in economics is an excellent background for demanding analytical and policy positions in the public and private sectors; it is also a highly regarded preparation for graduate work in law, business, and public policy, as well as economics.

Economics at UH Manoa is consciously directed toward policy challenges in the Asia Pacific region, which comprises the nations of the Pacific rim and the Pacific Islands, 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 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 a powerful framework 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.


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.

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 department offers a graduate program leading to the MA and PhD degrees. Graduate alumni are successful economists, entrepreneurs, and government policy experts in a variety of settings and institutions, especially in Hawai'i, Asia, and the Pacific region. Faculty research interests facilitate graduate field specializations with regional emphasis on Hawai'i, Asia, and the Pacific. Student and faculty research focuses on analyses of policy issues of importance to countries in Asia and the Pacific.

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.

The department maintains strong links with the East-West Center, particularly with the center's programs on population, economics, and energy. Relationships also exist with various country centers located in the School of Pacific and Asian Studies and with other programs in the College of Social Sciences. In conjunction with the Shidler College of Business, the department also offers a program leading to a PhD in economics and business.

Entering graduate students are expected to have a bachelor's degree, not necessarily in economics, and to have completed courses in intermediate micro-and macroeconomics theory, elementary statistics, and a mathematics background that includes at least two 3-credit semester courses in calculus. For the PhD program, we recommend the completion of 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.

TOEFL scores (for all applicants from foreign countries where English is not the primary means of communication) and two letters of recommendation must be submitted by applicants. Students applying for the graduate program must submit official GRE General Test scores.

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.

A student may also choose to write a master's thesis in lieu of the individual research project. Students 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 may be able to earn both MA and PhD degrees within five years.

Graduate Ocean Policy Certificate

Guiding state governance and community stewardship of the oceans requires an interdisciplinary approach grounded in both theory and empirical study of the human-marine environment relationship. 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 eligible also to build their skills in coastal conflict resolution, maritime boundaries, fisheries economics, species recovery, 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 or internship project and participation in an interdisciplinary seminar are required. For further information and applications, see the department's web page.

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

  • 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 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, 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.

Before the end of their fourth semester, students should, in consultation with the graduate chair, reach agreement with a UH Manoa economics faculty member to serve as their research paper advisor. Any member of the economics graduate faculty may serve as your paper advisory, and the arrangement is by mutual agreement. You then invite two other faculty members to serve as readers of your paper. Have your paper advisor and readers indicate their willingness to serve by having them sign the research paper form, which can be obtained from the staff in the economics department office. Submit the form to the graduate chair for approval before or during the fall semester of your third year of graduate study. During that semester, you are required to register for ECON 730, Research Seminar, and make substantial progress on your research paper. You are encouraged to consult with your paper advisor periodically as you work on your research paper. You may also consult with your second and third readers. Upon completion of the paper, submit it to your advisor and readers, who will evaluate the paper and assign a grade of "pass," "high pass," or "fail." Students who receive a grade of "fail" will have one opportunity to revise the paper provided they meet the appropriate deadlines. The deadline for submitting your paper is May 1 of your third year of graduate studies and the deadline for resubmissions is August 1.

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.

ECON Courses