Master of Arts in Hawaiian

Kawaihuelani offers a Master of Arts in Hawaiian and a dual Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.  Students enrolled in either program may apply for admission in the other degree program.

Program Objectives

The graduate program in Hawaiian is designed to provide broad, in-depth education in the Hawaiian language, culture, and literature and is an integral part of the efforts to revitalize Hawaiian as a living language. The program is designed to create scholarship in Hawaiian in new domains, including advanced study of literature; to strengthen and expand the understanding and use of various styles of Hawaiian; to develop curriculum and resources and teacher training for the Kula Kaiapuni (Hawaiian medium schools); and to provide support to graduate students in related fields. The MA in Hawaiian is intended for students who have a broad background in Hawaiian language and culture, but want more depth in their knowledge. The three areas of the curriculum that are available are:

  • Mo‘olelo: The Mo‘olelo curricula focuses on Hawaiian history and literature through the analysis, critique, creation and presentation of Hawaiian language resources
  • Kumu Kula Kaiapuni: The Kumu Kaiapuni curricula focuses on the educational, linguistic, and cultural tools that teachers need to perform better in Hawaiian medium schools. Students producing curriculum and developing their own teaching skills will also be able to work closely with the Mary Kawena Pukui Hale
  • Kālai‘ōlelo: The Kālai‘ōlelo curricula focuses on the linguistic analysis of Hawaiian

Admission Requirements 

Applicants to the MA in Hawaiian must have completed a Bachelor’s degree and 18 upper-division credit hours in Hawaiian and HAW 402 (or equivalent) prior to admission.

All potential graduate students must submit an application and official transcripts from each school attended to the Office of Graduate Education.  All potential graduate students must submit a Kawaihuelani application, a statement of objectives written in Hawaiian, and three letters of recommendation to the Kawaihuelani Graduate Chair.

In addition, a written and oral examination in Hawaiian will be administered.

Degree Requirements

  • Students must complete 33 credits with a GPA of 3.0 or better and must include at least 24 credits at the 600 level or higher
  • With pre-approval from the graduate advisor, a student may include a limit of 9 credits that are not taught in Hawaiian but are related to their research
  • Students must receive a B- or better in ALL courses counted towards their degree
  • Core requirements:
    • HAW 601 Kākau Moʻolelo (narrative writing)
    • HAW 602 Kākāʻōlelo Oratory (Hawaiian speech styles)
    • HAW 604 Haku Palapala Noi Laeoʻo (thesis proposal)
    • Either HAW 605 Ka Hana Noiʻi (research) or HAW 612 Nā Manaʻo Politika (Hawaiian political thought)
    • HAW 615 Kuanaʻike (world view)
    • HAW 652 Pilina ʻŌlelo (grammar)

Thesis Plan A

Students completing a Plan A thesis are required to take 6 credits of HAW 700. A student must write a thesis in Hawaiian on a topic approved by the student’s advisor and committee. The total number of 699 and 700 credits applied toward degree requirements shall not exceed 12 credits.

Thesis Plan B

Students completing a Plan B project/non-thesis will display the knowledge he or she has researched into a form of his or her choice with the approval of the advisor and committee. Students may also choose the internship/haumana relationship with a mānaleo (native speaker), kūpuna (elder), or other cultural practitioner where the student will observe, learn, participate, and document the experience. A maximum of 9 credits of 699 may be applied toward degree requirements.