College of Arts, Languages & Letters
Sakamaki A-203
2530 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8486, 956-8358
Fax: (808) 956-9600


*Graduate Faculty

*S. J. Brown, PhD (Chair)—modern China, intellectual and cultural
*L. Y. Andaya, PhD—traditional Southeast Asia, Indonesia
*P. Arnade, PhD—early modern European history
*E. O. Bertz, PhD—South Asia, Indian ocean, Africa
*M. L. Daniel, PhD—U.S. early American Republic, politics and race
*E. L. Davis, PhD—middle China, religion
*J. D. Foukona, PhD—South Pacific, Melanesia, Pacific legal systems and history, postcolonial and critical legal theory, climate change and displacement
*P. H. Hoffenberg, PhD—modern Europe, England, British Empire
*K. L. Jolly, PhD—medieval Europe, early medieval Britain, medieval Christianity
*C. Kim, PhD—modern Korea, industrialism, socialism, labor
*M. C. LaBriola, PhD—Pacific Islands, Micronesia, ethnographic history, women
*M. V. Lanzona, PhD—modern Southeast Asia, Philippines, women
*M. J. Lauzon, PhD—early modern Europe, European intellectual
*F. López Lázaro, PhD—world, Mediterranean, maritime history
*C. K. Matteson, PhD—modern Europe, France, environmental history
*M. T. McNally, PhD—Tokugawa Japan, social and intellectual
*N. Njoroge, PhD—U.S., Caribbean and Latin America, race and critical theory
*S. J. Reiss, PhD—U.S. foreign relations, Latin America and Caribbean, African
*J. P. Rosa, PhD—Hawaiian Islands, 20th century Hawai‘i, U.S. social and cultural
*S. Schwartz, PhD—ancient Europe, classical history, gender, law
*N. K. Stalker, PhD—Japan, culture and gender
*Y. Totani, PhD—modern Japan, Pacific
*W. Wang, PhD—classical China, Ming/Qing China, politics and culture
*F. Zelko, PhD—environmental history

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

B. Andaya, PhD—Southeast Asia

Degrees Offered: Undergraduate Certificate in Islamic Studies, BA (including minor) in history, MA in history, PhD in history

The Academic Program

History (HIST) is the study of change and continuity in human society over time. Drawing upon concepts and methods of many disciplines, history provides perspective on the human condition, past and present. The discipline of history develops skills in evaluating evidence, organizing information, clarifying and structuring concepts, and writing narratives and expositions. History is a core around which liberal education can be structured. The study of history lays a foundation upon which one can develop a cultural, social, and intellectual life that enriches an understanding of the wider world.

Majoring in history is an excellent way to move into specialized study in such areas as teaching, library and information science, foreign service, medicine, law, and business. Those who plan to pursue a career as professional historians will want to continue their education and obtain the MA and PhD degrees. The Department of History at UH Mānoa offers a full range of courses in American, Asian, European, Pacific, and World history.

Undergraduate Study

Bachelor’s Degree


Students must complete eleven courses (33 credit hours) in history with a grade of C (not C-) or better, with the following provisions:

  • Up to two 200-level history courses (6 credits total) may be counted toward the history major;
  • 100-level history courses do not count toward the major.
  • One 300- or 400-level course (3 credits) from another department may be counted toward the history major, with written history department approval, according to criteria set by the department;
  • HIST 396 and HIST 496 in sequence.

History majors are encouraged to pursue a geographic, methodological, temporal, or thematic focus by selecting courses along pathways of interest developed by the faculty and under the guidance of a major advisor.

For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to programsheets/.



For a student to minor in history, the declaration of intent should be made as early as possible after matriculation. The student must contact the undergraduate advisor of the department and complete the appropriate forms. The minor requires the successful completion with a grade of C (not C-) or better of 15 credit hours of upper division history courses. It is possible to concentrate in a particular area of history, but it is not necessary to do so. No one specific course is required for the minor.

Graduate Study

The Department of History offers the MA and PhD degrees in the fields of U.S. and the Americas, Hawai‘i, Pacific, Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia, China, Japan, Korea, World Comparative/Transnational, Environmental History, Race & Indigeneity, Imperialism & Colonialism, and Gender & Sexuality. All applicants for advanced degree programs in history are requested to supplement the application and transcripts required by Graduate Division with letters of recommendation (two for the MA, three for the PhD), preferably from professors with whom the applicant has studied; a statement of objectives; and a writing sample such as a term paper, seminar paper, or MA thesis chapter. These supplementary items should be cores from the GRE. These supplementary items should be uploaded to the Graduate Division Supplemental Documents Upload website.

Complete details on all graduate programs in history, as well as financial aid available to prospective students, are outlined in the departmental website, or by email at

Recipients of advanced degrees in history have undertaken careers as teachers of history and social studies in secondary schools, community colleges, colleges, and universities. In addition, the study of history provides an excellent background for alternative careers in museology, library and archival work, government service, historical preservation, business and marketing research, and allied research fields.

Courses for the graduate programs are to be selected from among the history courses listed in back of the Catalog and from graduate offerings in related disciplines as directed by the student’s supervisory committee. The consent of the instructor is required for admission to all courses numbered 600 and above. Courses numbered over 600, except HIST 602 and 790, may be repeated once for credit.

Master’s Degree

Intended candidates for the MA degree must present a minimum undergraduate preparation of 18 upper division credit hours in history or some closely allied field such as Asian studies or American studies. Students who lack this preparation or who wish to undertake study in an area of history other than that of their undergraduate preparation must make up deficiencies either before or during graduate study. In the latter case, the student will be admitted only conditionally, pending removal of the deficiencies.

The prospective MA candidate may select either Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis). Both plans require the intended candidate to give evidence of competence in a foreign language appropriate to the field of major interest. In addition, students in the U.S. or East Asia history areas in either Plan A or Plan B must also meet seminar distribution requirements, which raise the minimum required 600-level work to 18 credit hours.

Plan A (Thesis) Requirements

Plan A requires a minimum of 24 credit hours of graduate work, at least 15 of which must be in courses numbered 600 and above (including HIST 602), plus 6 credit hours of HIST 700 Thesis Research, a written thesis, and a final oral examination, which is a defense of the thesis

Plan B (Non-thesis) Requirements

Plan B requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate work, at least 18 of which must be in courses numbered 600 and above (including HIST 602), comprehensive examinations in two fields of history (a major and a minor), a final oral examination covering those two fields of history, and submission of two major research papers from graduate seminars, one in the major field and the other in the minor field.

Doctoral Degree

Intended candidates for the PhD degree are expected to possess the MA degree in history or its equivalent. The PhD candidate must demonstrate the capability of pursuing a successful career as a professional historian by showing initiative in historical research and by giving evidence of the ability to present findings both orally and in writing.


The candidate must prove competence by the acquisition of a broad background in general history, passing four comprehensive examinations in two broad geographic areas of history and completing an original dissertation and a final oral examination. The candidate must also demonstrate a knowledge of at least two foreign languages related to the dissertation topic; for students of American or Hawaiian history an alternative requirement may, at the discretion of the doctoral committee, be substituted for one of the languages.