2540 Maile Way
Spalding 253
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-4321
Fax: (808) 956-4599
Email: olelouhm@hawaii.edu
Web: hshk/kawaihuelani/


*Graduate Faculty

*R. Lopes Jr., PhD (Director)—revitalization of Hawaiian language; applied learning of mele; Ka Waihona A Ke Aloha, Ka Papahana Ho‘oheno Mele, An interactive resource center for the promotion, preservation and perpetuation of mele and mele practitioners
*A. K. Wong, PhD (Graduate Chair)—Hawaiian language instruction and culture through Ni‘ihau language, curriculum development, native Hawaiian language speaker from Ni‘ihau
P. K. Ah Mook Sang, MA—Hawaiian language and culture; curriculum development, educational philosophies and foundations with focus on community engagement through political activism and organizing, pedagogy with emphasis on social constructivism
*C. M. K. Baker, PhD—Hawaiian discourse grammar, syntax, literature, folklore, construction of Hawaiian identity through language, Hawaiian language theatre, linguistic anthropology
F. E. K. Damas, MA—Hawaiian language instruction focused in comprehensible input, literature, mele, and hula
*K. de Silva, PhD—political and poetic discourses of aloha ‘āina; revitalization of Hawaiian language, literature, lands, and people through print media, mele, and storytelling
*R. Koga, MA—Hawaiian and English language and literature, language teaching and learning
J. K. Lono, MA—Hawaiian language, literature and culture; Hawaiian 100 FGB; Summer Bridge UHM Athletics
K. K. Lucas, MEd—Hawaiian language learning and instruction
E. Martin Jr., MA—innovative Hawaiian language instruction and curriculum development; Hawaiian literature and culture; archival and primary resource research, analysis, and translation; post-colonial theory and its application to Hawai‘i
P. Niau-Puhipau—Hawaiian language and culture, native Hawaiian language speaker from Ni‘ihau
*K. R. K. Oliveira, PhD—innovative instruction of Hawaiian language through various cultural activities, Hawaiian place names and land tenure
A. Rozet, MA—archival and historical analysis of ali‘i letters, Hawaiian language curriculum development and instruction in immersion camp settings
*M. L. K. Saffery, PhD—approaches to ‘āina education that honor and nurture the development of kanaka-‘āina (people-land) relationships in all aspects of the curriculum and pedagogy, ‘ōiwi research methodologies, development of culturally grounded, interdisciplinary Hawaiian language undergraduate and graduate curriculum
*R. Solis, PhD—Hawaiian language learning and instruction, Hawaiian religion, newspaper translating and broadcasting
J. K. Stone, MA—‘Āina-based Hawaiian language learning and instruction focusing on traditional food systems; curriculum development through a comprehensible input approach
C. K. Tabor, MA—Hawaiian language acquisition and instruction; curriculum development
N. H. Williams-Solomon, MA— Hawaiian language pedagogy, revitalization, linguistic ideologies, translation theory, morphosyntax
*K. L. Wong, PhD—revitalization of Hawaiian language and people
M. K. Wong, MA—Hawaiian language and culture, Paniolo practices and lifestyle.

Degrees and Certificates Offered: Undergraduate Certificate in Hawaiian, minor in Hawaiian Immersion Education, BA (including minor) in Hawaiian, MA in Hawaiian

The Academic Program

Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language (HAW) offers an undergraduate certificate, a minor in Hawaiian, a minor in Hawaiian Immersion Education, and bachelor and master’s degrees in Hawaiian. The center conducts research in relevant fields of study and offers four years of language study as well as courses on immersion education, curriculum development, and topics of relevant Hawaiian cultural content. In partnership with Ho‘okulāiwi: ‘Aha Ho‘ona‘auao ‘Ōiwi (Center for Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Education), Kawaihuelani trains teachers for Hawaiian immersion schools, public schools with Hawaiian language courses, Hawaiian charter schools, and the UH Mānoa program. The faculty and staff of Kawaihuelani create and implement projects and programs that promote Hawaiian language, culture, history, and traditions such as: Ka Hālau Hanakeaka, Ho‘okūlaiwi: ‘Aha Ho‘ona‘auao ‘Ōiwi (Center for Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Education), Kauakūkalahale, Kaulakahi Aloha, Ke Aolama, Lā Mānaleo, Lā Mele, Mary Kawena Pukui Hale, Ka Waihona a ke Aloha, Ka Waihuna o ka Na‘auao, and Mauiakama.

Undergraduate Study

BA Degree in Hawaiian

Program Student Learning Objectives

Upon completion of a BA in Hawaiian, students should be able to:

  • Engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions on more abstract topics at an advanced level of fluency and accuracy. (Speaking)
  • Present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners at an advanced level of fluency and accuracy. (Speaking)
  • Understand and interpret spoken Hawaiian at an advanced level on a variety of topics beyond the immediacy of the situation. (Listening Comprehension)
  • Comprehend and interpret a wide variety of texts written in Hawaiian that are more conceptually abstract and linguistically complex, and/or texts that focus on unfamiliar topics and situations (e.g. primary source materials like literature, poetry, newspaper articles written by native speakers of Hawaiian). (Reading Comprehension)
  • Present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of readers in a variety of more lengthy written forms about a number of possible topics using advanced vocabulary, expressions, and structures. (Writing)
  • Deepen understanding of and respect for the Hawaiian culture and its people through the study of unique practices, perspectives, issues, and products of the culture that are expressed through and embedded in the Hawaiian language. (Culture, Comparisons & Connections and Communities)
  • Continue to develop insight into the nature of language and culture by comparing Hawaiian language and culture to other languages and cultures. (Culture, Comparisons & Connections and Communities)
  • Expand and broaden appropriate application of Hawaiian language and culture in authentic settings within and beyond the classroom in order to connect to other disciplines, contexts, and domains, access information, and interact with others in the Hawaiian language community. (Culture, Comparisons & Connections and Communities)


Students pursuing a BA in Hawaiian must complete 120 non-repeated credit hours, including the General Education Requirements (see the “Undergraduate General Education Requirements” section), Hawai‘inuiākea undergraduate school requirements, and Hawaiian major requirements.

School Requirements

In addition to completing major requirements, all undergraduate majors of Hawai‘inuiākea (HAW, HWST, double, and concurrent majors) must complete the following 15 credits of school required course work from both Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies and Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language that represent the foundation of our field of Hawaiian knowledge and also fulfill General Education Requirements of UH Mānoa. These school requirements do not apply to students pursuing a minor or certificate in Hawaiian.

  • HWST 107, 270 and HAW 100, 301, 302 with a GPA of 3.0 or better

Major Requirements

  • GPA of 2.0 in all UH Mānoa registered credit hours
  • 33 credit hours above HAW 202 with a GPA of 3.0 or better, including:
  • 24 core credits:
    – HAW 321, 331, 332, 401, 402, 433, and 452
    – 1 course (3 credits) from this list of mele (poetry, song, dance, chant) courses: HAW 383, 384, 427, 483, or 484
  • 9 electives credits: HAW 345, 373, 383, 384, 425, 426, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 434, 435B, 435C, 445, 453, 454, 462B, 462C, 462D, 463, 466, 470, 483, 484, 485, 486, 488, 490, and 499
  • A maximum of 3 credit hours from HAW 284, MAO 102, SAM 102, MUS 312, 412, 413, SLS 430, LLEA 371, LING 445 may be counted towards the electives
  • If majors choose to take a repeatable HAW class for a second time (HAW 321, 345, 383, 433, 470, 485, 486, 499), the highest grade and credits will be counted towards the major while the lower grade and credits will only count towards their UH electives, NOT the major.
  • Students must earn a grade of C or better for all Hawaiian Language courses that serve as prerequisites for other Hawaiian Language courses. Students who do not meet this requirement will not be permitted to register for the next level of Hawaiian Language.
  • For Hawaiian Language majors, a grade of B- or better is required for 300-400 level Hawaiian courses counted towards the Hawaiian Language major.

Students admitted to the BA program prior to Fall 2015 should consult an advisor to review changes that may affect their programs.

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


Kawaihuelani offers two undergraduate minors. One in Hawaiian and one in Hawaiian Immersion Education.

Minor in Hawaiian

The overall purpose of the minor in Hawaiian is to provide an undergraduate learning opportunity tailored to classified students who are interested in Hawaiian Language as a second discipline of specialization that will complement their major studies, support their future work in and for the Hawaiian community, and/or empower their growth and development as Native Hawaiians. Acceptance into the minor follows:

  • Completion of 25 credits of university work with a 2.0 cumulative and major GPA
  • Admission to an appropriate academic major
  • Successful completion of HAW 101, 102, 201, and 202.


  • 18 credit hours of non-introductory Hawaiian Language courses (beyond 202) including:
    – 12 credit hours in continuing Hawaiian language study (HAW 301, 302, 401, and 402
    – 6 credit hours from HAW elective courses at the 300-400 level in various content areas
  • A 3.0 GPA in courses leading to the minor
  • A grade of B- or better is required for all Hawaiian Language courses counted towards the Hawaiian Language minor.

Minor in Hawaiian Immersion Education

In collaboration with Ho‘okulāiwi: ‘Aha Ho‘ona‘auao ‘Ōiwi (Center for Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Education) housed within the College of Education, Kawaihuelani administers a minor in Hawaiian Immersion Education to prepare secondary subject area teachers for the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program in the Department of Education. If you are interested in this minor, please contact Kawaihuelani’s director. For more information on dual teaching licensure, please contact the College of Education’s Office of Student Academic Services.


On recommendation of the Center for Hawaiian Language, UH Mānoa confers certification of achievement in Hawaiian language.


  • 15 credit hours beyond the intermediate level in Hawaiian, including:
    – 6 credit hours in continuing language study
    – 9 credit hours in language, literature, or structure courses selected to complement the major field of study
  • A 3.0 GPA in courses leading to the certificate is required
  • A grade of B- or better is required for all Hawaiian language courses counted towards the Hawaiian language certificate.

Combined Bachelor’s-and-Master’s (BAM) Pathway in Hawaiian and Teaching

Effective Fall 2021, in collaboration with the College of Education, Kawaihuelani offers a combined Bachelor of Arts in Hawaiian (HAW) and Master of Education in Teaching (MEdT) pathway that helps students earn both degrees in five years, including teacher certification leading to licensure. For more information contact Academic Advisor Pôhai Bell (olelouhm@hawaii.edu) or Curriculum Specialist, Dr. Maya Saffery (msaffery@hawaii.edu).

Graduate Study

Master’s Degree

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 Kula 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 newly established Mary Kawena Pukui Hale: Center for the Survival and Promotion of Hawaiian.
  • Kâlai‘ôlelo. The Kālai‘ōlelo curricula focuses on the linguistic analysis of Hawaiian.

Program Student Learning Objectives

Upon completion of a MA in Hawaiian, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate comprehension of traditional literary texts. (Reading Comprehension)
  • Demonstrate understanding and interpretation of various levels of spoken Hawaiian, including but not limited to native speaker dialog. (Listening Comprehension)
  • Offer a quality* public presentation in Hawaiian (Speaking)
    *Quality defined as proper use of the Hawaiian language and demonstration of Hawaiian concepts (i.e., welina, hua ‘ōlelo, pilina ‘ōlelo, ‘ōlelo no‘eau, kūkulu mana‘o, kuana‘ike)
  • Demonstrate competence in formal writing skills that have practical/contemporary application (Writing)
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply cultural norms in a range of communicative settings (professional, community, etc.)  (Culture)
  • Construct a culturally sensitive research project that utilizes/analyzes relevant existing resources and methods and contributes to the overall Hawaiian knowledge base (Research)

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Hawaiian Language program is for the fall semester only. Prospective students must have completed a bachelor’s degree, 18 upper-division credit hours in Hawaiian, and HAW 402 (or equivalent) prior to applying. In addition to meeting the requirements of Graduate Division, prospective students must also submit the following application materials:

Send to graduate chair via mail or email:

  • Three (3) current letters of recommendation from the applicant’s former professors. At least one letter must be from a Hawaiian Language faculty member (not to include GTAs, lecturers, or academic advisors). Unsigned letters of recommendation will not be accepted.

Upload to the Graduate Application Supplemental Documents Upload site:

  • Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language Graduate Application Form
  • A two-page statement of objectives written in Hawaiian describing the applicant’s proposed thesis topic and its basic relationship to the interdisciplinary field of Hawaiian Language.

Prospective students who advance to the second round of review will be given a written and oral examination as well as an interview in Hawaiian.

Note: Application materials are available on the Kawaihuelani website or from the Native Hawaiian Student Services Office in Kamakakūokalani Room 211.

Degree Requirements

  • tudents 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 Mo‘olelo (Narrative Writing
    • HAW 602 Kākā‘ōlelo Oratory (Hawaiian Speech Styles)
    • HAW 604 Haku Palapala Noi Laeo‘o/Writing a Hawaiian Master’s Proposal
  • Choose one of the two courses below:
    – HAW 605 Ka Hana Noi‘i (Research Methods)
    – HAW 612 Nā Mana‘o Politika Hawai‘i (Hawaiian Political Thought)

    • HAW 615 Kuana‘ike (World View)
    • HAW 652 Pilina ‘Ōlelo (Grammar)
  • Thesis (Plan A) and Project/Non-thesis (Plan B) options are offered.
    • 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.
    • Students completing a Plan B project/non-thesis will enroll in 6 credits of HAW 695. This capstone course is the culminating experience where the student 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/haumâna relationship with a mânaleo (native speaker), kupuna (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.

For more information on the MA in Hawaiian, contact the graduate chair through the departmental office.

Dual Master’s Degree Program

Students may pursue a Master’s in Hawaiian and a second master’s concurrently in Library and Information Science. Students enrolled in either program may apply for admission in the other degree program. The dual master’s option allows sharing of elective courses. For more information, contact the HAW graduate chair or a LIS advisor.

Credits for Previous Hawaiian Language Experience

Back Credits Policy & Procedures

Please refer to the Hawaiian and Second Language Policy on Back Credits available in the “General Education” section of the Catalog.

Definition: Back credits are credits received for previous language experience that do not qualify as transfer credits.

Eligibility: All students (including native speakers of a language and non-UH System students) with experience in Hawaiian language may be eligible to earn 3 to 16 back credits.

One Language: Back credits may be earned for ONLY ONE language and will be based on the first instance of taking a course for a letter grade in that language at UH Mānoa. A repeated or backtrack course is NOT eligible for back credits.

Students who wish to earn back credits for Hawaiian language shall:

  1. Make arrangements with Kawaihuelani’s academic advisor to take the Hawaiian language placement exam.
  2.  Complete the Hawaiian language placement exam in order to determine the appropriate level HAW course for the student.
  3. Enroll (for letter grade) in the Hawaiian language course that the student was placed into after completing the Hawaiian language placement exam.
  4. Earn a grade of C or better (not C-) in the Hawaiian language course that the student was placed. Back credits will not be awarded if a student does not receive a grade of C or better for the class the student was placed. The grade of C or better must be earned on the first time the course was taken. A grade of C/NC is not eligible for back credits.
  5. Make arrangements to complete forms with Kawaihuelani’s academic advisor to receive back credits. Back credits are not automatically awarded. To receive back credits, students must complete a petition form with Kawaihuelani’s academic advisor. Submit the petition form the semester after the student’s satisfactory completion of the language course, but no later than one semester before graduation.
  6. Kawaihuelani’s academic advisor shall award from 3 to 16 back credits based on the course the student successfully completed with a grade of C or better. Back credits are earned with no grade assigned.

Transfer Credits Policy and Procedures

Please refer to the UH Mānoa Policy for Transfer Credits.  Access: admissions/policies.html#mini-three.

Definition: Transfer credits are credits received for previous language courses completed at another institute of higher education that articulate with UH Mānoa language courses. Transfer credits accepted for language courses completed at another institution of higher education are not eligible for back credits.

Eligibility: Majors and non-majors may request an evaluation of their Hawaiian language transfer credits, however, the request cannot be formally processed and approved until a student has been admitted to a program leading to a degree and has confirmed their intention to enroll.

  1. Students shall submit to Kawaihuelani’s academic advisor: (a) a completed “Request for Evaluation of Transfer Credits” form available at the Office of Admissions; as well as (b) supporting documents for each course requesting to be evaluated (include syllabus, course description, final product/assignment, and textbook(s)/reading(s) used). If supporting documents are not available, the Kawaihuelani Curriculum Committee may request a short interview with students to assess their Hawaiian language proficiency and to ask them about the courses in question (what was learned, what did you do, etc.).
  2. The advisor will review the transfer credit petition to assure all required forms and supporting documents (listed above) are included and will check and printout the student’s transcript on STAR.
  3. The advisor will then send the entire transfer credit petition (forms, documents, and transcript) to Kawaihuelani’s Curriculum Committee for review and decision-making on a case-by-case basis. The Curriculum Committee is encouraged to include faculty with specific expertise when needed. The committee will review requests twice a semester, or as needed.
  4. Possible outcomes of the committee review may include:
    a. the outside course has already been articulated with UH Mānoa, so the credits will transfer and count as the articulated HAW course;
    b. the outside course is deemed equivalent to a HAW course even though it has not been officially articulated, so the credits will transfer and count as the equivalent HAW course;
    c. UH Mānoa does not have an equivalent course, but committee finds the outside course valuable and in line with the scope/mission of the program/degree, so the credits will transfer and count for an HAW upper-division elective; or
    d. the outside course is not equivalent to an existing HAW course and does not align with the scope/mission of the program/degree so credits will not be counted towards any HAW course.
  5. Final decisions of the Curriculum Committee will be communicated to the director and academic advisor, who will notify the student of the decision and guide them with finalizing the transfer credits process.


Chris Grootaert Endowed Hawai‘inuiākea Scholarship Fund

This scholarship supports degree-seeking undergraduate students in Hawaiian Studies or Hawaiian Language at UH Mānoa’s Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.

Dorothy M. Kahananui Scholarship in Hawaiian Language

This scholarship is offered to students who have successfully completed at least the intermediate level of Hawaiian language, with preference given to doctoral or master’s degree candidates who plan to teach the language. The minimum amount of the award is resident tuition at UH Mānoa.

Harry Ka‘ano‘ilani Fuller and June Kamioka-Fuller “Limakokua” Endowed Scholarship

Offered to full-time students pursuing a degree or certificate at the Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language with preference to students pursuing a degree in another major in addition to Hawaiian language outside of the Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge and those who demonstrate volunteerism and community service. Funds shall be used for costs associated with attendance (e.g., tuition, books, fees, etc.).

Karen Elaine Chandler Endowed Hawai‘inuiākea Scholarship Fund for Hawaiian Studies, Dance, and Music

This scholarship supports degree-seeking undergraduate students in Hawaiian Studies or Hawaiian Language at UH Mānoa’s Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.

Lokomaika‘iokalani Snakenberg Hawaiian Language Graduate Scholarship

Offered to encourage graduate-level research and study for students specializing in Hawaiian language and related fields, this scholarship provides an award of up to $5,000 per semester to students registered in graduate programs at UH Mānoa.

Red Mandarin and Lady Yi-Suen Shen Scholarship in Hawaiian Studies

Offered to undergraduate students in Hawaiian Studies at UH Mānoa, this scholarship covers tuition for the academic year. It is awarded to a degree candidate who demonstrates exceptional promise and achievement. Applicants must be pursuing a program of study that shows a central commitment to Hawaiian Studies, including Hawaiian language.

To Apply for These Scholarships

  1. Connect to star.hawaii.edu;
  2. Log in with your username and password or ID number;
  3. Select scholarship tab;
  4. Search for scholarships;
  5. Follow the directions for each scholarship.