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Foundation courses are intended to give students skills and perspectives that are fundamental to undertaking higher education. Students must complete coursework in:

  • Global & Multicultural Perspectives (FG) (6 credits/two courses)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (FQ) (3 credits/1 course)
  • Written Communication (FW) (3 credits/1 course)


Proposing a course

UH Mānoa departments are invited to complete this proposal form for any 100- or 200-level course that meets the appropriate Foundations Hallmarks. Departments are encouraged to contact the General Education Office early in their proposal development so that consultation can be arranged with the Foundations Board.

Departments are also encouraged to submit proposals prior to the deadlines to provide sufficient time for the negotiation process that is sometimes necessary to secure approval for the desired start term.

Proposal forms – including all applicable supporting documentation – may be submitted to the General Education Office via email to

Learning Objectives, Hallmarks, and Explanatory Notes

+ Global & Multicultural Perspectives (FG)

Global and Multicultural Perspectives courses provide thematic treatments of global processes and cross-cultural interactions from a variety of perspectives. Students will gain a sense of human development from pre-history to modern times through consideration of narratives and artifacts of and from diverse cultures. At least one component of each of these courses will involve the indigenous cultures of Hawai’i, the Pacific, and Asia.


Student Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

FGLO1. Global Learning (content/know): Students will demonstrate an understanding of human development and cultural changes through time from prehistory to the present and across major regions of the globe–Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania–and with particular emphasis on the unique cultural contributions from Hawaiian, Pacific, and/or Asian societies. This includes identifying the basic role of some global and local institutions, ideas, and processes in human and natural worlds. 

FGLO2. Intercultural Literacy (skill based/do): Using disciplinary-based modes of inquiry, and evidence by or about diverse cultures, students will imagine the perspectives of people from those cultures and evaluate the complexities of interactions across cultures.

FGLO3. Personal and Social Responsibility (value):.Through interpersonal and/or intellectual engagement, students will respond to, interact with, describe, and/or analyze human cultures with sensitivity and respect.

(GEC approved revised SLOs for FG in spring 2020)


Hallmarks (numbered), Explanatory Notes (bulleted):

  1. Provide students with a large-scale analysis of human development and change over time. (Note: the two FG courses will together cover the whole time period from pre-history to present.
    • The course must fall into one of the following categories: Group A (content primarily before 1500 CE), B (content primarily after 1500 CE), or C (pre-history to present)
  2. Analyze the development of human societies and their cultural traditions through time in different regions (including Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania) and using multiple perspectives.
    • Students will study multiple perspectives across time, space, and cultures. Some of the cultural material studied should reflect cultural differences.
    • The course should not be solely about a people or a country; it needs to be a global course.
    • Clear emphasis on multiple ideologies and methodologies (e.g., capitalism vs. socialism, individualism vs. communalism, globalism vs. protectionism, or humanistic vs. scientific).
  3. Offer a broad, integrated analysis of cultural, economic, political, scientific, and/or social development that recognizes the diversity of human societies and their cultural traditions.
    • The course should offer an integrative perspective on global change and diverse cultural traditions.
    • The course should identify common themes across multiple cultures.
    • The course should recognize diversity (examples could include within and between cultures and religions, subcultures within political units, or socio-economic class differences).
  4. Examine processes of cross-cultural interaction and exchange that have linked the world’s peoples through time while recognizing diversity.
    • The course should address how processes of interaction have shaped the world’s cultural mosaic through time.
    • The course should convey an understanding of how unique cultural traditions have survived cross-cultural interactions as well as how cultures have been changed through interaction.
    • The proposal should clearly identify the parts of the course that are cross-cultural, rather than isolating cultural groups or characteristics.
    • Dimensions of cross-cultural interaction such as religion should be examined as well as modes of interaction, e.g., migration, conquest, and trade.
  5. Include at least one component on Hawaiian, Pacific, or Asian societies and their cultural traditions.
    • Students will study the development of unique cultural traditions and cross-cultural interactions from a wide variety of regions including Hawaii, the Pacific, or Asia.
  1. Engage students in the study and analysis of writings, narratives, texts, artifacts, and/or practices that represent the perspectives of different societies and cultural traditions. 
    • Students will study the development of unique cultural traditions and cross-cultural interactions
    • Students will gain an appreciation of the multiplicity of sources; there should be some balance between western and non-western sources of information (e.g., documents and text, oral traditions and performances, art, archaeological artifacts at different scales, paleontological remains, paleoenvironmental materials, or cultural landscapes).
    • Students will learn how to identify, assess, and analyze various sources of information on cultural behaviors, to organize them into systems of meaning, and to evaluate conclusions relative to the kinds of information available.
    • Students will learn how different materials can reveal different aspects of contemporary and past human development.

(Foundations Board approved 01/27/06)

+ Quantitative Reasoning (FQ)

Foundations Quantitative Reasoning (FQ) courses should strive to impart an appreciation for the relevance and usefulness of quantitative reasoning. We define quantitative reasoning as the ability to apply mathematical concepts to the interpretation and analysis of quantifiable information, expressed numerically or graphically, in order to solve a wide range of problems, from those arising in pure and applied research to everyday issues and questions. The primary goal of FQ courses is to teach mathematical reasoning and tools at the college level. While additional course material (natural science, social science, etc.) can serve as a valuable context for learning these skills, it should not overshadow the primary goal.


Student Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

FQLO1. Select an appropriate mathematical approach for a given problem or practical application, identify relevant quantities or other information for the selected approach, and verify that the assumptions and limitations of the mathematical approach selected are appropriate for the relevant practical problem;
– Herein, a “mathematical approach” refers to a set of formulas, models, algorithms, or other mathematical or statistical methods.

FQLO2. Convert relevant quantities/information into the necessary symbolic, numerical, or graphical form as needed for the selected approach;
– Conversion includes explaining the meanings of individual variables in a given context, and correctly associating quantities with their corresponding variables.

FQLO3. Use mathematical approaches successfully, including performing correct chains of algebraic steps, symbolic manipulations, and/or numerical calculations;
– Successful use also includes identifying the names and explaining the meanings of operational symbols and using them correctly in a given context.

FQLO4. Evaluate the validity of a mathematical approach and its conclusions;
– Evaluation may include: verifying correctness of solutions, where possible; reevaluating initial assumptions; assessing reasonableness of numerical results in practical applications or physical contexts; applying other accepted methods of judgment within particular disciplines.

FQLO5. Communicate final conclusions in appropriate formats.
– Appropriate formats may include symbolic expressions, graphs, or written statements.
– Final conclusion statements should reflect the outcome of deductive or statistical reasoning.


Hallmarks (numbered), Explanatory Notes (bulleted):

1.    Provide students with theoretical justifications for, and limitations of, mathematical or statistical methods, and the formulas, tools, or approaches used in the course.

2.    Include application of abstract or theoretical ideas and information to the solution of practical quantitative reasoning problems arising in pure and applied research in specific disciplines, professional settings, and/or daily and civic life.

  • A minimum of 10% of course content (lecture content, homework problems, and exam problems) should include practical examples. Faculty members are encouraged to exceed this.
  • Practical examples might involve a physical situation, professional application, or daily life. Faculty members are encouraged to situate some practical examples in a rich context.
  • Practical examples should be integrated throughout the academic term.

3.    Provide opportunities for practice and feedback that are designed to help students evaluate and improve quantitative reasoning skills by including a course component at least once per week with a maximum 30:1 student-to-teacher ratio.

  •  Examples of acceptable formats include, but are not limited to: small lectures with maximum enrollment of 30 students; large lectures with 30-student-maximum weekly recitation sections, discussion sections, or problem sessions led by trained graduate assistants or trained undergraduate peer-tutors; large lectures with weekly 30-student-maximum supervised computer lab sessions designed to reinforce and practice lecture material.
  • Acceptable training for graduate students and undergraduate peer-tutors may include, but is not limited to, University and/or Departmental start-of-semester TA training, weekly course TA meetings, or other consistent guidance and supervision by faculty.

4.    Be designed so that students will be able to:

  • Identify and convert relevant quantitative information into various forms such as equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, and/or words;
  • Select appropriate techniques or formulas, and articulate and evaluate assumptions of the selected approaches;
  • Apply mathematical tools and perform calculations (including correct manipulation of formulas);
  • Make judgments, create logical arguments, and/or draw appropriate conclusions based on the quantitative analysis of data, the assumptions made, the limitations of the analysis, and/or the reasonableness of results;
  • Effectively communicate those results in a variety of appropriate formats.
  • Individual practical examples will likely emphasize some aspects of this hallmark while omitting others. However, the course as a whole must ultimately address each aspect of this Hallmark.
  • Hallmark 4 is intended to help students identify the major components or factors involved in an analytical problem and determine the arrangement of evidence in evaluating the problem.

(Mānoa Faculty Senate approved 09/19/06; modified by the Systemwide Foundations Committee on 05/02/12)

+ Written Communication (FW)

With the Foundations-Written Communication (FW) course, students will be introduced to the rhetorical, conceptual, and stylistic demands of writing at the college level; courses give instruction in composing processes, search strategies, and composing from sources. The FW course also provides students with experiences in the library and on the Internet and enhances their skills in accessing and using various types of primary and secondary materials.


Student Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

FWLO1. Identify the purpose, audience, major claims, and kinds of evidence offered in a variety of texts;

FWLO2. Participate in academic discourse, as well as other forms of writing, by producing text with a clear purpose and audience, supported by evidence acceptable to that audience and, when applicable, using an appropriate citation style;

FWLO3. Develop recursive writing and researching processes, including identifying a controversy within a conversation or discourse community, conducting appropriate research, planning, drafting, critiquing, revising, and editing – taking into account written and oral feedback from the instructor and from peers;

FWLO4. Demonstrate essential information literacy skills, including discovering subject-specific information and arguments, understanding how information and arguments are produced and evaluated in relevant academic communities, critically evaluating claims in sources, and using source material effectively in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning;

FWLO5. Locate resources for the continued support of their development as writers; and

FWLO6. Develop credibility by using appropriate language and diction, by effectively incorporating source material, and by portraying ideas in clear and clean prose.


Hallmarks (numbered), Explanatory Notes (bulleted):

  1. Introduce students to different forms of college-level writing, including, but not limited to, academic discourse, and guide them in writing for different purposes and audiences.
    • The primary goal of W Foundations classes is learning to write. Course reading should serve as a basis for writing rather than as a body of material to be mastered per se.
    • The primary reading focus should be on expository texts. The course should consider a variety of college-level readings (e.g. summary/abstract, narrative, analysis, argument).
  2. Provide students with guided practice of writing processes–planning, drafting, critiquing, revising, and editing–making effective use of written and oral feedback from the faculty instructor and from peers.
    • There should be a coherent sequence of various types of writing studied and assigned in the course. Generally, such a sequence will move from presumably simpler to more complex rhetorical tasks (e.g. from summary to analysis/interpretation to argument, or from narrative/serialization to comparative analysis to research-based inquiry).
    • Types of interaction concerning student writing will vary and may include in-class collaborative group work (including online or hybrid instruction), instructor/student conferencing (in person and/or online), student/student peer review, and tutorial feedback as available.
  3. Require at least 5000 words of finished prose–equivalent to approximately 20 typewritten/printed pages.
    • “Finished prose” is defined as writing which has received peer and/or instructor feedback, has usually undergone student revision, and has been formally evaluated by the instructor. Writing such as journal entries, e-mail letters, pre-writing exercises, unrevised in-class writing, or feedback to peers should not normally be considered “finished prose.”
  4. Help students develop information literacy by teaching search strategies, critical evaluation of information and sources, and effective selection of information for specific purposes and audiences; teach appropriate ways to incorporate such information, acknowledge sources and provide citations.
    • “Information literacy” includes knowledge of and competence using Internet as well as print materials.
  5. Help students read texts and make use of a variety of sources in expressing their own ideas, perspectives, and/or opinions in writing.


(Foundations Board approved 04/21/06)

Approved Foundations Courses at UHM

+ Global & Multicultural Perspectives (FG)

The following courses have received the Foundations Global and Multicultural Perspectives (FG) designation.


Group A  covers the time period prehistory to 1500 (FGA)

  • ANTH 151, 151A, Emerging Humanity (F02-SS28)
  • ART 175, 175A, Survey of Global Art I (F02-SS27)
  • HIST 151, World History to 1500 (F02-SS27)
  • HIST 161A, World Cultures in Perspective (F02-SS27)
  • OCN 105/SUST 115, Sustainability in a Changing World (F15-SS28)
  • PHIL 130, Introduction to World Philosophy I (F18-SS26)
  • REL/WGSS 149, Introduction to the World’s Goddesses (F17-SS25)
  • SUST 115/OCN 105, Sustainability in a Changing World (F15-SS28)
  • WGSS/REL 149, Introduction to the World’s Goddesses (F17-SS25)
  • WGSS 175, History of Gender, Sex, and Sexuality in Global Perspectives to 1500 CE (F07-SS28)

Group B  covers the time period 1500 to modern times (FGB)

  • AMST 150, 150A, America and the World (F03-SS27)
  • ANTH 152, 152A, Culture and Humanity (F02-SS28)
  • ART 176, 176A, Survey of Global Art II (F02-SS27)
  • FSHN 141, Culture and Cuisine: The Global Diversity of Food (SS11-SS26)
  • GEO 102, World Regional Geography (F02-SS27)
  • HAW 100, Language in Hawai‘i: A Microcosm of Global Language Issues (F12-SS27)
  • HIST 152, World History since 1500 (F02-SS27)
  • HIST 158, Global History of Food (F24-SS27) *effective Fall 2024*
  • HIST 162A, World Cultures in Perspective (F02-SS27)
  • LAIS 120, Islands/Islas/Ilhas and Global Exchange (F22-SS25)
  • LING 105, Language Endangerment, Globalization, and Indigenous Peoples (F12-SS28)
  • MUS 105, Musical Meaning: How Music Shapes Identity (F24-SS27) *effective Fall 2024*
  • MUS 107, 107A, Music in World Cultures (F23-SS28)
    Formerly offered with an FGC designation, F02-SS23
  • PHIL 131, Introduction to World Philosophy II (F18-SS26)
  • POLS 150, Introduction to Global Politics (F15-SS28)
  • POLS 160/SOC 180, Introduction to International and Global Studies (S16-SS27)
    Cross-listed with SOC 180 effective Fall 2020
  • REL/SUST 170, Religion and the Environment (F21-SS29)
  • SOC 180/POLS 160, Introduction to International and Global Studies (S16-SS27)
    Cross-listed with POLS 160 effective Fall 2020
  • SPED 202, Global and Historical Perspectives of Disability in the Media (S20-F27)
  • SUST/REL 170, Religion and the Environment (F21-SS29)
  • TIM 102, 102A, Food and World Cultures (F11-SS26)
  • WGSS 176, History of Gender, Sex and Sexuality in Global Perspective, 1500 CE to the Present (F08-SS28)

Group C covers the time period prehistory to modern times (FGC)

  • BOT 107, 107A, Plants, People, and Culture (F18-SS28)
    Formerly offered as BOT 105, 105A, Ethnobotany (F07-SS12 and S14-SS18)
  • ERTH 135, Natural Disasters and Human History (S18-F25)
  • GEO 151, Geography and Contemporary Society (F02-SS27)
  • HIST 156, World History of Human Disease (F13-SS28)
  • HIST/SUST 157, Global Environmental History (F19-SS27)
  • POLS 140, Introduction to Indigenous Politics (F19-SS27)
  • REL 150, Introduction to the World’s Major Religions (F02-SS27)
  • SLS 150, Learning Languages and Communicating Interculturally in a Global Multilingual World (F18-SS26)
  • SUST/HIST 157, Global Environmental History (F19-SS27)

Courses with expired FG designations or that are no longer offered

  • BOT 105, 105A, Ethnobotany (FGC: F07-SS12 and S14-SS18)
    now offered as BOT 107, 107A
  • CLAS 151, World Myth to 1500 C.E. (FGA: F14-SS22)
  • GEOG 151A, Geography and Contemporary Society Honors (FGC: F02-F06)
  • HIST 155, Issues in World History (FGB: S04-SS09)
  • LLEA 151, World Myth to 1500 C.E. (FGA: F14-S20)
  • LLL 150, Literature and Social Change (FGC: F04-SS16)
  • REL 150A, Introduction to the World’s Major Religions Honors (FGC: F02-F06)
  • SOCS 180, Introduction to International and Global Studies (FGB: SS14-SS22)
    Formerly cross-listed with POLS 160 and SOC 180

+ Quantitative Reasoning (FQ, FQ/FS, and FS)

Effective Fall 2018, Quantitative Reasoning (FQ) replaces Symbolic Reasoning (FS) as a General Education requirement.

To ensure there is adequate time for students who entered the UH System prior to Fall 2018 to complete their FS requirement, FS-FQ courses will be offered through Summer 2023 at UH Mānoa and through Summer 2020 at UH community colleges.

The following courses have received the Foundations Quantitative Reasoning (FQ) designation.


FQ Courses

  • ANTH 220, Quantitative Reasoning for Anthropologists (F18-SS26)
  • BIOL/BOT 220, Biostatistics (S21-F28)
  • BOT/BIOL 220, Biostatistics (S21-F28)
  • BUS 250*, Applied Math in Business (F23-SS28) (FS F03-SS18, FS/FQ F18-SS23)
  • COMG 102, Everyday Communication with Numbers: A Survival Guide (S19-F26)
  • ERTH 102/SUST 113, Quantifying Global and Environmental Change (F18-SS26), formerly GG 102
  • ICS 141, Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science I  (F23-SS28) (FS F02-SS18, FS/FQ F18-SS23)
  • MATH 100, Survey of Mathematics (F23-SS28) (FS F02-SS18, FS/FQ F18-SS23)
  • MATH 112*, Math for Elementary Teachers II (F23-SS28) (FS F05-SS18, FS/FQ F18-SS23)
  • MATH 140X**, Precalculus (F23-SS28) (FS F02-SS18, FS/FQ F18-SS23)
  • MATH 161, Precalculus and Elements of Calculus for Economics and the Social Sciences (F23-SS28) (FS SS11-SS18, FS/FQ F18-SS23)
  • MATH 203**, Calculus for Business and Social Sciences (F23-SS28) (FS F02-SS18, FS/FQ F18-SS23)
  • MATH 215**, Applied Calculus I (F23-SS28) (FS F02-SS18, FS/FQ F18-SS23)
  • MATH 241**, Calculus I (F23-SS28) (FS F02-SS18, FS/FQ F18-SS23)
  • MATH 251A**, Accelerated Calculus I (F23-SS28) (FS F02-SS18, FS/FQ F18-SS23)
  • NREM 203, Applied Calculus for Management, Life Sciences, and Human Resources (F23-SS28) (FS F03-SS18, FS/FQ F18-SS23)
  • PH 210, Quantitative Reasoning for Public Health (F18-SS26)
  • PHIL 111, Introduction to Inductive Logic (F18-SS28) (FS F03-SS18)
  • SLS 170, Language by the Numbers (F24-SS27) *effective Fall 2024*
  • SOC 176, Introduction to Data Analysis (F19-SS27)
  • SUST 113/ERTH 102, Quantifying Global and Environmental Change (F18-SS26)
  • UNIV 102, Using Data to Guide the Career Search (F20-SS28)


Courses with expired FS or FQ designations or that are no longer offered

  • ATMO/ERTH/OCN 150, Introduction to Quantitative Earth and Environmental Science (FQ: F18-SS21)
  • ECON 301, Intermediate Microeconomics (FS: F03-S08)
  • ERTH/ATMO/OCN 150, Introduction to Quantitative Earth and Environmental Science (FQ: F18-SS21)
  • ICS 241*, Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science II (FS: F02-SS18)
  • MATH 100A, Survey of Mathematics Honors (FS: F02-SS12)
  • MATH 111, Math for Elementary Teachers I (FS: F03-SS05)
  • MATH 215A, Applied Calculus I Honors (FS: F02-SS12)
  • MATH 241A, Calculus I Honors (FS: F02-SS12)
  • MATH 251, Accelerated Calculus (FS: F02-SS07)
  • OCN/ATMO/ERTH 150, Introduction to Quantitative Earth and Environmental Science (FQ: F18-SS21)
  • PHIL 110, 110A, Introduction to Deductive Logic (FS: F02-SS18)
  • SOCS 150, Street Science: Evaluating and Applying Evidence in Daily Life (FS: F11-SS14)

“A” courses are offered by the Selected Studies/Honors Program

* Has a prerequisite.
** Requires placement by Math Department’s Precalculus Assessment; visit

+ Written Communication (FW)

The following courses have received the Foundations Written Communication (FW) designation.

  • AMST 111, Introduction to American Studies Writing (F16-SS29)
  • ASAN 150, Introduction to Research and Writing in Asian Studies (F24-SS27) *effective Fall 2024*
  • DNCE/THEA 100, Introduction to Stage, Screen, and New Media Writing (F24-SS27) *effective Fall 2024*
  • EALL 100, Writing East Asia (F24-SS27) *effective Fall 2024*
  • ENG 100, 100A, Composition I (F02-SS27)
  • ENG 190, Composition I for Transfer Students to UHM (F09-SS27)
  • ESL 100, Composition I for Second Language Writers (S14-SS27)
    Formerly ELI 100 (F02-F13)
  • THEA/DNCE 100 Introduction to Stage, Screen, and New Media Writing (F24-SS27) *effective Fall 2024*

Courses with expired FW designations or that are no longer offered

  • ENG 101 & 101L, Composition I & Composition Lab (F02-S09)
  • ELI 100, Composition I for Second Language Writers (F02-F13) offered as ESL 100 beginning S14

General Information About Designations

  1. Students must complete their Foundations requirement during their first year. Thus, Foundations courses must be at the 100- or 200-level.
  2. All instructors of the course must agree to meet the appropriate Foundations Hallmarks because all sections will have the Foundations designation every time the course is offered.
  3. A new course must be approved by the department and college prior to submission of a proposal.
  4. The course description in the upcoming Catalog must be consistent with Foundations Hallmarks. In some cases, this will require modifications to the official course description.
  5. Once given a Foundations designation, the course cannot have a Focus or Diversification designation. Students can take Foundations and Diversification courses from the same department.
  6. Once approved, the designation will maintain for three years for first-time proposals and five years for renewals. During the approval period, the General Education Committee will assess the course in light of the goals of the Foundations requirement. The department will need to begin the process to renew the designation approximately one year prior to expiration in order to maintain continuous approval.

Have any questions about the teaching areas listed here? You can review our list of current board members and GEO liaisons.

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