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Foundation courses are intended to give students skills and perspectives that are fundamental to undertaking higher education.  Students must complete their Foundations requirement during their first year. Thus, Foundations courses are at the 100- or 200-level.

Global & Multicultural Perspectives

6 credits – 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.

Students who transfer from a non-UH System school with one or more western or world civilization courses may NEED TO take ONLY one FG course to satisfy the FG requirement. If the course or courses that they have taken are time-period specific, the credits that they take at UH Mânoa must cover a different time period, corresponding to FGA, FGB, or FGC. Please contact your school or college advisor for more information.

Students may take Diversification courses from the same department as their FG courses.

Current courses with Foundations designations can be found in the Academic Catalog.

    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.
    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.
    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.
    4. Examine processes of cross-cultural interaction and exchange that have linked the world’s peoples through time while recognizing diversity.
    5. Include at least one component on Hawaiian, Pacific, or Asian societies and their cultural traditions.
    6. 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 be able to:

    1. Global Learning (content/know): 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.
    2. Intercultural Literacy (skill based/do): Using disciplinary-based modes of inquiry, and evidence by or about diverse cultures, imagine the perspectives of people from those cultures and evaluate the complexities of interactions across cultures.
    3. 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.

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)

  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.

Quantitative Reasoning

3 credits – Develop mathematical reasoning skills at the college level. Students apply mathematical concepts to the interpretation and analysis of quantifiable information in order to solve a wide range of problems arising in pure and applied research in specific disciplines, professional settings, and/or daily life.

FS/FQ transition and implementation information available on the QR site.

Current courses with Foundations designations can be found in the Academic Catalog.

  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.
  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.
  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.

Students will be able to:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Written Communication

3 credits – Introduction 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. These courses also provide 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.

If you have Advanced Placement or transfer credit for ENG 100, ENG 200*, or ESL 100, the FW requirement is satisfied. No UHM course is needed.

  • Advanced Placement credit: A score of “4” or “5” on either of the two Advanced Placement English Exams (Language & Composition OR Literature & Composition) is equivalent to UHM’s ENG 100 course.Have your AP scores sent to the UHM Admissions Office for processing.
  • Transfer credit: If you passed a course at another college that is officially equivalent to UHM’s ENG 100, ENG 200*, or ESL 100, you have satisfied the FW requirement. Have an official transcript sent to the UHM Admissions Office for evaluation of transfer credit.

When you receive an email from Admissions saying that your AP/transfer credit evaluation is complete, check in STAR to confirm that you have credit for ENG 100, ENG 200, or ESL100.

Please note that credit for other types of English courses does not fulfill the FW requirement. Similarly, transfer students who had a writing-course requirement waived at their former school have not automatically fulfilled UHM’s FW requirement.

If you have questions, please talk to your School/College advisor or visit the Mānoa Transfer Coordination Center website.

* ENG 200 is not an FW course at UHM. However, students who transfer in with ENG 200 credit are considered to have fulfilled Mānoa’s FW requirement, because the course focuses on composition at a more advanced level. Students with ENG 200 credit should consult with a School/College advisor to confirm that they have been given FW credit for the course.

If you do not have credit for ENG 100, ENG 200*, or ESL 100, an FW course is required. Placement into an FW course is determined as follows:

  1. Native Speakers of English are given approval to take ENG 190 if they receive 25 or more transfer credits for their non-UHM courses. All other native English speakers take ENG 100 to fulfill the FW requirement.
  2. Non-Native Speakers of English are placed based on English Language Institute (ELI) exemption criteria (if exempt), or by taking the ELI’s writing placement test.
  • Those who are exempt from the ELI based on attending school for 6 years or more in the United States, American Samoa (effective Spring 2017), Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom are placed as described in the “Native speakers of English” section, above. (Students who are exempt based on years of schooling but feel their writing is more “non-native” should contact the ELI.)
  • Those who are exempt from the ELI based on other exemption criteria are placed into ESL 100. (Visit the English Language Institute website for a list of ELI exemption criteria.)
  • Those who do not meet any ELI exemption criteria must take the ELI’s writing test. Writing courses will be determined by the results of the writing section of the placement test.

Non-native speakers of English who are automatically placed into ESL 100 and exempt from all other ELI requirements may be able to submit a collection of writing to try to earn credit for/exemption from ESL 100. Students in this category who feel that they already possess the ability to write proficiently in multiple genres for academic and other audiences may contact English Language Institute to see if submitting a collection of writing might be an option for them.

Current courses with Foundations designations can be found in the Academic Catalog.

  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.
  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.
  3. require at least 5000 words of finished prose–equivalent to approximately 20 typewritten/printed pages.
  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.
  5. help students read texts and make use of a variety of sources in expressing their own ideas, perspectives, and/or opinions in writing.

Students will be able to:

  1. Identify the purpose, audience, major claims, and kinds of evidence offered in a variety of texts;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. Locate resources for the continued support of their development as writers; and
  6. Develop credibility by using appropriate language and diction, by effectively incorporating source material, and by portraying ideas in clear and clean prose.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • “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.”
  • “Information literacy” includes knowledge of and competence using Internet as well as print materials.
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