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Focus Exemptions

Undergraduate students may apply for exemption from up to three different Focus requirements if they have had one or more extraordinary college-level educational experiences that fall outside of normal university coursework and also meet appropriate Focus Hallmarks.

To earn exemption, students must demonstrate to the General Education Committee that the experience(s) fulfilled the goals of the requested Focus area(s). Approved exemptions reduce the number of courses required for the approved Focus area(s); however, they do not reduce the total number of credit hours needed to graduate. Students are limited to three exemptions. Restrictions apply.

Application Process

  1. Read through all of the Focus Exemption materials to be sure that the experience qualifies and meets the Hallmarks.
  2. Submit the application form with a statement of no more than 750 words addressing how the experience met the hallmarks and was an extraordinary educational experience.
  3. Have the sponsor complete the Sponsor Verification and Assessment Form to be included as part of your application.

Deadlines. Students must submit the application form, statement, and the Sponsor Verification and Assessment Form at least one semester prior to the anticipated semester of graduation. Students are encouraged to submit these well before the due date. Due dates:

August graduation—March 1 (or earlier)
December graduation—April 1 (or earlier)
May graduation—November 1 (or earlier)

Credits for Previous Language Experience

All students under the current General Education requirements with experience in a language other than English (including native speakers) may earn “back credits.” These students may take any UH Manoa course appropriate to their level of proficiency in which there is significant use of that language. (Appropriate level is determined by a placement exam or an advisor; significant use is determined by the course content.) Upon completion of this course, students will receive between 3 and 16 back credits if they earn a letter grade of C (not C-) or better. (The course must be the first Hawaiian or second language course taken since high school; and it must be taken for a letter grade, not CR/NC.) Back credits may be earned for only one language. Other restrictions apply. Check with the appropriate language department for details and forms.


Petition Form for Back Credits
Students may review the guidelines and submit petitions to the appropriate language department for processing.

Important: Restrictions apply. Students should read and understand the back credit policy before submitting the petition form or taking a course.

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