GenEd at UHM
About General Education

Teacher Resources




Hawaiian or Second Language

Faculty Committees & Boards

Articulation & Transfer


GenEd requirements

Faculty governance

Essay on GenEd reform



Features of the GenEd Program

Greater student say in what students study.

  • Students choose a sequence of courses that best fits their needs and goals instead of taking a “one-size-fits-all” core curriculum.

Enriched first-year curriculum.

  • Faculty in many departments can modify existing courses and create new courses to meet Foundations criteria. Previously, only a few departments offered Foundations courses.

Flexibility makes graduation in 4 years possible.

  • A GenEd Core of 31 credits with many choices (including more than a thousand upper-division courses) has replaced the previous Core which required 40 credits and offered few choices.

  • Transfer credits from other colleges and universities are more likely to count toward UHM GenEd Requirements because decision is based on criteria-governed standards rather than “course equivalent” definitions.

  • Students who transfer to UHM with Junior or Senior standing do not have to “back track” by taking lower-division courses because Diversification and Focus classes are offered at the 300- and 400-level. In addition, students are required to take several upper-division Focus classes.

New attention paid to social needs.

  • Students take Focus classes which emphasize Hawaiian, Asian, & Pacific Issues; Contemporary Ethical Issues; Oral Communication; and Writing.

  • Faculty members across the curriculum are encouraged to offer Focus classes within their subject areas and for students in their Majors.

Student’s Major is central to educational coherence.

  • Flexibility in GenEd Requirements and the variety of choices allows the GenEd Program to complement a Major’s requirements, not conflict with them.

  • Students complete their Diversification and Focus requirements throughout their 4 years (instead of in their first 2 years) by taking courses that suit their personal and professional goals.

Diversification courses range from 100- to 400-level and are offered by most UHM colleges/schools. Students are required to complete at least 4 Focus classes at the 300- or 400-level.

Credits and waivers are available to students who enter with college-level competencies.

  • Students with prior language experience can receive 3-16 “back credits” by taking a non-introductory-level language course.

  • Students with extraordinary educational experience can receive a Focus or Diversification course waiver.

On-going assessment built into the Program.

  • Faculty Boards review course proposals to ensure that the GenEd criteria are met.

  • Faculty Boards will periodically review course effectiveness and student learning outcomes.



General Education Office · 2545 McCarthy Mall, Bilger Hall 104 · Honolulu, HI 96822 · (808) 956-6660 · 

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