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General Questions for Potential Applicants

Q1: What regulations does UH have regarding student health insurance?
A key point, for potential international students, is that you must have approved health insurance, in order to be a registered UHM international student.
Q2: What graduate assistantship and job opportunities are there on campus and off campus?
As a graduate student, you are eligible to apply for any and all Graduate Assistantships (GA) at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. Currently advertised GA positions can be found at In the search bar, type in Graduate Assistant and be sure that the Department column indicates University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. Full-time campus positions can also be found at this website.

For relevant job opportunities off campus, consider subscribing to Contact to sign up for weekly job announcements.
Q3: How much is the tuition for the SLS programs?
A common full-time load for graduate students is 9 credits. For Fall 2020, resident tuition will be $5,850 a semester (not including student fees) and non-resident tuition will be $12,618 a semester (not including student fees).

Legal residents of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) member states can enroll at a reduced tuition of 150 percent of the resident tuition. Please check this website ( to see if you are eligible for reduced tuition.

Q4: Can I transfer courses and credits to the MA from my previous graduate study?
Graduate Division Requirements for transfer of credits can be found at: Note that credits counted toward a previous degree are not allowed. So, you would need a statement that the courses you would like to transfer did not count toward your previous degree. Also, any courses to be accepted by the Department need to be approved through the Graduate Faculty. You will need to provide course syllabi so that equivalence with SLS MA courses may be established.
Q5: Is it possible for new students to get graduate assistantship appointments?
Most new PhD students are offered first semester GAships; it is rare for first semester MA students to receive a GAship. However, in some cases it is possible. However, there is no way for the Graduate Chair to estimate the probability of any MA applicant to receive a GAship offer prior to the beginning of the term.
Q6: Is it possible for international students to get a scholarship or assistantship at the beginning of the program?
International students are just as eligible to receive GAships as are domestic students. The Department also has Graduate Assistant positions and some tuition support awards. However, it is not possible to predict the possibility of such an offer, since the offer is based upon a ranking of all accepted candidates by the admission committee. Thus, we encourage all interested applicants to apply. Any possible financial support information will be available after admission decisions are made and applicants are ranked.
Q7: How long does it take to complete the MA?
The length of time for the MA varies depending upon the student. The most common lengths are 4 or 5 semesters. This depends upon the number of credits that a student takes each semester, as well as how long it takes the student to complete the thesis or scholarly paper.
Q8: Do students from the MA go on for the PhD at UH?
Each year, several students go on for a PhD both here at UH and also programs at Stanford, British Columbia, Penn State, Northern Arizona State, and other very fine universities.
Q9: Can any of the degree courses be taken online?
At the present time, one of our undergraduate degree courses (SLS 302: Second Language Learning) is offered partially online. None of the graduate degree courses are currently offered online.
Q:10 What’s the cost of housing and how can I find a place to stay in Honolulu?
It has to be admitted that Honolulu is an expensive place for rental accomodation. What can you expect, when it has perfect weather year-round, a fascinating multicultural population, is small-scale enough to get around easily, is one of the safest cities in the USA, and you can be at the beach or the mountains either way in half an hour.
A rough answer to the housing question, based on a recent scan of the off-campus housing list this month (Sept 2012) produces examples such as boarding house, $700/month; room in private home, $600 – $700/month, studios $600 (very low end) to $925 (and of course higher), 1 bedroom apts $1000/month and up. A recent check on local off-campus dormitories produced (first example): dorm rooms at $600/month (Buddhist dorm); (second example): shared (double) dorm rooms at $650, singles at $995 (ok, that place has a pool and is adjacent to campus). The information is easily accessible through basic web searches (using strings like <dormitory Honolulu>, etc).
1) Contact the Dept of SLS student association, SLSSA, for suggestions.
2) One of our ELT programs, the Hawai‘i English Language Program (HELP), utilizes the services of a Housing Coordinator, and a range of options from hotel rooms, dorm rooms, to studios, can be obtained. There is even an airport pick-up service, for a price.
3) The UH Off-Campus Housing Referral Program is a long-standing official operation with many listings.
4) UHM Student Housing Services handles the mainstream of undergraduate on-campus dormitory matters. This is not necessarily the first place to start for graduate students seeking accomodation.
5) A small range of rental possibilities is listed by the UHM Womens Campus Club organization.
6) The East-West Center, a major federally funded educational institution located adjacent to UHM campus, has several dorms.


Applicants to the MA Program

Q11: I plan to apply to the Master’s Degree in the SLS program. How do I start?
Q12: My undergraduate degree is not in SLS. Can I still apply and be admitted?
It is not uncommon for successful applicants to have undergraduate degrees in areas different from SLS. The best way to help present a successful application is to work on the statement of purpose to demonstrate a serious interest in the area. That way, the admissions committee can get a better idea of the applicant’s match with the program goals.

Does the University offer conditional admission?
The Office of Graduate Education does not offer conditional admission.

Admission by Exception

The UHM admissions standards require a minimum GPA of 3.0 (A = 4.0) in the last two years of undergraduate study and in all post-baccalaureate work. A student whose grade point average falls below 3.0 can only be admitted by exception. Admission by exception is very rare.

A student offered admission by exception who fails to meet the minimum requirement of 3.0 GPA after completing one academic semester of minimum 9 credits of degree-related course work will be placed on academic probation for the following semester. All grades for courses taken during the probationary semester, as well as the grades for all previously taken classified credits, will be included in calculating the GPA at the end of the probationary semester. No extensions of the probationary semester may be granted due to incompletes (I).

A student on academic probation who fails to attain the minimum standards at the end of the probationary semester will be denied further registration in the MA in SLS program.

Applicants to the Advanced Graduate Certificate in SLS

Q13: How do I apply for the Advanced Graduate Certificate?
See: h


Applicants to the PhD in SLA Program

Q14: How do I apply to the PhD program?

Current Students in SLS Programs

Q15: Do I have to be enrolled during the semester I plan to graduate?
Yes. You must be enrolled for at least one credit during the semester you plan to graduate, even if you have completed all work other than the thesis, scholarly paper, or dissertation.