Planning Your Degree

Planning Your Degree

All current or prospective SLS majors should be familiar with both the expectations required and opportunities available when you get a BA in SLS. In addition to information and requirements related to the BA program in SLS, this also includes the UH General Education Core and Graduation requirements. The following information should be used as a reference; it is the student’s responsibility to meet regularly with their academic advisor to stay up to date and to plan ahead for completing their degree (but SLS has mandatory advising every semester to make sure this happens). To give you a sense of how to begin planning for your degree and how to finish it in a timely manner, you can see a sample 4-Year Plan and Program Sheet for SLS.

BA Requirements
General Education Core Requirements
Other Requirements

Major Requirements for BA in Second Language Studies:

Core Courses (24 credits)

  • SLS 302  Second Language Learning
  • SLS 303  Second Language Teaching
  • SLS 408 Bilingual Education
  • SLS 430 Pidgin & Creole English in Hawai’i’
  • SLS 441  Language Concepts for SL Learning & Teaching
  • SLS 480 Alpha (Topics in Second Language Studies)
  • SLS 485: Professionalism in SLS (the BA capstone course*)
  • SLS 490  Second Language Testing

* The capstone course for the BA in SLS is an opportunity for students to synthesize what they have learned throughout their SLS coursework in ways that will help them understand what it means to be a professional in the field of second languages. Students will explore their personal values, beliefs, and ethics as they are related to languages, and what opportunities are available to people with a BA in SLS. The final step involves the development of a portfolio relevant to students’ professional goals. This course is to be taken either in the next to last semester or last semester before graduation (however, taking it in the next to last semester is highly recommended; see an academic advisor in SLS for more details).

Electives (9 credits)

  • The remaining 9 credits can come from any 300-499 level SLS course, or from 300-499 courses within other departments subsequent to department approval.  Note: 100- and 200-level courses do not count toward the major (although they may fulfill other requirements for a bachelor’s degree).

Additional Information

  • Each SLS course is a 3-credit course (except SLS 499, which can be 1-3 credits).
  • We recommend that SLS majors take LING 102 (Intro to the Study of Language) in their freshmen or sophomore year. LING 102 fulfills one of the two DS requirements that are part of the General Education Core.
  • SLS 485 (Professionalism in SLS) is the capstone course for the major. In addition to learning about professionalism in SLS, you will finalize a professional portfolio and prepare for your next step after graduation.
  • Additional SLS 480(a) courses can be taken as electives.

Click here for a full list of course descriptions.

UHM General Education Core Requirements


  • FW: Foundations-Written Communication
  • FS: Foundations-Symbolic Reasoning
  • FG (A/B/C): Foundations-Global & Multicultural Perspectives (6 credits: 3 credits each from two of Groups A, B or C)


  • DA/DH/DL: Diversification-Arts/Humanities/Literature (6 credits: 3 credits from two of these three areas)
  • DS: Diversification-Social Science (6 credits: 3 credits from two different departments)
  • DB: Diversification-Biological Science
  • DP: Diversification-Physical Science
  • DY: Diversification-Laboratory (Science)

UHM Graduation Requirements


  • H: Hawaiian, Asian, & Pacific Issues
  • E (300+): Contemporary Ethical Issues
  • O (300+): Oral Communication
  • W: Writing Intensive (5 courses. At least 2 of these courses must be 300- or 400-level)

Hawaiian/Second Language (HSL)

  • Completing a four-semester sequence in Hawaiian or a second language (usually 101, 102, 201, and 202)
  • Demonstrating proficiency in Hawaiian or a second language at or above the 202 level

(Note that, although English may be a second language for some students, it is not considered a “second language” for the purpose of meeting the HSL requirement.)

More details can be found in the SLS BA Program Sheet. Further information about planning your degree, course options, and a detailed explanation of how to use a program sheet can also be found in the UH Manoa Catalog and the Colleges of Arts & Sciences website.

Preparing for Graduation

  • Graduation paperwork must be filed with the AH/LLL Advising Center near the beginning of your next to last semester (for those who will graduate in Spring or Summer, you’d need to turn in your grad paperwork by the end of September; for those who will graduate in Fall, you’d need to turn in your paperwork by the end of February).  Everyone needs to fill out a “Graduation Plan” and a “Goldenrod” form (those with multiple majors need to fill out one “Goldenrod” form for each major), and those with minors or certificates will need to fill out a separate form related to your minor or certificate.  See your SLS advisor for details.