The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) is the central campus in the University of Hawaii system. Manoa is a neighborhood of Honolulu, three miles east of downtown. The campus extends throughout the eastern half of the entrance to the greater Manoa Valley.
UHM was founded as a school of mechanical arts and agriculture in 1907. It has grown continually through the decades. Today, in any given year, the enrollment is over 20,000 students, with approximately ¾ of those in undergraduate programs and ¼ in graduate programs.
The school is the largest academic body in the Hawaiian islands and sets the tone for academia in the area. That tone is best summed up by the university’s seal, which depicts a book, Malamalalama (the light of knowledge) and a torch.
There are four main colleges of arts and sciences on campua: College of Arts and Humanities; College of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics; College of Social Sciences; and College of Natural Sciences. There are 19 colleges and schools overall, also including the College of Engineering, the School of Earth Science and Technology, the School of Architecture, the Shidler College of Business, and the College of Education. In total, 87 different bachelor’s degrees, 87 master’s degrees, 53 doctoral degrees, 29 undergraduate certification programs, and 26 graduate certification programs are offered to enrolled students.
Strengths of the university include programs in tropical medicine, aquaculture, astronomy, underwater robotic technology, oceanography, marine biology, geophysics, and geology. Some of those programs are particularly notable. The College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources is one of very few in the United States with a focus on tropical research. The law and medical schools are the only ones in Hawaii, and the Center for Hawaiian Studies is one of the best-known programs at the school. The oceanography program is rated second in the country and the marine science program is rated fourth by The Academic Analytics. The international business, library and information science, teacher education, and geriatric medicine programs are also very highly rated.
This is an intensely research-oriented school and one of the top 30 public universities in terms of federal research funding for science and engineering. Major contributors to funding include the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The library system is one of the largest in the United States, with over 3.4 million volumes and 50,000 journals. The student/faculty ration is 16:1, a low number for any college or university.
Tthe only tropical arboretum at an American university finds it home here. Its collection of over 15,000 species include exhibits on reforestation and watershed restoration. They also host the Sustainable and Organic Farm Training (SOFT) program at the university’s own farm, where students learn bee keeping and other agricultural skills. The student farms are particularly known for their bananas and sweet potatoes.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The Hawai’I Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) is located off the main campus on Coconut Island. The whole 29 acre island in Kane’ohe Bay is considered part of the Institute, with approximately 6 acres of lagoons which provide a unique microclimate for developing marine life. Not only is the entire island a research area, but the surrounding area of coral reef is a designated Hawai’i Marine Laboratory Refuge, for a total of 64 areas of living reef set aside only for study. It is one of the largest and best-known coral reef research facilities in the world. In addition to studies concerning lagoons and coral reefs, HIMB is particularly well-known for their work with dolphins.
Many water ecology enthusiasts visit or attend the university in part because of Waikiki Aquarium, which stands on the shore next to a living reef. It’s not uncommon for students to study underwater life with oxygen tanks on their backs and flippers on their feet, or to learn about wave dynamics by surfing along them.
Museums and Art Collections
The best known art collection at the schoolis the John Young Museum of Art, which houses a tribal art gallery and an Asian art gallery. The university is also particularly well-known in the art world for its Louis Henri Jean Charlot exhibit in the main library. (Charlot was an ethnically and culturally diverse artist known for avant-garde woodcuts and frescoes and a professor of art at UHM between 1949 and 1979.) The campus also features a Japanese garden with a teahouse and koi pond as well as a traditional Thai open pavilion.
A virtual museum composed of digitally accessible text, image, video, and multimedia teaching resources for scholars, educators, students, and the American public is available. The virtual museum contains images of and information about every piece of art owned by the campus and suggestions for how best to experience them.
Admissions here are moderately competitive. Roughly 70% of applicants are admitted. These admitted applicants tend to have SAT and ACT scores in the middle of the range.
Students may apply online, send in their fee, and submit their high school transcripts and standardized test scores directly to the school. High school students are expected to take particular classes during grades 9-12, so be sure to check with the university to make sure you are on track. Transfer students must also submit all transcripts of previously attended schools. International students must also submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and official secondary and post-secondary school transcripts.
In addition to the range of federal and state financial aid options open to any college or university student, UHM also administrates hundreds of their own merit- and need-based scholarships. In addition, there are many local scholarships available and the school provides a list of potential national scholarships, so it’s encouraged that students do some research on apply for these free sources of aid.
Student Financial Aid Details
Clubs and Organizations
The student government is the Associated Students of the University of Hawai (ASUH). ASUH administrates funds for dozens of student organizations covering nearly every kind of professional organization and personal interest. Honors societies include the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the Golden Key International Honour Society, Alpha Gamma Delta, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Beta Beta Gamma, Kappa Sigma, and Kappa Epsilon Theta. The student newspaper, Ka Leo O Hawai’i, is published three times a week when school is in session and weekly when it isn’t.
The residences are grouped into two complexes. The Mauka/Makai Complex contains Frear Hall, Hale Anuenue, Hale Laulima, Hale Kahawai, Gateway House, and Johnson Hall. The Hale Aloha Complex contains Hale Aloha Ilima, Hale Aloha Lokelani, Hale Aloha Lehua, and Hale Aloha Mokihana. Most residences are traditional dormitories with double occupancy rooms. Each student in residence is provided with a bed, desk, chair, lamp, closet, data port, and cable TV outlet. Only Frear Hall and Hale Anuenue have air conditioning. All of the residences are co-ed and smoke-free.
There are also a limited number of apartments on campus. Apartments are not available to first-year students. Both one- and two-bedroom apartments are double occupancy, so that one bedroom units house two people and two bedroom units house four people. Apartments are not air-conditioned.
The Residential Learning Program (RLP) in the dormitories groups students with shared majors or interests on designated floors. RLP participants receive the benefit of social programming and lectures geared toward their interests, and off-campus trips. Groups within the RLP include College of Education, Gender Neutral, Health Professions Program, Honors, Johnson Language and Culture House (for speakers of French, Spanish, Japanese, and Filipino), Native Hawaiian, Outdoor Recreation, Service Learning and Social Justice, and Wellness.
Students who live in dormitories must participate in a meal program, while on-campus apartment residents may choose whether to participate or not. Dining services on campus are provided by Sodexo. The Hale Aloha Café in the Hale Aloha residence hall and Gateway Café in Gateway Hall offer all-you-can-eat buffets. There are additionally a variety of convenience food, fast food, and coffee shop options across campus.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletics department competes in intervarsity sports in NCAA Division I, Big West Conference, Mountain West Conference, and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The men’s teams used to all be known as the Rainbow Warriors, but are now variously known as Rainbows, Warriors, and Rainbow Warriors. The women’s teams are known as the Rainbow Wahine. The largest sports at UHM are football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball, and baseball. Sailing and other watersports are also especially popular.
Well-known alumni include:
- Joani Blank, internationally renowned sex educator and founder of San Francisco-based store Good Vibrations
- Ben Finney, anthropologist and co-founder of the Polynesian Voyaging Society
- Karen Pryor, behavioralist, dolphin trainer, and author
- Beau Bridges, actor
- Bette Midler, singer and actress
- Kenneth P. Moritsugu, Surgeon General of the United States
- Richard D. Parsons, CEO and Chairman of Time Warner, Inc.
- Patsy Mink, member of the US House of Representatives and author of the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act
- Milton Diamond, internationally acclaimed sex researcher
- Lee Jong Wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.