Image of a wave by Steven Businger. Admission

NOTE: Visit the UH Office of Graduate Education web site for additional information.

Students are admitted for graduate study on the basis of their scholastic records. Degree candidates for the MS program usually have a bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline that provides an adequate background in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and mechanics. Students seeking admission to the PhD program should have an MS in engineering or equivalent qualification. However, exceptionally well-qualified students with a BS in engineering, who do not have a master's degree, may petition to be admitted to the PhD program directly. Students with mathematics, physics or other science backgrounds may be admitted to the program, but are required to take specific undergraduate engineering courses to satisfy the pre-program requirements as outlined in Coursework Requirements under Academic Program.

Deadlines to submit applications for admission to the ORE graduate program are January 15 for fall semester admission and August 15 for spring semester admission. The ORE Application Checklist includes all the forms and supporting documents that need to be submitted; some forms and documents are submitted to graduate division while other are submitted directly to the ORE Department.

Detailed graduate division requirements and forms are available at the University of Hawaii ORE Graduate Division Admissions web page . Official scores for the GRE General Test are required from all applicants. Official English Proficiency Exam scores are required from all non-native English speaking students (Graduate Division gives a list of acceptable tests).

Forms required by the ORE Department can be downloaded here:

ORE Graduate Assistantship Application Form

ORE Letter of Recommendation Form

ORE Statement of Objectives Form

ORE Supplemental Information Form 

After the required documents are received, Graduate Division screens the application to ensure that university admission requirements are satisfied. The ORE Admissions Committee and ORE Graduate Chair then evaluate the application and determine the applicant' admissibility to the ORE program.

Advising and Progress

Upon admission, the ORE Department Chair meets with each incoming student at a preliminary conference to discuss the program requirements. The ORE Graduate Chair will reconfirm any preā€program deficiencies for students from non-ABET accredited undergraduate programs through evaluation of transcripts and course descriptions. The University of Hawai'i Office of Graduate Education requires that all transfer credits must be approved during the first semester of enrollment, and must not have been used in obtaining a prior degree. The ORE program allows up to six transfer credits from courses taken elsewhere. These courses must be equivalent to the core and option-area courses of the program and approved by the course instructors upon evaluation of the course notes, assignments, and exam questions. If these requirements are met, the ORE Department Chair then recommends to the Associate Dean of Graduate Division to approve the transfer credits.

The ORE Graduate Chair serves as the advisor to students who do not meet the pre-program requirements. Once pre-program requirements are met, the ORE Department Chair appoints an academic advisor from the pool of ORE departmental faculty. The academic advisor helps student navigate the program requirements and ensures that all university and department guidelines are met. At the onset of their research, students must select a research advisor to guide their research and serve as their Committee Chair.

Graduate Division requires that several forms are submitted by the student during their program to track progress. These forms can be found on the Graduate Division website. In addition to the Graduate Division forms, PhD students are required to submit internal Form I-A (Dissertation Committee and Proposal, available in the ORE office) prior to scheduling their comprehensive examinations. Their research proposal must be attached to the form and submitted to the Graduate Chair for approval. ORE further monitors progress of all students through an internal student progress form which is updated each semester and upon graduation. The purpose of this progress form is to help keep students on track and to provide data for subsequent assessments of the ORE program.

Policies regarding conduct and harassment are available on the SOEST website.


The minimum residency requirement for an MS degree at UH is two semesters full-time. The following chart outlines the typical timeline to satisfy the requirements in the MS program. Since the core and option-area courses are offered with the fall-spring sequence in mind, most students begin their enrollment in the fall semester. Students who do not require pre-program coursework proceed directly to the program coursework and take the general examination during their first semester. Most complete the degree requirements between 16 months and two years. Students with pre-program deficiencies typically spend three years full-time to complete the program.

Iable 1. MS Degree Timeline.

The minimum residency requirement for a PhD degree is three semesters full-time. Based on Graduate Division statistics, the average time to complete a PhD degree in ORE is 5.5 years. The following chart shows the typical timeline to satisfy the PhD program requirements. Most students admitted into the PhD program satisfy the pre-program requirements and proceed directly to the program coursework. PhD students typically take the qualifying examination after a full year of coursework. The comprehensive examination must be taken within three years of enrollment.

Iable 1. MS Degree Timeline.

Students who fail any one of the general, qualifying, comprehensive, or final (if a re-take is granted in the case of a PhD exam) examinations twice will be dropped from the program. Students, who do not complete all requirements within seven years after admission will be automatically dropped from the program. Reinstatement for a limited period of time is possible only upon submission of a petition to Graduate Division via the ORE Graduate Chair providing a detailed degree plan and new limited timeline for completion of all degree requirements.

To facilitate course selection and planning, please consult the ORE 5 Year Teaching Plan.

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