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 graduate programs are January 15 for Fall semester admission and August 15 for Spring semester admission. The ORE Application Checklist lists all the forms and supporting documents that need to be submitted; some forms and documents are submitted to graduate division while others are submitted directly to the ORE Department.

Detailed graduate division requirements and forms are available at the University of Hawai'i Office of Graduate Education web page. Official scores in the GRE General Test are required from all applicants. Official TOEFL scores are required from all non-native English speaking students. Depending on their TOEFL scores, these students will be individually evaluated at the UH English Language Institute and assigned English-as-Second-Language (ESL) courses if necessary.

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 

Once an applicatioin is complete, the Office of Graduate Education performs an initial screening to ensure that university admission requirements are satisfied. The ORE Admissions Committee and Department Chair then evaluate the application and determine the admissibility of the applicant to the ORE program.

Advising and Progress

Upon admission, the Department Chair meets with each incoming student at a preliminary conference to discuss the program requirements and determine any preprogram deficiencies. The University of Hawai'i Office of Graduate Education requires that all transfer credits must not have been used in obtaining a prior degree and must be approved during the first semester of enrollment. The ORE program allows up to six transfer credits of courses taken elsewhere. These courses must be equivalent to the core and option-area courses of the program and approved by the instructors upon evaluation of the course notes, assignments, and exam questions. The department chair will then recommend to the Associate Dean of the Office of Graduate Eduction to approve the transfer credits. The Department Chair serves as the advisor to students without an undergraduate engineering degree until they satisfy the preprogram requirements. Once preprogram requirements are met, the Department Chair appoints an academic advisor from the pool of ORE departmental faculty. The academic advisor is tasked with helping students navigate through the requirements of the program and ensuring that the guidelines are met. At the start of the research phase of their studies, students select a research advisor to guide their research and serve as their Committee Chair. Policies regarding conduct and harrassment are available on the ORE website at http://ore.hawaii.edu/OE/ore_documents.htm.

All information on student progress is recorded in student progress forms, which provides data for subsequent program assessments.Graduate Division requires that several forms are submitted during the program to track progress. These forms can be found on the Office of Graduate Education website: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/graduate/content/forms 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.


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 in the fall-spring semester sequence, most students begin their enrollment in the fall semester. Students with an undergraduate engineering degree proceed directly to the program coursework and take the General Examination during their first semester. Most of them 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 have already satisfied the pre-program requirements and proceed directly to the program coursework. Students normally take the PhD Qualifying Examination after a year of coursework and take the Comprehensive Examination within three years after enrollment.

Iable 1. MS Degree Timeline.

Students failing any one of the general, qualifying, comprehensive, and final examinations twice will be dropped from the program. Students, who do not complete all requirements within seven years of admission, will be automatically dropped from the program. Reinstatement for a limited period of time is possible only upon submission of a petition to the Department 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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