DEGREE FINDER is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.

University of Hawaii Hilo appears in these rankings:

30 Most Beautiful Coastal College Campuses

Tracing its roots back to 1941 as Hawaii College, the University of Hawaii Hilo is a comprehensive public co-educational state liberal arts institution. It's one of 10 branches included within the University of Hawaii system. Each year, UH Hilo enrolls more than 3,300 undergraduates and 500 post-graduates. UH Hilo is located on a picturesque 115-acre rural campus in Hilo overlooking the Mauna Loa on Hawaii. With the state's lowest student-faculty ratio at 13:1, the University of Hawaii Hilo has an average retention rate of 68.7 percent.

According to the U.S. News, UH Hilo ranks 14th among national liberal arts colleges in percentage of international students. In 2014, the Chronicle of Higher Education lauded the University of Hawaii Hilo for being America's #1 most diverse four-year public campus. In Washington Monthly magazine, UH Hilo was named the 85th top liberal arts college in the United States. The University of Hawaii Hilo also ranked 35th in the West's "Best Bang for the Buck" category. In particular, UH Hilo is highly regarded by the USNWR for hosting the 74th best graduate pharmacy degrees nationwide.

University of Hawaii Hilo Accreditation Details

As a whole, the University of Hawaii Hilo is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This regional accreditation is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. In addition, academic departments have received seven discipline-specific approvals. Hawaiian studies programs are accredited by the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC). Pharmaceutical science degrees meet the standards of the Accrediting Commission for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Business programs are approved by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

University of Hawaii Hilo Application Requirements

The University of Hawaii Hilo accepts around 71 percent of incoming applicants, so be prepared for a selective admissions process. First-year freshmen must have earned a high school diploma or GED equivalency. Curriculum prerequisites require at least 17 college-prep units, including four units of English, three units of math, and three units of natural science. Students with a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or higher are preferred. GPA below 3.0 can be considered on a sliding scale with test scores. Admitted freshmen have score an average of 19 on the ACT and 1240 on the SAT.

Undergraduate transfers must have successfully completed at least 24 college-level credits at another regionally accredited college. If less, applicants must meet the above criteria. Incoming transfer students are required to hold a minimum collegiate GPA of 2.0 and good standing. Graduate students must already possess a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited university. The majority of master's programs mandate a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above in the last 60 credits. Certain degrees have extra requirements, such as the Master of Arts in Teaching requires passing Praxis scores and at least 40 hours of experience with school-aged children.

Before the final July 1st deadline, students wishing to enroll at the University of Hawaii Hilo must apply to the Admissions Office by sending:

• Online University of Hawaii application
• Official high school and/or college transcripts
• Standardized testing scores (ACT, SAT, GRE, or GMAT)
• Two or three letters of recommendation
• Proof of English language proficiency (if applicable)
• One-page professional statement of purpose
• Payment for the $50 non-refundable fee

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time undergraduates from Hawaii will pay $3,324 per semester. Non-residents enrolling full-time must afford $9,324 per semester for undergraduate tuition. Part-time undergraduates can expect to pay $277 (in-state) or $777 (out-of-state) per credit hour. Graduate students living in Hawaii are charged $5,004 per full-time semester. Non-resident graduates will be billed $11,472 per semester of full-time studies. Part-time graduates must pay $417 (in-state) or $956 (out-of-state) per credit hour. Keep in mind that UH Hilo students must also cover the $24 student activities fee, $28 campus center fee, $7 health fee, and $78 student life center fee.

Around 82 percent of full-time beginning students at the University of Hawaii Hilo are granted financial aid. Those who complete the FAFSA form by March 1st could receive the Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. Borrowing money through the Perkins, Direct, Stafford, or PLUS loans is possible, but interest will accrue. Up to $4,000 can be borrowed with the State Higher Education Loan (SHEL) too. Federal Work-Study (FWS) is available for financially needy students agreeing to work part-time on campus. In-state residents should apply for the Hawaii State Incentive Grant, Hawaii State Opportunity Grant, or Hawaii B-Plus Scholarship. Institutional programs are also abundant, including the Pacific Islander Scholarship, Western Undergraduate Exchange, and Athletic Scholarship.

Degrees Available at University of Hawaii Hilo

At the University of Hawaii Hilo, all undergraduates take the same General Education Core that's strongly rooted in the liberal arts and sciences. From there, students can select from 37 majors for their bachelor's degree. There are also eight master's and eight doctoral degrees for graduate students. On average, UH Hilo classes have just 22 students to provide plenty of peer-to-peer and professor interaction. Two sample programs offered are:

B.S. in Marine Science

The B.S. in Marine Science program is one of UH Hilo's most popular because of its unparalleled access to applied learning in the island laboratory of Hawaii. Students are given a well-rounded introduction to the world's oceans and an appreciation for marine ecosystems. The 120-credit curriculum includes courses on coral reef ecology, oceanography, coastal analyses, fish biology, boat operations, global climate change, pelagic methods, and aquaculture. In the senior year, all students complete a thesis research project or field internship. Students will also complete a Diving Safety program for CPR, First Aid, and O2 training.

M.A. in Hawaiian Language and Literature

Consisting of 36 credits, the M.A. in Hawaiian Language and Literature at UH Hilo was the first program focusing on a Native American language in the United States. Every three years, the cohort program accepts scholars dedicated to researching, preserving and revitalizing the Hawaiian language. Coursework will address Hawaiian phonetics, morphology, syntax, grammar, chants, and literature. All M.A. students are required to complete applied thesis research. Students will benefit from a wealth of 19th and 20th century literary resources housed in the university's Mookini Library.

Other unique degrees offered at the University of Hawaii Hilo include the B.S. in Animal Science, B.A. in Administration of Justice, B.A. in Japanese Studies, M.S. in Clinical Psychopharmacology, M.S. in Tropical Conservation Biology, and Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences.


Take the next step towards your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

Man working at desk