General Education Requirements

General Education: Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs are for GE beginning Fall 2018. View FAQs about the GE program prior to Fall 2018.

What is General Education (GE)?

The degree you receive is more than just a piece of paper. It is a symbol of the quality of the education that you received. The faculty at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo believe students benefit most from a well-rounded education that exposes them not only to what they need to know but also how to think critically and interact effectively with the world around them. This means you should take a wide range of courses that go beyond just their major or area of concentration and be open to pushing your intellectual boundaries beyond your comfort zone. In fact, a quality general education will help you be the most effective you can be as an active citizen of your community, as an employee, as a leader, and as a family member.

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What are the components of General Education at UH Hilo?

There are four components to UH Hilo General Education (GE) requirements:

  • Foundations Requirements (12 credits) - transfer within UH system (see below)

    Foundations Requirements are intended to give students skills and perspectives that are fundamental to undertaking higher education. Students typically complete Foundations requirements during their first year at UH Hilo.

  • Diversification Requirements (19 credits) - transfer within UH system (see below)

    Diversification requirements are intended to assure that every student has exposure to different domains of academic knowledge, while at the same time allowing flexibility in choice of courses for students with different goals and interests.

  • Structural Requirements (6 credits) - specific to UH Hilo, must be completed at UH Hilo

  • Integrative Requirements (12-15 credits) - specific to UH Hilo, must be completed at UH Hilo

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How do UH Hilo’s certified courses transfer within the UH system?

Foundations Requirements

  • Students who complete the Foundations Requirements at any UH System school are considered to have fulfilled UH Hilo Foundations Requirements.
  • Students who complete the Foundations Requirements at UH Hilo are considered to have fulfilled Foundations Requirements at any other UH System school.

Diversification Requirements

  • Students who complete the Diversification Requirements at any UH System school are considered to have fulfilled UH Hilo Diversification Requirements.
  • Students who complete the Diversification Requirements at UH Hilo are considered to have fulfilled Diversification Requirements at any other UH System school.

Structural and Integrative Requirements are specific to UH Hilo and must be completed at UH Hilo.

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Is “General Education” only for lower-division courses?

Both lower-division and upper-division courses are certified for GE since UH Hilo recognizes that GE skills and knowledge must be cultivated over the course of a student’s entire undergraduate career. As long as a course meets the criteria for a category and addresses the learning outcomes specified for the category, it can be certified for that category.

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Does a course need to have a research paper to qualify for GE certification?

Not necessarily, although all GE courses must have a minimum written or quantitative component. In addition to other criteria, all Courses that are certified as GE courses must:

"Include rigorous written (or quantitative, where appropriate) assignments that assess the student learning outcomes. The assignments should total at minimum the equivalent of five (5) double-spaced, typed pages, or 1,250 words".

These written assignments may include a series of one-page papers, a single paper of five pages or more, and may take a variety of forms, including, but not limited to, summaries, reports, arguments, reflections, analyses, and scripts.

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