Graduate Division

Kahuawaiola Admissions

Guide to Completing the Application for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education Program

Program Website:
Entry Term: Summer/Fall 2024

Priority deadline for receipt of all application materials: December 1st, 2023

Program Description

Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelilkōlani is widely recognized as the leader in indigenous language revitalization in the United States, and indeed the North Pacific Basin.  The College is a key part of an overall state government response to long-standing Native Hawaiian political action seeking to provide the choice of education through Hawaiian language at all educational levels.  With its preschool to grade 12 laboratory schools (Nā Kula Mauli Ola), KHʻUOK forms a complete P-20 educational system.  As such, the College serves as a focal point for the State’s efforts to revitalize the Hawaiian language through teacher training, undergraduate and graduate study of Hawaiian, community outreach, research and testing, use of technology, national and international cooperation, and the development of liberal education in Hawaiian for future generations of Hawaiian speakers. 

The mission of the College is to assure the revitalization and continued advancement and growth of the Hawaiian language and mauli ola Hawaiʻi.  A thriving Hawaiian language is the means through which the mauli ola Hawaiʻi will once again become commonplace in both traditional and contemporary contexts in Hawaiʻi. The College joins with other Indigenous peoples in the revitalization of their own languages and cultures. Our collective efforts will ensure the furthering of local, national and international initiatives toward establishing language and cultural vibrancy throughout the world.

The Graduate Certificate in Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education (Kahuawaiola) prepares teacher candidates for professional licensure as mauli ola educators who focus on mauli ola Hawaiian language medium contexts. This program also prepares students for other Hawaiian language and culture educational settings. An option is available for Indigenous languages other than Hawaiian contingent upon demand and resources.

The Graduate Certificate in Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education (Kahuawaiola) was mandated in Act 315 HRS 304A-1302 by the Hawaiʻi State legislature.  Kahuawaiola was established by the University of Hawai‘i (UH) Board of Regents in 1998 and has been recognized by the UH system as an approved professional education unit since January 1999. Since 2001, Kahuawaiola has functioned as a state approved teacher education program (SATEP) and is the only fully approved and accredited unit established to specifically prepare teachers through Hawaiian for P-12 Hawaiian language education. It is the first and only teacher licensing preparation program taught entirely in the Hawaiian language and is also the first teacher education program taught through an Indigenous language in the United States.

Core course work for this three semester  program begins in the summer; therefore, admittance into the program shall only be granted prior to the summer session. Students then participate in practicum and seminar classes during the Fall and Spring semesters. Full-time enrollment is required of all students accepted into the program during all three semesters.

All interested persons with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with an approved major requiring a minimum of 120 credits may be accepted if they meet the Hawaiian language and culture course requirements of the program.

Application Checklist

Note: You do not need to wait to have all components of your application before beginning the application. You are encouraged to submit your application and $50 fee once you have decided to apply. You may return to this system to upload your documents and request your letters. 

Required Documents to be Uploaded in the Documents Tab of Online Application

  • Kahuawaiola Admissions Application
  • Statement of Interest
  • Work Experience Verification Form

Requested in the Recommendations Tab of the Online Application:

  • 3 Letters of Recommendation from academic and/or professional referees.
    • Once you request your letters in the electronic system, your letter writers will be sent an email and instructions on how to use the electronic letters of recommendation system. They will be asked to upload a letter of recommendation.

Sent Directly to the UH Hilo Graduate Division

  • Official transcripts sent directly from all non-UH system colleges or universities you have attended.
  • Official transcripts from UH system institutions will be pulled via STAR.
  • We recommend certified electronic transcripts sent directly from your institution to the UH Hilo Graduate Division-
  • Baccalaureate degree transcripts from international institutions must be submitted to an independent transcript evaluation service.
  • Hard Copy transcripts should be mailed to:
    UH Hilo Graduate Division
    200 W. Kawili Street
    COBE Building, Room 201
    Hilo, HI 96720

  • For international applicants

Sent Directly to Ka Haka ‘Ula o Ke‘elikōlani

Application Process

The priority application deadline is December 1. Applications received after the priority deadline will only be accepted on a space available basis.

All supporting documents must be uploaded to the UH Application system.

Applications that meet initial requirements will be forwarded to the Kahuawaiola selection committee for a comprehensive review and consideration for admission into the program. Admission decisions made by the committee will be forwarded to the UH Hilo Graduate Division which sends the final notification to the applicant.

Admission Criteria

  1. Completion of the application packet.
  2. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, in a major approved by the Academic Division requiring a minimum of 120 credits, 45 of which are at the 300 level or above.
  3. Minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester credits completed (including post-baccalaureate credits).
  4. Minimum GPA of 2.75 in the major.
  5. Four years of Hawaiian language with a minimum GPA of 2.75 for the third and fourth years, or permission from the Academic Division based on an evaluation of fluency.
  6. Successful completion of one of the following: HWST 111, 211, 213; or permission from the Academic Division based on an evaluation of Hawaiian cultural knowledge and skills.
  7. Successful completion of one of the following: HWST 205, 471, 472, 473, 474; or permission from the Academic Division based on an evaluation of Hawaiian cultural knowledge and skills.
  8. Successful completion of KHAW 490.
  9. 50 hours of teaching experience through the medium of Hawaiian, OR 30 hours of teaching experience through the medium of Hawaiian AND 30 hours of experience in Hawaiian medium curriculum development.
  10. Passing Praxis II exam scores, if applicable.
  11. Interview with Kahuawaiola faculty.

Personal Statement

Applicants should include in the personal statement responses to the following:

  1. He aha nā kumu i ulu ai kou makemake e lilo i kumu Mauli Ola Hawaiʻi?
  2. He aha kou ikaika a me ka nāwaliwali ma ke a‘o haumāna ‘ana?
  3. He aha ka waiwai o ka ho‘oulu ‘ana i ka mauli Hawaiʻi o ka haumāna a, pehea e ho‘oulu ‘ia ai ma loko o ka ha‘awina kula?

Graduation Requirements

Graduation from the program is based on the successful completion of eleven courses, totaling 37 credits, with no grade lower than a “B” and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0:


  • KED 620 (3) Foundations for Hawaiian Medium Education
  • KED 621 (2) Language Arts in Hawaiian Medium Education
  • KED 623 (2) Social Studies in Hawaiian Medium Education
  • KED 625 (1) Physical Education in Hawaiian Medium Education
  • KED 626 (2) Science in Hawaiian Medium Education
  • KED 627 (2) Math in Hawaiian Medium Education
  • KED 628 (1) Arts in Hawaiian Medium Education
  • KED 641 (9) Hawaiian Medium Field Experience I
  • KED 642 (3) Hawaiian Medium Field Experience I Seminar
  • KED 643 (9) Hawaiian Medium Field Experience II
  • KED 644 (3) Hawaiian Medium Field Experience II Seminar

For more information, please contact:

For questions regarding the program, HTSB and/or DOE requirements:
Kuʻulei Kepaʻa
Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani
Phone: (808) 932-7730
Fax: (808) 932-7651

For questions regarding the application process:
Cheri Keliʻi-Marumoto
UH Hilo Graduate Division
Ph: (808) 932-7897