Semester in Hawai'i
Hawai'i Pacific University

Gap Year Friendly
LGBTQIA+ Friendly
Virtual Options

Say "Aloha" to your semester in Paradise.

Studying in Hawai’i lets you take classes at Hawai’i Pacific University, a fantastic private university in the center of Honolulu. Learn more about the friendly “Aloha Spirit” while you explore rainforests, volcanoes, and deserted islands on the weekends. Live on the Island of Oahu and immerse yourself in paradise, whether you’re surfing at the beach, watching a movie at the Hawai’i International Film Festival, or meeting fellow students on campus!

What to Expect:

  • Language: English
  • Average Courseload: 4-5 courses (12-15 U.S. credits)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.75
  • Visa Requirements: NONE Required!


  • Diverse student body with students from 100+ countries
  • Campus located near beaches, rainforests, volcanoes, and national parks
  • World-class academics with large variety of courses available
  • Study away without leaving the U.S.
  • Customized excursions to explore the island

Program Details

Hawai'i Pacific University

Study in Hawai’i’s capital at the oceanside Hawaii Pacific University (HPU). The private institution is home to over 7,000 students. About 30 percent of students at HPU are international and come from more than 80 different countries. This unique study abroad experience combines quality American educational systems with global influences. Your program will focus on rigorous academics, relevant career education, and social responsibility. The school’s small class sizes mean that you can work directly with professors to get plenty of individualized attention.

HPU has two different campuses, which are linked together by a free shuttle. One campus is in a more urbanized setting, located in bustling downtown Honolulu, and the other, the Hawai’i Loa campus, is located on 135 tropical acres just fifteen minutes away. The main campus means you can engage with the city’s culture between and after classes. Take a break and grab an iced coffee or a meal at any of the local restaurants or cafes in the plazas surrounding campus.

At HPU, you’ll find courses in disciplines like liberal arts, business, and nursing, along with a highly supportive faculty. To get more involved on campus and make friends with similar interests, you can join any number of clubs and activities. The school also has exceptional facilities, like computer labs, libraries, tutoring services, wireless internet, laboratories, and communications facilities for broadcasting, multimedia, and journalism students.

Accreditation(s): Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Areas of study with 3 to 7 classes available

  • Engineering
  • World Languages

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study which have more than 8 classes available

  • Art & Design
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Natural & Applied Sciences
  • Health
  • Humanities

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Please click here to view a list of the Baccalaureate Degrees offered at Hawai’i Pacific University. For more information about the courses offered for each major, please click on the degree title.

Course search:
The following are some of the potential restrictions – courses not available for “study away” students at Hawai’i Pacific University:

  • Courses on the military campus
  • Courses in Education
  • Courses in the Natural Sciences, including Marine Biology

Please contact us for clarification and/or confirmation regarding those types of courses.

In the first screen, choose your term. In the detailed search screen, choose the following campus: Dwntwn/HI Loa/Ocean Inst Class.  Select any other criteria, including the department(s) you are interested in from the first menu. Add your preferences for times and dates of classes if you want, select “search for courses,” and start looking through your course options! At the Downtown Honolulu campus, the buildings are just spread out and not centralized like most universities since it’s in an urban setting!

Undergraduate students are not eligible to take courses with a course code of 3999 or higher, as these are considered graduate-level courses

To access Hawai’i Pacific University’s online course database, please click here.

For the Virtual Semester:

Follow the instructions above but choose “Online” under “Schedule Type”.

To access course syllabi from past terms, please click here.

Why Life in Honolulu

Located on the “Big Island” of Oahu, this jewel in the Pacific is home to coveted landscapes and is one of the world’s most popular tourist locations. When you arrive at Honolulu’s airport, you’ll be greeted by one of our representatives with a flower lei—the custom greeting in Hawaiʻi!

The warm, tropical climate lets you enjoy the outdoors at any time of the year. You can snorkel through vivid blue water, hike in a lush rainforest, explore active volcanoes, and try surfing Hawaiʻi’s legendary waves. To get around the island of Oahu, there are plenty of buses, taxis, mopeds, bikes, and the Hawaiʻi Pacific Shuttle.

Hawaiʻi’s unique heritage has led to a fascinating melting pot of people with Asian, European, and Native American backgrounds. Thanks to this, you’ll enjoy delicious cuisine, a variety of historical buildings, and the chance to immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind community. Hawaiʻians like to celebrate, and you can join them for festivals that include Whale Day, the Polynesian Festival, a hula competition at the Merrie Monarch Festival, the Hawaiʻian International Film Festival, Statehood Day, and the Coffee Festival. Your semester in Hawaiʻi will expose you to an entirely different world within the U.S.

Live La Vida Local

  • Lei Making

    Want to learn how to make a lei when you get back home? This class will teach you.

  • ‘Ukulele

    If music is more your thing, sign up for a free class. Instruments are provided.

  • Hula Class

    Try your moves out in a free hula class weekly at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.

  • Camping

    All beaches in Hawai’i are public and many have campsites for $5 per night.

  • Royal Hawaiian Band Friday Lunch Concert

    Every Friday the Royal Hawaiian band plays at the bandstand on the ‘Iolani Palace lawn. Bring a sack lunch and enjoy.

Housing in Honolulu


You’ll live in double rooms in Waikiki Vista, a newly constructed, purpose-built student accommodation in the heart of Honolulu. Waikiki Vista offers a perfect location for students studying at Hawai’i Pacific University (only a 20-minute bus ride away!). Within a 5 mile radius of the building, you can easily access Waikiki Beach area, downtown Honolulu, fantastic parks/hiking trails, and more!

NOTE: While bed linens and a pillow are provided, towels are not. Please bring your own bath towel!

Check out the photo gallery to see what your room might be like.


Each room has a kitchenette with a sink, microwave, and mini-fridge. You will have access to a hot plate kitchen within a common area in Waikiki Vista.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • 24-hour security
  • Air conditioning
  • BathroomShared
  • Bed linens
  • CommutePublic Transportation
  • Double Room
  • Kitchenette
  • Single RoomOptional
  • Study Areas
  • Wi-Fi

Upgrade to a Single Room

If you’re looking for a more private island getaway feeling, you can upgrade to a single room in Waikiki Vista for an additional fee. If you wish to have a single let your program enrollment coordinator know!

What's Included


Program fees are in U.S. dollars and include the following:

  • Island orientation and local tour
  • Two cultural excursions/cultural trips around Oahu
  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing
  • CIS Abroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • On-site Support
  • Student Union fees
  • Hawaii Pacific University official transcript
  • La Vida Local cultural program

Welcome & Orientation

Upon arrival, take part in a comprehensive orientation to get introduced to our unique island way of life (‘ao‘ao). Gain insight into the many different cultures that make up Hawai’i’s largest city. From Hawaiian, Samoan, Tongan, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Micronesian, Fijian to Portuguese, Honolulu is one of the most diverse places you will ever experience. All five of your senses will be engaged as you catch the beautiful “Aloha spirit.” Taste the local food; kalua pig (pulled pork) and lau lau (steamed fish and pork wrapped in taro leaves), take in the popular island-style reggae and Hawaiian music, see the incredible natural beauty from tranquil coastlines to rugged peaks. Touch the sand and feel the waves as you swim with the dolphins and sea turtles.

Farewell & Re-Entry Program

As much as you may want to stay, eventually the time will come when you’ll have to bid aloha and a hui hou (goodbye, until we meet again). Gather together one last time to remember the good times and reflect on all that you have learned living in Hawai’i nei.

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.
Pearl Harbor/Arizona Memorial

Pearl Harbor/Arizona Memorial

At World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, home of the USS Arizona Memorial, learn about one of the most pivotal moments in U.S. history: the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the subsequent entry of the United States into World War II. The monument preserves and interprets the stories of the Pacific War, from the internment of Japanese Americans to the battles in the Aleutians.

Group Surf Lesson

Group Surf Lesson

While enjoying the fun and sun in Honolulu, take a surf lesson tailored to fit all ages and skill levels. Learn the basics of proper form and ocean safety from a CPR and AED-certified professional surf instructor. After balance ball training, head to the water and discover how to paddle and catch waves. The instructor remains in the water through the end of the lesson, making students feel at home while attending to every learning need.

Snorkel and Sailing

Snorkel and Sailing

Embark upon a relaxing sail through Oahu’s calm Waikiki waters as playful spinner dolphins frolic alongside and iconic Diamond Head lingers in the distance. Arrive at beautiful Turtle Canyon to snorkel among colorful marine fish and sea turtles. Swim along some of Waikiki’s most pristine reefs and sunbathe and bask in the serenity of a morning cruise.

Your Support Staff

Global Advising Team
Travel Tip:

We love what we do and want to talk to you! The Global Advising Center is here to help you decide on a program, and complete the Online Application. From the moment you first hear from us—be it through a text, phone call, email or personal visit—you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.

Julia Sementilli
Travel Tip:

Be open to meeting new people! Some of my favorite memories while traveling include meeting people in hostels, or by getting involved at my school abroad. You never know who will be a lifelong friend! Try all of the local foods, even if you don’t think you will like it. Write everything down in a journal- you will appreciate those stories later!

Alexandra Woolner
Travel Tip:

Expect the unexpected! Sometimes culture shock is stronger in countries where you expect things to be more similar to your home country and environment. Traveling abroad is an excellent way to learn more about your own culture, habits, style, and adaptability.

COVID-19 Plan

COVID-19 Plan

We believe that study abroad is still possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but certain policies and procedures will need to be in place to ensure every student can be safe and healthy during their semester abroad.

We monitor international indicators and health standards in the country and our risk management team makes decisions based on those and our own policy. We will make a decision no less than 45 days before a program starts what options are available to you and what the contingency plan is for your program. We will do all that we can to support you during this time.

Learn more about CIS Abroad’s Risk Management Team’s three step process for operating  our programs around the world and important program refund policies.

On-Site Program Modifications

We are excited to offer you this program after many months of travel restrictions! Just as you’ve experienced at home, many aspects of day-to-day life and program components may be altered to keep you and the community you are visiting safe. These may include single accommodations, certain academic offerings being delivered online, safety protocols such as mask-wearing, and other changes.

While some excursions and activities we’ve offered in the past may not be available, we do know that you’ll still be able to soak in the beauty of the country and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Prices and dates are subject to change based on any changes that are required to accommodate changing local laws and guidelines.

See our COVID-19 page for more information. Speak to your Program Coordinator or Advising Team for the most up to date information about any changes to this program.

Virtual Options

It is possible to take your full semester at the Hawai’i Pacific University online. Gain a unique learning experience while staying close to home!

 To choose a completely virtual semester:

  1. Apply for the Semester in Hawai’i- Hawai’i Pacific University Fall 2020
  2. When prompted to choose a session, select the Virtual Semester option

 You will see both program application and payment deadlines for your session after you have submitted your initial program selection and application. You can also reach out to your program coordinator with questions at any time.

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline:
    EXTENDED!Aug 1
    May 1
  • Arrival: August 17
  • Departure: December 6
  • Price: $20,990 - $22,990
  • Application Deadline: Aug 1
  • Arrival: August 24
  • Departure: December 14
  • Price: $11,990
  • Application Deadline: Oct 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 6 (Estimated)
  • Departure: May 4 (Estimated)
  • Price: $19,990 - $21,990 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

Low end of range: Double Room
High end of range: Single Room

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.