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University of Hawaii at Manoa - 2011

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Engineering Information

Degree Requirements

Bachelor's Degree Requirements

1. Complete coursework for one of the engineering curricula, which also satisfies all University requirements
2. Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 for all registered credit hours
3. Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 for all upper-division courses (numbered 300-499) in mathematics, science and engineering

Details regarding the curricula may be found in the University of Hawaii at Manoa catalog ( or on the College of Engineering's website ( Curricula check sheeets for undergraduae students list all of the courses needed to complete the BS degree.

BS in Biological Engineering: Students must complete a cumulative total of at least 128 credit hours and take (but not necessarily pass) the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering exam in the semester they intend to graduate. See for program description, details of course requirements.

Master's Degree Requirements

Civil Engineering -Department offers Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis) program with several areas of concentration. Both Plan A and Plan B require a minimum of 30 credit hours, exclusive of seminars. Plan A includes 9 credit hours of thesis research, 9 credits of 400 level courses, and a minimum of 12 credit hours in graduate civil and environmental engineering courses, exclusive of thesis, seminar, and directed reading. Plan B includes a minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate civil and environmental engineering courses, exclusive of seminar and directed reading, as well as a technical report. Both plans require a minimum of 1 credit of seminar. Reference:

Electrical Engineering - Plan A (thesis) must be followed to obtain an MS degree. A minimum of 30 credit hours are required in courses numbered 400-498 and 600-790 with a grade of "C" or better. This plan requires a minimum of 9 credit hours in EE 700 Thesis Research, a minimum of 12 credit hours in 600-695 courses in a major track (computers, electro-physics, or systems), and a minimum of 6 credit hours in 400- or higher-level courses outside of the major track. In addition, each student must complete one seminar course in electrical engineering and enroll for at least 1 credit in EE 700 in the final semester. Reference:

Mechanical Engineering - Students are required to follow the Plan A (thesis) program. However, under special circumstances, a petition to follow Plan B (non-thesis) may be granted by the graduate faculty. A minimum of 30 credit hours is required for graduation, including 1 credit hour for seminar. Plan A students must take 8 credit hours of thesis research, 12 credit hours in the ME 600 course series, and 9 credit hours in technical electives. Technical elective courses must be at the 400 level or above, selected from engineering, mathematics, or physical sciences approved by the student's thesis committee. For graduation, each candidate must present an acceptable thesis (research report for Plan B) and must pass a final oral examination based on the thesis for Plan A or on the course work and the research report for Plan B. Reference:

Ocean and Resources Engineering: The MS degree can be earned under either Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (independent project) option. The program requires a minimum of 30 academic credits. At least 24 credits must be earned in advanced courses numbered 600 or above. Up to two credits of directed reading and six transferred credits can be counted toward the MS requirements. Students, who satisfy the pre-program requirements, are required to take the General Examination during the first semester of their full-time enrollment to test their knowledge in mathematics, science, and basic engineering, and their preparation for the graduate-level coursework. Students who passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination within the last three years are exempted. Passing the exam advances the students to master's candidacy. Reference:

Biological Engineering: Biological Engineering courses as well as courses from the related fields of engineering, agriculture, and sciences may be utilized to fulfill the minimum requirement of 30 credit hours. Both Plan A (thesis) and Plan B (non-thesis) are available. Reference:

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Civil Engineering - The Department offers a graduate program leading to the Ph.D. degree in civil engineering with areas of concentration in construction management, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, and transportation.

All Ph.D. students are required to take a qualifying examination (QE), which is administered at a time and date that is convenient and appropriate for students taking the exam and their advisors, in coordination with the Graduate Program Chair.
Students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 50 credit hours in course work beyond the B.S. and a minimum of 1 credit hour in civil and environmental engineering graduate seminars as a Ph.D. student. Based on a written recommendation of the student’s dissertation committee, and with the approval of the Graduate Program Chair, students entering the Ph.D. program may be granted an equivalence of up to 30 credit hours earned as part of the student’s M.S. program. The 30 credit hour equivalents may include up to 9 credit hours for the previous M.S. thesis work, but exclude graduate seminar credit hours taken as part of the M.S. program.
Every Ph.D. student must pass a comprehensive examination. The purpose of this examination is to ascertain the student’s comprehension of the advances in the chosen specialty. Examinations are given when, in the judgment of the dissertation committee, the student has had sufficient preparation, but not sooner than six calendar months after the student has passed the qualifying examination. PhD candidates are required to take a final examination in defense of their thesis. Reference:

Electrical Engineering - If the advisor determines that the student does not have the equivalent of the present course work for the M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Hawaii, the student will be required to take designated courses to fulfill these deficiencies; such courses are not applicable toward the Ph.D. course credit requirements. In addition, a minimum of 9 credit hours in 600 level courses in the student's major track and a minimum of 3 credit hours in 600 level courses outside the student's major track are required. These courses must be approved by the graduate advisor for the student's major track. The Department also requires that all candidates participate in a teaching project; they must demonstrate this proficiency in the communication of ideas and concepts by successfully completing 3 credits in EE 790, Directed Instruction.

The student is advanced to candidacy upon successfully passing the Qualifying Examination. The doctoral committee must be selected within two semesters after the student becomes a candidate. Doctoral candidates must pass qualifying, comprehensive and final examinations. Reference:

Mechanical Engineering - Intended candidates for the PhD are required to pass an oral qualifying examination within the prescribed period of time. After passing the qualifying examination, the student will be admitted to the status of "candidate" in the PhD program. Students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 50 credit hours in course work beyond the BS level. They are required to select one major and one minor field of study within the following three areas of concentration: materials/manufacturing, mechanics/systems/controls, or thermal/fluid sciences.

Students who enter the program may, with the approval of the graduate chair, be credited with up to 30 credits for equivalent work to be counted toward their PhD-credit-hour requirement. Up to 8 of these 30 credit hours may be assigned for prior MS thesis work. Students who possess a second MS degree may be credited with up to 9 additional credit hours for equivalent work. Up to 6 credit hours may be assigned for course work taken as an unclassified graduate student. All courses shall be selected by students but must be approved in writing by their committees. These courses must form an integrated education plan. A minimum of 2 credit hours in ME 691 or its equivalent must be included in every PhD program.

PhD candidates must pass an oral comprehensive examination to demonstrate their comprehension of the chosen areas of study relevant to their dissertation proposals and basic knowledge of courses taken in their major and minor fields. Students who fail the comprehensive examination may, at the discretion of the graduate faculty concerned, repeat it once after at least six months. Students who fail the examination a second time will be dropped from the program. Students are required to complete a satisfactory doctoral dissertation and to pass an oral final examination based primarily upon the dissertation. The final examination will be administered by the respective PhD committee. A student passes the final examination upon the favorable recommendation of a majority of the PhD committee. Reference:

Ocean and Resources Engineering - All intended candidates for the PhD degree must take a written qualifying examination before or during the third semester of full-time enrollment. In addition to covering the basic undergraduate fundamentals, the examination tests the students' understanding of the coursework at the M.S. level.

After passing the qualifying examination and being advanced to candidacy, the students must take a comprehensive examination, which tests their ability to carry out original research and preparation for the selected dissertation topic. The examination has a five-day (Monday through Friday) written component and an oral component in the following week. The written component is equivalent to a take-home exam. The students have access to books, computers, and software, but must not discuss the questions with anyone other than the exam committee members. The oral examination provides the students an opportunity to address issues that may arise from the written part and to defend the novelty of the proposed research.

The dissertation topic must be approved by a committee consisting of a minimum of five graduate faculty members with at least one from outside the Department. In addition, the Department Chair may appoint a member to the committee. The student is encouraged to publish the research work in refereed journals in order to obtain feedback from the research community and to develop a publication track record prior to graduation. The student must present and defend the dissertation at a final examination. Reference: