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The College of Social Sciences

Transforming Science into Social Action

Marked by leadership, excellence and innovation, our student-centered environment is dedicated to providing students with a vibrant academic climate that affords exciting, intense interaction among students and faculty as they address fundamental questions about human behavior. Featuring outstanding scholarship through internships, active and service learning approaches to teaching, and an international focus particularly in the Asia Pacific region, we prepare students to become leaders in public and private enterprises throughout Hawai‘i and Asia.

Where Inspiration Leads To Change

A degree from the College of Social Sciences reflects who our students are. They are individuals who have made a difference personally, locally and globally. They are idea makers, leaders, catalysts. They are impacting policies, changing the way societies respond to social needs, influencing the way communities are developed, uncovering the next big story and speaking for those who have no voice.

One of 17 colleges and schools at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the College of Social Sciences is among the largest of UH Mānoa’s units. It includes 12 academic departments: Anthropology, Communications/Journalism, Economics, Ethnic Studies, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Public Administration, Public Policy Center/Matsunaga Institute for Peace, Sociology, Urban and Regional Planning and Women’s Studies. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, an educational membership program offering courses and activities to encourage older individuals to engage their minds and enrich their lives, is also a unit within the college.

Our Strengths … Going Beyond the Books

Student Centered: Learn to Lead the Way
We foster an active environment that puts students among peers who share the same passions. Encouraged to participate and to ask probing questions, to think aloud and to be part of spirited debates, our students learn to lead the way and bring fresh perspectives on issues.

Critical Thinking: Think What Others Don’t
Our students are exposed to a wide range of perspectives that enhance their spirit of inquiry and encourage their pursuit of truth. They are asked to consider multiple perspectives, challenge their biases and seek alternative solutions to issues at hand.

Applied Dimensions: Get Real World Experience
Through a blend of internships, service learning, networking and mentorships, we provide opportunities for students to take an active role in their own education. This real world experience deepens the academic experience and prepares students for relevance and success after college.

Geographic Advantage: Be at the Center of it All
Our unique geographical location allows for not only substantial exposure to influences from the Asia Pacific regions, but also immersion in a community of scholars within an exciting, multicultural, urban setting. This rich combination provides students with in-depth understanding of the human dimension. 

Research Active: Do What Matters
Hawai‘i’s multicultural population and unique geographical setting serves as a natural laboratory for social science research. This setting enables our faculty and students to conduct significant research and applied investigations that result in innovative solutions for critical social, behavioral, economic and environmental issues challenging Hawai‘i and the Asia Pacific regions.

Award Winning Faculty: Be Mentored by Innovators
Our international faculty are dedicated to the student experience. Hailing from countries such as Canada, China, Columbia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, Samoa, Turkey, the Ukraine and more, these dedicated individuals work to identify and connect our students with opportunities to explore and succeed in their chosen field.

Alumni Network: Connect with Market Leaders
Our 27,100-plus alumni span 55 countries and all 50 states. Together they provide our students with a strong network of CSS alumni and friends who are ready to help them navigate through life.

Shaping the World: Make an Impact
Our faculty, students and staff are today’s unsung heroes. Together they take inspiration, blend it with ingenuity, and turn ideas into innovations that make a positive impact on our everyday lives including environmental policy, natural resource management, energy conservation, smart grid technologies, health care delivery systems, disaster science training, monetary policy implications, communication policy and planning, international trade policies, invasive species management, community-level food security, cultural revitalization initiatives, agricultural land use policy, family adaptation and promotion of positive development for children with developmental disabilities, foster-care system reform initiatives, research and active civic engagement, and more.

Impact of Giving

Private support plays a key role in helping our college. With your help, the possibilities are endless and the impacts are immeasurable.

  • Expanding Horizons
    Afford opportunities for our students to gain a globally relevant, exceptional educational experience that exposes them to wide range of perspectives, enhances their spirit and skills of inquiry, and encourages their continual pursuit of truth.
  • Game-Changing Innovation
    Support academic innovation and research that transform science into social action that improves the human condition.
  • Leveraging Resources
    Unlock new ways to support high-quality academic programs that stretch minds beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

Funding Priorities

Student Scholarships

Student Scholarships 
Student scholarships enable us to attract and retain talented undergraduate students who display leadership potential, academic achievement, financial need, or other unique talents. Your gift to student scholarships provides assistance to advance students’ lives, particularly Native Hawaiians, underserved communities and first-generation students.

Graduate Fellowships 
Graduate students are emerging scholars who often serve as catalysts for elevating the reputation and quality of academic departments. Graduate fellowships provides us with the capacity to offer significant financial support packages to prospective highly-accomplished students, many of whom receive multiple offers from other public and private universities.

Native Hawaiian Initiative Fund
The Native Hawaiian Initiative directly supports the advancement of Native Hawaiian students in our college, and in the exposure all of our students to both historical and current indigenous cultural factors.

Global Study Opportunities
In a rapidly globalized society, the opportunity to study abroad is fundamental to the education of our students.  Students who study abroad are found to be more resilient, able to adapt and apply their skills in multiple settings.  They gain appreciation for different perspectives, world cultures, and global issues.  The Global Study Opportunities fund enhances international learning activities including study abroad, global student research, and the availability of international internships.

Community Outreach

Mānoa Academy
The Mānoa Academy is a multifaceted program that is part of our college’s ongoing efforts to engage local high school students, improve college readiness and prepare them for success in a global environment. Support of the Mānoa Academy provides us with the resources to continue with this innovative approach that offers Hawai‘i’s high school students the opportunity to earn dual credits at their high schools and at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The Academy ensures a dynamic learning experience where students learn more about themselves and connect with peers from across the United States and the world for a more global perspective.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute 
Our Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) is an educational membership program that offers non-credit, college-level courses and other activities to encourage our local kupuna to engage their minds, enrich their lives, and serve the community.  Philanthropy directed towards OLLI will allow the program to broaden its curriculum, recruit additional faculty and expand its outreach.


Endowed Chairs, Fellowships and Distinguished Professorships
Recruiting and retaining outstanding, world renown faculty requires direct investments in their academic endeavors. Endowed chairs, fellowships and distinguished professorships equip us with the ability to make these investments and ensure that our students have continued access to mentors and teachers who bring international acclaim and innovative research to our college.

Faculty Research
Our faculty are recognized leaders in the field of social sciences. Facilitating collaborations across disciplines worldwide, they are unrivaled in their abilities to anticipate and respond to emerging needs. Faculty research awards sustain and nurture these critical and relevant research discoveries, opportunities and efforts.

Academic Innovation

ACCESS (Advising, Community & Civic Engagement in the Social Sciences)
Our Advising, Civic and Community Engagement in the Social Sciences unit, or ACCESS as it is more commonly known, provides students with a one-stop shop where they can find a supportive network of people, resources and tools they need to succeed and thrive in college. One-on-one meetings with ACCESS academic advisors help guide students through their academic journey. Together, the student and advisor develop a customized educational plan that matches the student’s interests, skills and abilities with career and life goals. ACCESS is also a gateway to explore hands-on learning opportunities that integrate theoretical and class room teaching with real world experience. Through internships, mentorships, service learning and civic engagement, students build their resumes, network with professionals and get a head start in their chosen field. Private support is key to leveraging resources and ensuring the continued success of this innovative and dynamic unit.

Disaster Science Research
Responding to the global need for cooperative responses to natural and technological disasters, the college takes a unique whole of society approach to disaster management and works with partners to provide the social and human perspectives on disaster risk reduction and resilience. Support of Disaster Science Research will facilitate our continued work in the areas of disaster management, risk reduction, disaster recovery, climate adaption, community resilience, and the social, economic, environmental and policy issues that impact these areas.

School of Public Policy
The School of Public Policy will bring together existing programs of public policy, public administration, and urban planning to create a world-class school. Its activities and programs will inspire and advance public understanding of Hawai'i and U.S. political history, democracy and government, public service leadership, democratic ideals and global awareness through visiting and resident experts, seminars, academic programs, historical preservation, and community engagement efforts.

Environmental Sustainability and Resilience Initiative
Climate change, natural disasters, energy-water-food security, and environmental sustainability are fundamentally societal issues. This college initiative brings together faculty talent from all fields including economics, geography, anthropology, planning and women’s studies and across the campus to deliver cross-cutting degrees and certificates in this new area of study. Students will benefit from the college’s path-breaking leadership, which designated Hawai'i as a model SENCER State (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities).

College Support

Dean’s Fund
The Dean’s Fund creates extraordinary opportunities to support faculty and student research, innovation and excellence. Gifts to the Dean’s Fund provide needed support to bring together faculty and students in partnership for strategic academic enrichment activities such as specific research, community engagement or teaching initiatives that afford exciting, intense interaction among students and faculty as they address fundamental questions about human behavior.

Support The Journey

Together, we can move Hawai‘i and its people toward a remarkable future.
Together, we can Journey Beyond

For information on supporting The College of Social Sciences, please contact:

Matt Henry
Executive Director of Development, UH Mānoa
(808) 956-6701​ •