General Education Classes, Gen Ed Courses | Hawaii Pacific University

General Education

Program Overview

The General Education Program at Hawai‘i Pacific University is designed to help students lead exultant and courageous lives as intelligent members of a complex society. By introducing students to different ways of knowing, the General Education Program challenges students to become creative and innovative, both within their chosen career fields and in their wider lives. In so doing, the General Education program prepares students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. 



The purpose of the General Education Program is to provide students with a liberal arts foundation, set in the rich cultural context of Hawai‘i. Diverse courses outside the major will inspire lifelong learning by introducing students to ideas, perspectives, and experiences relevant to their lives. The General Education Program cultivates the skills, knowledge, and values expected of all educated persons through the achievement of specific student learning outcomes.



The unique features of the general education are the Hawaiian context and Hawai‘i’s place as the crossroads of the Pacific. This curriculum will be delivered to an internationally diverse, engaged student body and will emphasize multidisciplinary approaches, applied learning, and experiential learning, rooted in a tropical island community.

The general education curriculum is aligned with the following Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) core competencies: critical thinking, information literacy, oral communication, quantitative reasoning, and written communication.  


PROGRAM Learning outcomes 

The general education program features three general program learning outcomes that are aligned with fourteen specific general education  learning outcomes:


Students will develop skills in writing, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, group process, and communication so they can find, evaluate, and implement information effectively to solve problems.


Students will explore diverse social and cultural viewpoints and gain knowledge about the historical, geographical, natural, technological and contemporary forces that impact and shape the world.


Students will discern and assess the values that underlie various crucial positions, articulate their own values with coherence and integrity, and participate in community projects that bridge academia and the public good.



Within the first year at HPU or directly following any required foundational writing course(s), students will complete one course in each of the following curriculum areas:  

  • Hawai’i and the Pacific

  • Quantitative Analysis and Symbolic Reasoning

  • Writing and Information Literacy I 

  • Writing and Information Literacy II


Following or in tandem with the First Year Common Core, students will be required to take one course in each of the remaining eight curriculum areas:

  • The American Experience  

  • Creative Arts

  • Critical Thinking and Expression

  • Global Crossroads and Diversity

  • The Natural World

  • The Sustainable World

  • Technology and Innovation

  • Traditions and Movements that Shape the World


Some of the courses required for the general education program may also apply to certain academic majors. When students count a course in both places instead of choosing a different general education course, they increase the number of unrestricted elective credits available. A maximum of 4 courses can count BOTH towards the general education and the academic major lower-division requirements. Detailed advice for students who wish to maximize the overlap between general education and major requirements can be found on the HPU website at Academic Catalog Degree Requirements.