Ocean & Resource Engineering and Ocean Law & Policy Education at The School Of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology & Richardson School of Law


The University of Hawai‘i (UH) is a public, postsecondary education system composed of 10 campuses throughout the 50th state. The flagship campus at Mânoa. University of Hawai‘i at Mânoa (UH Mânoa) is a research university of international standing. It creates, refines, disseminates, and perpetuates human knowledge; offers a comprehensive array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees through the doctoral level, including law and medicine; carries out advanced research; and extends services to the community. Students have special opportunities for Asian, Pacific, and Hawaiian educational experiences and involvement in research activities, service learning, and co-curricular activities.

20,000-plus students are enrolled in UH Mânoa courses, on campus or via distance delivery, studying toward bachelor’s degrees in 90 fields of study, master’s degrees in 84, doctorates in 51, first professional degrees in architecture, law, and medicine, and a total of 58 undergraduate and graduate certificates. In addition, 68.4 percent of UH Mânoa students are undergraduates, 55.7 percent are women, and 71.8 percent attend school full-time. The mean age of students is 25.

The School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) was established in 1988. It combines and integrates the Departments of Geology and Geophysics, Meteorology, Ocean and Resources Engineering, and Oceanography.

The Richardson School of Law offers a three-year, post-baccalaureate program culminating in the Juris Doctor (JD) degree, also known as the first professional degree in law. A JD degree prepares students for the bar examination, admission to the bar, and a satisfying career in legal and related fields. The school also offers an LLM for international students.

Academic Programs

Graduate Programs

  • MS in Ocean and Resources Engineering: The MS program prepares students for a professional career in advanced ocean science and technology. Coastal engineering deals with coastal and harbor problems, sediment transport, nearshore environmental engineering, and coastal flood hazards. Ocean resources engineering is concerned with the engineering systems to develop the energy, mineral, and living resources of the oceans, the use of the ocean for waste disposal, and the environmental and economic aspects of these activities.
  • LLM Program for International Students with Specialization in Ocean Law and Policy: The LLM program is a one-year course of study open to foreign legal professionals and law graduates who wish to gain a broader understanding of US and international legal issues. To graduate, students must complete at least 24 credit hours. Students are free to design their own course of study and may select a range of courses and seminars in areas such as business and commercial law, Ocean & Costal Law etc.

PhD Program

  • PhD in Ocean and Resources Engineering: Educational and research emphasis is placed on coastal engineering, offshore engineering, and ocean resources engineering. Coastal engineering deals with coastal and harbor problems, sediment transport, nearshore environmental engineering, and coastal flood hazards due to storm surge tsunamis. Offshore engineering is concerned with structures and systems used in the deeper parts of the ocean, including the continental shelf. The PhD program requires completion of course work requirements for the MS in ORE, qualifying exam, comprehensive exam, dissertation, and final oral exam / defense of dissertation.

UH Mânoa Features

In addition to the flagship campus at Mânoa, the UH system includes UH Hilo, a four-year campus located on the island of Hawai‘i, and UH West O‘ahu, a four-year campus located on the leeward side of O‘ahu. There are four UH Community College campuses on O‘ahu and one on each of three neighbor islands, making college classes accessible and affordable in easing the transition from high school to college for many students.

  • Campus: The main UH campus located in Mânoa valley on the island of O‘ahu. The beauty of Mânoa valley serves as a backdrop for a unique yet inviting campus. A popular campus symbol is the rainbow, a frequent sight in Mânoa valley.
  • Accreditation: UH Mânoa is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Professional programs are individually accredited by appropriate agencies.
  • Career Development and Student Employment: : The Center for Career Development and Student Employment (CDSE) empowers students to engage in career life planning through awareness, exploration, experience, and reflection. As a student-centered organization, CDSE contributes to the engagement and retention of students in career life planning through counseling; experiential, work-based learning programs; outreach activities, and workshops that promote professional and personal development.
  • Sea Grant College Program: The University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program (UH Sea Grant) supports an innovative program of research, education, and outreach services directed to the improved understanding and stewardship of marine and coastal resources of the state, region, and nation. UH Sea Grant is a partnership of UH Mânoa, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the State of Hawai‘i that is facilitated by strong linkages with 32 Sea Grant programs across the nation and affiliations throughout the Pacific.
  • Law School Ulu Lehua Scholars Program: The program selects students from legally underserved communities who have overcome adversity and demonstrated academic potential, leadership ability, and commitment to social justice and provides an opportunity for them to obtain a legal education. Ulu Lehua Scholars are fully matriculated into the JD Program, but they also benefit from participation in a small, supportive learning community within the law school, and from course load flexibility during their first year.
  • Pro Bono Program: The Pro Bono Program at the William S. Richardson School of Law was one of the first law school pro bono programs and is thought to be the first student-initiated mandatory program in the nation. Students are required to locate and to provide law-related pro bono work under the supervision of an attorney, law school faculty or dean, or other supervisor.
  • Housing: Student Housing Services offers a limited number of apartments in a Hale Wainani low-rise for Graduate and Family Housing. Graduate and Family Housing will be available in one and two bedroom units located in the low-rise apartment buildings.

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