Hawaii is one of the smallest states by area in the country, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for higher education. Thanks to a major university and the branch campuses of other institutions, adults in Hawaii who are interested in pursuing a degree by distance education have several options. The following schools are three venues for attaining a bachelor’s degree online in Hawaii:

University of Hawaii-West O’ahu

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 5
  • Fields Offered: Business Administration, Social Sciences, Public Administration
  • Accreditor: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

The University of Hawaii-West O’ahu offers online bachelor’s degree programs in business administration, social sciences, political science, early childhood education, and healthcare administration. Some of West O’ahu’s distance education programs use both interactive television and online course delivery systems. Most online courses offered through West O’ahu use Laulima, the University of Hawaii’s learning management system. Through Laulima, students can access course discussions, lecture materials, and assignments. The University of Hawaii also provides online student tutorials to prepare students for using the Laulima course management and collaborative system.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 25
  • Fields Offered: Business, Language, Human Development, Math and Sciences
  • Accreditor: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Brigham Young-Hawaii is a four-year, private, not-for-profit university operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Laie, Hawaii. BYU-Hawaii offers online bachelor’s degree programs through the Blackboard learning management system in areas including accounting, art, biochemistry, biology, business management, computer science, English, history, Hawaiian studies, and hospitality and tourism management. BYU-Hawaii offers online programs during fall, winter, and two summer semesters, though it does require at least 30 credits of course work be obtained on-campus.

University of Phoenix-Hawaii Campus

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 44
  • Fields Offered: Arts and Sciences, Business and Management, Criminal Justice and Security, Education, Human Services, Nursing and Health Care, Psychology, Technology
  • Accreditor: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

The University of Phoenix is a four-year, private, for-profit institution that operates a campus in Honolulu, Hawaii. The University of Phoenix uses its own learning management system to deliver course materials such as lectures, assignments, and online discussion boards. The University of Phoenix requires 54 bachelor’s degree credits for general education, though credit requirements vary by degree type. The Hawaii campus offers online bachelor’s degree programs in areas including communication, accounting, business, management, criminal justice administration, human services, and psychology. Classes may be offered asynchronously or synchronously depending on the course.

Higher Education in Hawaii

Higher education in Hawaii is led by the University of Hawaii System. The University of Hawaii System comprises three universities ó Manoa, Hilo, and West O’ahu ó and is managed and controlled by the Board of Regents, which sets policies for the university system. The system offers distance learning options; its primary online education provider is the University of Hawaii-West O’ahu.

The University of Hawaii has been a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) since 1959. The WICHE is a 15-state commission working to improve higher education access in the West. Hawaii is a part of the WICHE’s Internet Course Exchange (ICE), which sets policies, procedures, and support systems for sharing distance learning courses among the 15-state region. The University of Hawaii System’s director of academic technologies, Hae Okimoto, is also the chair of the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, which works to improve technology-enhanced teaching and learning in higher education.


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