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Study in Hawaii, United States

State overview

Hawaii is the most recent to join of the 50 US states and the only one to be made up entirely of islands. Situated in the mid-Pacific, Hawaii has a diverse population with Asian, American and native influences.

Made up of eight main islands, Hawaii is an extremely popular tourist destination. With plenty of amazing wildlife and animals (many of which only exist in Hawaii), sandy beaches, volcanoes and a rich culture, Hawaii is a great place to study topics such as natural sciences or anthropology.

Hawaii is a tropical paradise. Who wouldn’t want to study a graduate program in Hawaii?

Education profile

Universities in Hawaii tend to have campuses on the islands and mainland USA. The main university system in Hawaii is the University of Hawaii System, but several private universities also offer graduate programs in Hawaii.

Professional, or ‘terminal’, masters are designed to lead to employment rather than further study. Popular courses include: Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) and Master of Library Science (M.L.S.).

Academic masters, however, are generally designed to lead the way into doctorate/PhD study. Popular courses include: Master of Education (M.Ed.), and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.).

Both last between one and three years, depending on the subject.

Doctoral degrees are the most advanced level of higher education, and usually take between four and eight years to complete, which includes the time it takes to write and present a dissertation. 

Immigration and visas

If you want to study a postgraduate course in Hawaii you will need to apply for a non-immigrant visa.

The most common kind of student visa is the F-1 visa, which entitles the holder to study at any US accredited college or university.
To apply for a student visa for a graduate program in Hawaii, you will need to fill out an application form (found on the US Embassy website) and send appropriate documentation, such as evidence of financial standing and proof of university acceptance and academic qualifications, as well as possibly attending a visa interview at the US Embassy in your home country.

Life in Hawaii

Life in Hawaii is laidback. Nothing gets done at pace in Hawaii, so take your time and slip into a Hawaiian frame of mind. This is a place where outdoor activities dominate. You can hike up the state’s cliffs in the morning, go diving or snorkelling in coral reef in the afternoon, and end the day sipping mai tai cocktails on the beach. And do some studying in between too, obviously.

Your experience of life in Hawaii will depend on which of the islands you choose to study on, although you will almost certainly live on one of the big eight, and most likely on either Maui or Hawaii island.

Working in Hawaii

Hawaii’s economy is based around tourism and has been since statehood in 1959. More than 25% of the state’s income comes from tourism related industries such catering, hospitality and services.

Hawaii also has a significant export market, with a particular focus on food and apparel. In terms of food, Hawaiian exports include coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock and sugarcane.

The public sector has a big presence in Hawaii’s economy than most states, accounting for 21.5% of gross state product compared to the national average of 12%.


Most postgraduates coming to study in Hawaii opt to live in graduate halls of accommodation, as this is the easiest way to meet fellow students and settle into life in Hawaii easily. The easiest way of securing graduate accommodation in Hawaii is to contact the housing department of your chosen institution.

As a major tourist destination, there is plenty of accommodation in Hawaii if you decide to live privately. However, it is still worth contacting your institution first to find out about suitable areas to live.

Weather and climate

Hawaii has a climate typical of the tropics, with long hot summers and warm winters. Temperatures stay pretty constant all year round, ranging from 25C-32C. Hawaii has only two seasons – a dry season lasting from May until October, and a wet season from October until April.

What to do next

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