Online learning enables students to better fit school into their schedules and budgets in every state, and Hawaii is no exception.
The unique geography and culture of the island state of Hawaii offer rich possibilities for online learners at one of Hawaii’s 20 degree–granting institutions. Traveling to a nearby island or to the mainland can be expensive and time–consuming, making online classes an ideal alternative for those not near a university or for working students.
Participation in online colleges in Hawaii is growing. According to one government report, over one–quarter of students enrolled in Hawaiian colleges and universities are taking at least one online class, and the classes offered reach a diverse array of interests. The University of Hawaiʻi, for example, offers 47 online programs, including certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s programs, and graduate degrees and certificates.
Additionally, some online programs offered by Hawaiian institutions are tailored to fit the unique needs of Hawaiians. For example, students can gain credentials in fields such as disaster preparedness, travel and leisure, and indigenous language and culture, while other programs help to fill the state’s critical needs for nurses, social workers, teachers, and business leaders. Enrolling in an online college in Hawaii is a positive first step toward a career in Hawaii or beyond.
The Best Online Colleges in Hawaii
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
The University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa, founded in 1907, is a public research university and the flagship campus of the greater University of Hawaiʻi system. The university has a student body consisting of over 19,000 students. The school offers over 200 degree programs and is one of a handful of land–grant, sea–grant and space–grant universities in the country.
The University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa offers a variety of certificate, bachelor, master and doctoral degrees online. Certificate options include disability studies and online learning and teaching. Bachelor’s degrees include several topics in education. Master’s degrees attainable online include library science and social work. Doctoral degree programs include nursing.
Students have access to an online library with a scholarly article database, an online job board and technical support over the phone.
Hawai'i Pacific University
HPU was founded in 1965 in the business district of Honolulu, just a few blocks away from the state capitol. In 1992 the school merged with Hawai'i Loa College, eight miles away on the windward side of O'ahu. This secondary campus is known as HLC. In 2014, HPU became affiliated with the Oceanic Institute, a research organization on the windward coast. Together, these three campuses form one of the largest schools in Hawaii, serving approximately 5,000 students.
HPU is one of the only online schools in Hawaii to offer a doctor of nursing practice degree that can be completed entirely online. The school also offers many of the required business courses for an MBA in an online format.
Chaminade University of Honolulu
Chaminade University of Honolulu is a private Roman Catholic university founded in 1955. The school gets its name from Father William Joseph Chaminade, a priest who survived the French Revolution in the late 1700s and believed schools were critical to changing society for the better. The university has over 2,000 students enrolled in six academic divisions. People of all faiths are welcome to attend.
Chaminade University of Honolulu provides almost 50 bachelor, master and certificate programs online in a variety of topics. Available online bachelor’s degrees include criminology, liberal arts and psychology. Online master’s degrees include education, business and criminal justice. Online certificate options include underwater investigation, Montessori credentials for teachers and business administration.
Available resources for online students include online tutoring and an online library with a scholarly article database.
University of Hawaiʻi - West O'ahu
The University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu opened its doors in 1976 and offered only upper–level courses until 2007. The university has over 3,000 students, provides over 30 degree programs and has more than 100 faculty members. The school is one of the 10 campuses that form the University of Hawaiʻi System and works to provide distance learning to students living on Oʻahu and on other islands in the state.
Because of the inconvenience involved when traversing the Hawaiian Islands, distance education is somewhat of a university specialty. The University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu offers several bachelor’s degrees and certificates. Online bachelor’s degree offerings include political science, accounting, and early childhood education, while available certificate programs include health care administration and disaster preparedness and emergency management.
Resources available to online students include an online library with librarian live chat, a scholarly article database, online test proctoring, online tutoring, and online writing assistance.
Online Colleges in Hawaii Ranking Guidelines
We selected the online schools in Hawaii based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, and faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.