at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
UHCSEAS on Facebook UHCSEAS on Twitter UHCSEAS on LinkedIn UHCSEAS on Vimeo UHCSEAS on Google+ UHCSEAS on Instagram UHCSEAS on Pinterest
The Center for Southeast Asian Studies > Students > Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program Information

Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program Information


The Asian Studies Program at the University of Hawai‘i offers an unprecedented opportunity for FAOs to study a wide range of topics, disciplines, and methodologies covering a broad geographical arc including East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The School of Pacific & Asian Studies (SPAS) is home to two Title VI national resource centers for Asia (East Asia and Southeast Asia) ranking the school’s Asia programs among the strongest in the US.

The University of Hawaii’s Asian Studies Program has been engaged with the FAO Program since 1997. Since that time, we have awarded MA degrees to more than 75 officers across all regions of Asia. The MA degree program is tailored to meet the academic needs of the FAO who is preparing to work in their Asia region of expertise. In support of the FAO program’s desired one year graduate degree, we now offer a concentrated MA degree pathway for FAOs. This new initiative will encompass two semesters at UH and a summer at The Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies ( located only a few miles from the UH campus (this partnership is currently pending final approval from APCSS). This is a rigorous study schedule of 15 credit hours each semester and a 6 credit directed reading research paper at APCSS during the summer. In support of the FAO initiative, we are proud to announce that FAOs attending UH are granted State of Hawai‘i resident status. This status provides cost offset by classifying UH as a low cost school.

Deferral of Admission

Some FAOs apply to UH more than one year in advance; however, admission is valid only for the semester for which you are applying. So if you apply more than one year in advance, you have two options:

(1) re-apply and pay the $100 application fee again, or

(2) accept admission and immediately apply for a leave of absence.

LOAs are good for only 1 year. The best thing to do is contact us, and we will help you to find a solution to your enrollment challenge.

Study Program Guide

1. In order to overcome current FAO time restrictions and make up for the four semesters that comprise our standard MA degree program, FAO students are now able to take 15 credit hours for both the fall and spring semesters to meet the one-year Army mandate. In order to complete the year degree with the required number of credits, the Asian Studies Program offers FAOs access to the summer program at The Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (currently pending final approval). This is a unique opportunity limited to FAOs and is designed to allow FAOs to interact with military officers and security personnel from across the Asia-Pacific region.

2. FAOs are advised to select the Plan B: Non-thesis option, as the Plan A: Thesis option is for completion of the program in four-semesters of study. FAO students selecting the Plan A option will be advised to obtain approval for the fourth semesters of study from their unit superior before entering the MA program.

3. The MA degree is a language-intensive program requiring skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing to an equivalent of four years of language study. FAOs typically meet these language requirements and can replace the standard language credits with other UHM courses selected to meet their own individual educational goals.

FAO Student/Alumni Contacts

Applicants are encouraged to consult our current students/recent alumni for further information.

David Gigliotti, East Asia/Korea Specialist – US Command Seoul
Marcus Ferrara, SEA/Thailand Specialist – US Embassy Thailand
Pete Fowler, SEA/Malaysia Specialist – Private industry
Travis Cox, South Asia Specialist – Recent graduate

Application Procedures

Students applying to the Master’s programs must submit the following materials:

To the Graduate Division (all students):

– Completed graduate application form – You may apply on-line.
– US citizens and permanent residents application fee = $100

– One official copy of transcript sent directly from all post-secondary educational institutions attended

– Official GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score report, aptitude test only (choose “Area Studies” for department)

To the Asian Studies Program:
– Two letters of recommendation. download form

– A 10 page writing sample
 (FAO applicants have submitted past BA papers or battle reports)
– A one-page Statement of Purpose
– Asian Studies Information Form – You may apply on-line here.

Contact Information:
 Pattie Dunn, FAO Student Academic Advisor, Asian Studies Program, 
School of Pacific & Asian Studies
, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
, 1890 East-West Road, Moore Hall 416, 
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96822
; Telephone: (808)956-7814; Facsimile: (808)956-6345; Email:

Fact Sheet – Spring 2017

Tuition Cost Offset: FAOs are now automatically given in-state tuition status. UH is a low-cost school.

Cost of Living in Hawaiʻi
Hawaiʻi has an extremely high cost of living – if you are not in the military. Prices in the commissary nearly mirror those in Monterey. On-post housing is available at Fort Shafter, but sometimes there is a waiting list. Off-post rent is comparable to that in Monterey with some of Hawaiʻi’s best residential areas within biking/walking distance from the University (Mānoa Valley, Saint Louis Heights, Kahala, and Waikīkī). All dependent medical care is handled at Tripler Army Medical Center. The care is fast and first-rate, with no payment of a Tricare deductible. Hawaiʻi can be expensive, but the Army provides adequate compensation (BAH/COLA) to meet ones needs.

Monthly Housing Allowance [BAH-Hawaiʻi] [as of 012/01/2016]:

GRADE w/ dependents w/o dependents
O-3 $3375 $2820
O-4 $3786 $3090
Monthly Cost of Living Allowance [COLA-Hawaiʻi] [as of 12/01/2016]:

GRADE TIME FRAME w/ dependents (#) w/o dependents
O-3 8 yrs $958 (3) $730
O-3 8 yrs $912 (2)
O-3 8 yrs $820 (1)

GRADE TIME FRAME w/ dependents (#) w/o dependents
O-4 10 yrs $1060 (3) $780
O-4 10 yrs $1010 (2)
O-4 10 yrs $908 (1)

Space-A Travel

The availability of travel via Space-A in and out of Hawaiʻi is plentiful. Daily flights occur to/from Travis AFB (S.F. area), McCord AFB (Seattle area), and Yokota AFB (Tokyo area). Weekly flights occur to/from North Island NAS (San Diego area), March AFB (L.A. area), Kelly AFB (San Antonio area), McGuire AFB (New Jersey), and Charleston AFB (South Carolina). Being stationed in Hawaiʻi, dependents are authorized to travel unaccompanied Space-A anywhere within the Pacific Theater and to the end-destination for CONUS mission. As an Asia-focused FAO, this is an invaluable fringe benefit. It is extremely easy to travel to/from Japan during class breaks or PTDY during summer semester. From Japan, there are multiple flights each week to Korea and Singapore, which are extremely economical gateways to China, Southeast Asia, and India.

General Topics of Interest

As a FAO concentrating on Asia, about one-fourth to one-third of your future job assignments will be in Hawaiʻi (Pacific Command, JICPAC, US Army Pacific, The Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies). Studying at the University of Hawaiʻi gives you early access to all of these centers in the form of briefings, lectures, conferences, etc. The resources are there if you want them. It also provides you the opportunity to check out future job opportunities, specifically which jobs you might wish to compete for as well as which jobs you might wish to avoid.

Access to Professionals in Your Field

The Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, located in Waikīkī, is the preeminent security think tank and educational center in the Pacific.

The East-West Center, located on the campus of the University of Hawaiʻi offers access to top researchers in Asia and the Pacific, visiting diplomats, scholars-in-residence from around the world, and ongoing conferences, talks and performances.

Additional Contact Information
DOD Per Diem Website (Apartment rentals – Honolulu)

University of Hawai′i

School of Pacific & Asian Studies Contacts
UH/SPAS Recruiting Representative: Paul Rausch
UH/SPAS Asian Studies Department Chair: Dr. Barbara Andaya
UH/SPAS/FAO Graduate Advising & Admission Documents: Pattie Dunn, (808) 956-7814; Facsimile: (808) 956-6345