Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program Information
MA Program Description
The Asian Studies Program at the University of Hawai‘i offers an unequalled 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 FAOs who are preparing to work in their Asia region of expertise.
The University’s location in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, offers unique opportunities for FAOs concentrating on Asia. The extensive academic resources at UH-Mānoa are enhanced by its proximity to the East-West Center and the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. The numerous Asian and Asian-American communities on Oah‘u—and the temples, festivals, performances, talks, classes, restaurants and cultural sites they support—provide an unparalleled resource for learning about Asian cultures and worldviews outside the classroom. Finally, given that between a quarter and a third of all job assignments for Asia FAOs are based in Hawaii, studying at UH gives you access to these units through briefings, lectures, and so on. It also gives you the opportunity to check out future job prospects—specifically, which jobs you might wish to compete for as well as which jobs you might wish to avoid.
The MA program requires students to complete 30 credits of coursework and reach the 301-302 level in their target language (students may test out of the language requirement if they have already reached that level). Of the 30 credits, there are only three required courses (total 9 credits). Students work with their academic advisers to design a course of study that best fits their needs and areas of interest.
FAOs are advised to select the Plan B: Non-Thesis Option, although accommodation may be made for individuals who wish to complete the Plan A: Thesis option.
Program Special Features
- Offers a pathway for FAOs to complete the program in 12 months of rigorous coursework and directed study.
- Access to faculty and summer programs at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.
- Resident tuition rates for all FAOs, which makes UH a “low cost” school.
To be eligible for admission to the University of Hawai‘i, applicants must
- hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university, or an equivalent degree from a recognized non-U.S. institution of higher education.
- have earned a GPA of 3.0 or above (B average on a 1-4 scale) for undergraduate and any post-baccalaureate coursework. If your GPA does not meet this cut-off, you may still be considered for admission if, in your work experience, you can demonstrate your aptitude for academic work (critical thinking, reading and writing at an advanced level).
FAOs go through the normal application procedures for the MA in Asian Studies. For detailed information on how to apply, please see University of Hawai’i’s Asian Studies Program
In brief, your application must include the following materials:
- UH-Mānoa graduate Admission Application (including application fee)
- Transcripts from all undergraduate and post-baccalaureate graduate coursework
- GRE scores
- Asian Studies Graduate Program Application Form
- Statement of Purpose Writing sample (minimum ten pages)
- Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your aptitude for graduate work.
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: email@example.com
Deferral of Admission
Admission to the Asian Studies MA Program is valid only for the semester for which you are applying. If you need to apply more than one year in advance, you have two options:
- re-apply and pay the $100 application fee again, or
- accept admission and immediately apply for a leave of absence.
LOAs are good for only one year. The best thing to do is contact us and we will help you find a solution to your enrollment challenge.
Fact Sheet – Spring 2020
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 01/15/2020]|
|GRADE||w/ dependents||w/o dependents|
|Monthly Cost of Living Allowance (COLA-Hawaiʻi) [as of 01/15/2020]|
|GRADE||TIME FRAME||w/ dependents (#)||w/o dependents|
|O-3||8 yrs||$679 (3)||$535|
|O-3||8 yrs||$647 (2)||$535|
|O-3||8 yrs||$583 (1)||$535|
|O-4||10 yrs||$752 (3)||$573|
|O-4||10 yrs||$716 (2)||$573|
|O-4||10 yrs||$645 (1)||$573|
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.
School of Pacific & Asian Studies Contacts
UH/SPAS Recruiting Representative: Dr. Cathy Clayton
UH/SPAS Asian Studies Department Chair: Dr. Cathy Clayton
UH/SPAS/FAO Graduate Advising & Admission Documents: Pattie Dunn, (808) 956-7814; Facsimile: (808) 956-6345