Self-Designed Study Abroad

Photograph of a University of Hawaii at Manoa independent study abroad student at the Great Wall of China, with the tagline: Not all classrooms have four walls.


Definition and Appropriateness of an Independent, Self-designed Study Abroad Program

The “self-designed” study abroad option is available to University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa students who would like to study abroad, but cannot participate in an existing traditional study abroad programs due to extenuating academic circumstances. This option should be offered judiciously as an alternative, and the student must demonstrate the need to self-design and successfully execute such a program. This option ensures that a student will receive University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa credits and grades for coursework completed overseas, as well as University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa financial aid, if he or she is eligible.

The self-designed Study Abroad Program is only available during the Fall Semester, Spring Semester and Academic Year.

NOTE: The independent, self-designed study abroad program is offered to currently enrolled University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa students only. These independent study abroad programs require a great deal of initiative on the student’s part.

Download application forms.

For more information on the independent self-designed Study Abroad Program option, contact us.


Destinations where students have previously proposed an independent study program:



  • Mato Grosso, Brazil
  • São Paulo, Brazil
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Jacó, Costa Rica
  • San José, Costa Rica
  • Ensenada, Mexico
  • Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Mexico City, Mexico


  • Brisbane, Australia
  • Paddington, Australia
  • Robina, Australia
  • Rarotonga, Cook Islands
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Wellington, New Zealand


  • Salzburg, Austria
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Angers, France
  • Aix-en-Provence, France
  • Paris, France
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Munich, Germany
  • Athens, Greece
  • Florence, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Novosibirsk, Russia
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Salamanca, Spain
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Oxford Brookes, United Kingdom

  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Beijing, China
  • Hunan, China
  • Haikou, China
  • Kunming, China
  • Suzhou, China
  • Hong Kong, SAR
  • Delhi, India
  • Bali, Indonesia
  • Incheon, South Korea
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Kyōto, Japan
  • Ōsaka, Japan
  • Sapporo, Japan
  • Tōkyō, Japan
  • Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Taichung, Taiwan
  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


  • Haifa, Israel
  • Jerusalem, Israel
  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates


  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Accra, Ghana
  • Rabat, Morocco





Program Cost

The UHM Study Abroad Center will collect three types of fees from students whose proposal to study abroad independently is approved. The exact cost will vary, depending on a student’s particular proposed program.

  • Study Abroad administrative fee (for UHM credits)
  • Study Abroad insurance
  • International Student Identity Card

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a currently enrolled UH-Mānoa student at the time of application.
  • Have a 3.0 minimum GPA, on a 4.0 scale. Lower grade point averages may be considered in exceptional cases, but will require an explanation from the applicant.
  • Request for course descriptions and course syllabi from the overseas university.
  • Make an appointment to discuss the intended program with the Study Abroad Director.
  • Select one of three options when designing the program:
    • direct enrollment at an overseas institution of higher education
    • self-directed independent study overseas, outside of a university setting
    • combination of the first two options
  • Apply directly to the overseas institution and follow their admissions requirements.
  • Arrange for travel, housing, and payment of all program expenses and fees.


A complete application must be received by the Study Abroad Center by the stated deadlines to receive consideration.  An independent program application consists of the following items:


Fall semester: April 1
Spring semester: October 15

The Study Abroad Center is closed on weekends, and Federal and State holidays.