Self-Designed Study Abroad


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 program 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 or academic year, offered only to currently enrolled University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa students. An independent study abroad program requires 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.


When planning an independent program, some points to keep in mind:

Destinations where students have previously proposed an independent study program follow below.

  • Mato Grosso, Brazil
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • São Paulo, 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
  • Aix-en-Provence, France
  • Angers, 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


  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates


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

Program Cost

The UHM Study Abroad Center will collect 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 (UHM credits)
  • Study Abroad insurance

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently enrolled UH-Mānoa student at the time of application.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (4.0 scale). Lower grade point averages may be considered in exceptional cases, but will require an explanation from the applicant.


  • Apply directly to the overseas institution and follow the admissions requirements.
  • Arrange for travel, housing, student visa and payment of all program expenses and fees.
  • 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
  • Consult the appropriate UHM faculty to have courses articulated for UHM equivalencies.
  • Make an appointment to discuss the intended program with the Study Abroad Director by sending an email to


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:

  • Application form (including study statement and program proposal)
  • Program Cost sheet
  • Itinerary/Accommodation form
  • Course Equivalency or Faculty Sponsor forms

Application Deadlines:

Fall semester or academic year April 1
Spring semester: October 15

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