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School Rankings

The 8 Best and Most Prestigious Universities in Hawaii

Oghenemairo Omueda - March 09, 2022


Many people think of Hawaii as a fun destination for a beach vacation, but the state has a lot more to offer. The best universities in Hawaii provide top academic programs to undergraduate students with a balanced social life. Whether you are interested in sustainable agriculture or nursing, a university in Hawaii is an easy choice for students looking for career fulfillment.

So what are the best universities in Hawaii? In this article, we’ll share how we ranked the most prestigious universities in Hawaii, and give you some reasons why you should seriously consider getting your college degree in Hawaii.

How We Defined Hawaii University Rankings

We looked at a wide range of factors, including acceptance rate, class sizes, and popular programs, and consulted the latest school rankings from other credible college ranking systems. This ranking of the best colleges in Hawaii has all the information you need to start your school search.

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Hawaii Universities Ranked: Top 8 Universities in Hawaii

  1. University of Hawaii – Manoa
  2. Brigham Young University – Hawaii
  3. University of Hawaii – West Oahu
  4. Chaminade University of Honolulu
  5. University of Hawaii at Hilo
  6. Hawaii Pacific University
  7. Pacific Rim Christian University
  8. University of Hawaii – Maui College

The Best Colleges and Universities in Hawaii, Explained

A group of happy students. Best Universities In Hawaii
Many Hawaii universities encourage a social life to balance academic work.

Read on to find detailed information on our top 8 universities in Hawaii. We’ve included US News & World Report ranking, graduation rate, undergraduate enrollment, whether a university is public or private, and what makes each school unique. The facts below focus on undergraduate degrees, but many of these schools offer graduate degrees as well.

1. University of Hawaii at Manoa

  • US News National Ranking: #162
  • Campus Location(s): Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 12,255
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

Established in 1907, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is a public institution with a diverse student body. This land-, sea-, and space-grant institution is a top research university, particularly in atmospheric science, environmental science, biological sciences. Other popular programs at UH Manoa are computer science , engineering, and communication.

2. Brigham Young University – Hawaii

  • US News Ranking: #14 in Regional Colleges West
  • Campus Location(s): Laie, Hawaii
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,974
  • Graduation Rate: 65%

Brigham Young University – Hawaii offers 40 majors, 60 minors, and 12 certificate programs. With many student organizations on campus, you can explore plenty of extracurriculars while pursuing your bachelor’s degree . BYU Hawaii is operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Non-church members are welcome to attend, but all students are expected to follow the school’s honor code .

3. University of Hawaii – West O’ahu

  • US News Ranking: #29 in Regional Colleges West
  • Campus Location(s): Kapolei, Hawaii
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,636
  • Graduation Rate: 52%

The University of Hawaii West O’ahu is one of 10 University of Hawaii campuses and was established in 1976. This public university offers four-year degree programs with an emphasis on liberal arts education. The No’eau Center sets students up for success by providing peer-tutoring, workshops, and other learning skills support.

4. Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • US News Ranking: #25 in Regional Universities West
  • Campus Location(s): Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,558
  • Graduation Rate: 43%

Founded in 1955, the Chaminade University of Honolulu is a private institution run by the Catholic Church. Chaminade offers undergraduate degree programs for students on campus and online with courses including business and communication, criminology and criminal justice, behavioral sciences, and nursing. 97 percent of students receive some type of financial aid.

5. University of Hawaii at Hilo

  • US News National Ranking: #288
  • Campus Location(s): Hilo, Hawaii
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,646
  • Graduation Rate: 41%

The University of Hawaii at Hilo is best known for its student-focused approach and was ranked number one for the most diverse student population in the country . UH Hilo boasts an impressive 13 to one student to faculty ratio across its over 85 academic degree and certificate programs.

6. Hawaii Pacific University

  • US News Ranking: #70 in Regional Universities West
  • Campus Location(s): Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,765
  • Graduation Rate: 35%

Founded in 1965, Hawaii Pacific University is a private university with on-campus and online programs and additional on-base programs for military students. Students are encouraged to participate in hands-on learning experiences, and at the end of a four-year degree, any student has the opportunity to present at the annual capstone symposium.

7. University of Hawaii Maui College

  • US News National Ranking: N/A
  • Campus Location(s): Kahului, Hawaii
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,266
  • Graduation Rate: 21%

The University of Hawaii Maui College is part of the University of Hawaii system and was first established in 1931 as the Maui Vocation School. UHMC offers many two-year associate degrees and two bachelor’s degree programs in sustainable science management and applied business and information technology.

8. Pacific Rim Christian University

  • US News National Ranking: N/A
  • Campus Location(s): Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 116
  • Graduation Rate: 65%

Pacific Rim Christian University is a private, evangelical Christian institution that focuses on developing the skills of Christian students. The university focuses on Christian teachings with courses in theology, Christian studies, and chaplaincy. Prospective students must be interested in the Christian ministry.

8. University of Hawaii – Maui College

  • US News National Ranking: N/A
  • Campus Location(s): Kahului, Hawaii
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,266
  • Graduation Rate: 21%

The University of Hawaii Maui College is part of the University of Hawaii system and was first established in 1931 as the Maui Vocation School. UHMC offers many two-year associate degrees and two bachelor’s degree programs in sustainable science management and applied business and information technology.

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Is a University in Hawaii Right for You?

Studying in Hawaii is a good choice for you. International students, transfer students, and traditional in-state students will all find quality education in a beautiful environment, with a focus on balancing academic achievement and social life. You should definitely consider a university in Hawaii as part of your school search.

The largest school in Hawaii, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, offers more than 420 degree programs with a total of over 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students. At this research institution, you will find the right college degree for your career path.

Best Universities in Hawaii FAQ

Is it expensive to go to university in Hawaii?

No, it is not necessarily expensive to go to school in Hawaii. Many of the schools on this list have tuition rates below the national average. There are also scholarships available to cover tuition, transport, and supplies for students.

What is the best university in Hawaii?

The best Hawaiian university is the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It is the flagship campus for the University of Hawaii system, and provides students with the most options for undergraduate degrees and postgraduate degrees. Many students participate in research during their time at UH Manoa.

Are there any private universities in Hawaii?

Yes, some of the universities in Hawaii are private. The Hawaii Pacific University, Brigham Young University – Hawaii, and Chaminade University of Honolulu are all private universities.

Do students have a good experience at the University of Hawaii at Manoa?

Yes, undergraduate and graduate students have a good experience at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In addition to academic opportunities, this university has welcoming staff and great school services for students. These factors plus a beautiful campus create a great college experience.

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Oghenemairo Omueda

About the author: Oghenemairo is an expert content writer who has been published on Opera News and Medium. He holds a degree in microbiology from the University of Abuja. He also has a Facebook Certificate in Digital Journalism and a Google Digital Marketing Skills Certificate.

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