Foundation courses are intended to give students skills and perspectives that are fundamental to undertaking higher education. Students must complete: 

Global & Multicultural Perspectives (FG) (6 credits/two courses)

Global and Multicultural Perspectives courses provide thematic treatments of global processes and cross-cultural interactions from a variety of perspectives. Students will gain a sense of human development from pre-history to modern times through consideration of narratives and artifacts of and from diverse cultures. At least one component of each of these courses will involve the indigenous cultures of Hawai'i, the Pacific, and Asia.

Symbolic Reasoning (FS) or Quantitative Reasoning (FQ) (3 credits/1 course)

Symbolic Reasoning courses expose students to the beauty and power of formal systems, as well as to their clarity and precision; courses do not focus solely on computational skills. Students learn the concept of proof as a chain of inferences. They learn to apply formal rules or algorithms, engage in hypothetical reasoning, and traverse a bridge between theory and practice. In addition, students develop the ability to use appropriate symbolic techniques in the context of problem solving, and to present and critically evaluate evidence.

Quantitative reasoning is the ability to apply mathematical concepts to the interpretation and analysis of quantifiable information, expressed numerically or graphically, in order to solve a wide range of problems. In Quantitative Reasoning courses students learn to understand and communicate quantitative information using such tools as variables and equations, graphs and charts, and words/sentences. They learn to apply math skills and judge reasonableness of results. Students also learn to recognize the limits of mathematical or statistical methods. Note: Students who enter UH in Fall 2018 or later must take a Foundations-Quantitative Reasoning (FQ) course.

Written Communication (FW) (3 credits/1 course)

Written Communication courses introduce students to the rhetorical, conceptual, and stylistic demands of writing at the college level; courses give instruction in composing processes, search strategies, and composing from sources. Courses also provide students with experiences in the library and on the Internet and enhance their skills in accessing and using various types of primary and secondary materials.

General Information about Designations

  • All instructors of the course must agree to meet the appropriate Foundations Hallmarks because all sections will have the Foundations designation every time the course is offered.
  • A new course must be approved by the department and college prior to submission of a proposal.
  • The course description in the upcoming Catalog must be consistent with Foundations Hallmarks. In some cases, this will require modifications to the official course description.
  • Once given a Foundations designation, the course cannot have a Focus or Diversification designation.
  • Once approved, the designation will maintain for three years for first-time proposals and five years for renewals. During the approval period, the General Education Committee will assess the course in light of the goals of the Foundations requirement. The department will need to begin the process to renew the designation approximately one year prior to expiration in order to maintain continuous approval.

Application Forms

Click on the application form below to apply for a Foundations designation for your course. (Note: Links open in a new window.)