University of Hawai`i at Hilo

The University of Hawai’i at Hilo (UH Hilo) is a vibrant, multicultural campus on the beautiful island of Hawai’i, the southernmost and largest island in the Hawaiian island chain.

About UH Hilo

Diversity and Tropical Beauty

The University of Hawai’i at Hilo (UH Hilo) is a vibrant, multicultural campus on the beautiful island of Hawai’i, the southernmost and largest island in the Hawaiian island chain. Famous for its dramatic natural beauty, the island of Hawai’i is home to tropical rainforests, a windswept desert, snow-capped mountains, and pristine beaches. 

In addition to offering an excellent English language program, a wide variety of undergraduate majors as well as graduate programs, UH Hilo has been recognized for its remarkable diversity of students. In 2014, UH Hilo was ranked as the most diverse four-year university in the United States by the Chronicle of Higher Education. This reflects the amazing cultural diversity of Hawai’i as well as the university’s commitment to making UH Hilo a safe and comfortable place for students from all over the world.

Small College Atmosphere

The UH Hilo campus provides students with the advantages of a private college atmosphere. We offer small class sizes and opportunities for students to work closely with their professors in field research and even in publishing. Students also benefit from hands-on learning opportunities in the natural sciences with easy access to the ocean, tropical rain forest, and an active volcano

Campus Life

Our mid-Pacific location, at the intersection of East and West, offers rich opportunities for intercultural exchange. Our enrollment of nearly 4,000 students, including nearly 300 international students, includes a unique blend of students from Hawaii, the continental United States, and countries from all over the world. UH Hilo’s diverse student body and dynamic learning environment was recognized by Outside Magazine, a national lifestyle publication, which rated UH Hilo in the top 20 “best places to study, live, work and play” in the nation. International students are easily integrated into campus and community life through participation in our host family, Global Ambassadors, and international buddy programs to meet and get to know local students. They can also join in a wide variety of university-sponsored activities including field trips to white, black and green sand beaches, whale watching, and zip lining.

About the English Language Institute

The English Language Institute (ELI) at UH Hilo offers non-native speakers of English the opportunity to improve their academic English while taking classes toward their degree. Classes begin at the Intermediate level, so students can move through the program in as little as one semester to as long as three semesters. The ELI is accredited by the Commission on English Program Accreditation (CEA) so you know that you are receiving the highest quality of education, with experienced instructors, engaging curriculum and small class sizes for individual attention.

At the ELI at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, students are allowed to enroll in select university courses at the same time as they are studying English. As a result, ELI students become an important part of the campus community because they can:

  • Meet more American students and friends
  • Improve their English faster
  • Learn about American & Hawaiian culture
  • Become integrated into the campus life
  • Graduate more quickly!

English Language Institute Classes

The ELI offers three levels of instruction: Intermediate, High-Intermediate & Advanced. Please note that the ELI does not offer beginning-level courses.

The 18 hour per week curriculum includes courses in reading, writing, grammar, and listening/speaking. All courses are academically focused to prepare student to transition into the university.

The ELI also offers electives in American English Pronunciation and American Culture & Community. We encourage all students to join the Conversation Partner Program in which students are paired with UH Hilo students for conversation and cultural exchange.


Because ELI students are UH Hilo students, they have access to all of the services such as the dormitories with 24- hour security, library, sports facilities, computer labs and weekend trips around the island!


Don’t let not having a TOEFL score prevent you from pursuing your dream!

  • To apply to UH Hilo as an English Language Institute student, no TOEFL, IELTS or EIKEN is required.
  • For Admission to a UH Hilo Degree Program, TOEFL – 61/500, IELTS – 5.5, EIKEN – 2A


The English Language Institute offers 2 semesters per year.

Fall Semester: August – December (16 weeks of instruction)

Spring Semester: January – May (16 weeks of instruction)


Student have both on-campus and off-campus housing options. Most students live on campus in the dorms for easy access to their classes, campus resources and activities.


$5,000—$10,000 Semester

Fast facts

Afiiliation icon



Top Programs icon

Top Programs

Agriculture and Natural Resources, Business, Linguistics

Type of school icon

Type of School

University/Intensive English Program

  • School Size

  • Student Body Gender

  • Religious Affiliation

    No Affiliation
  • Scholarships for International Students

  • Conditional Admission Available

  • Setting

    Small/College town, Rural
  • Accreditation and Certification

  • Type of Housing

    Residence Hall, Apartment, Dormitory

Hilo HI
Visit us
200 W. Kawili Street Hilo, HI

Become the best version of yourself at University of Hawai`i at Hilo


View Our Online Brochure

View our online brochure for more information, at your desk or on the go!

Learn about the U.S. education system and how to apply, read interviews with international students, and more.

Subscribe to get the latest from Study in the USA

You can unsubscribe at any time.