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The Pacific Islands Studies (PI Studies) Interdisciplinary Certificate provides students with training in the field of Pacific Islands Studies that can be intergraded with their major.  The course of study is designed to facilitate integrative learning, providing students with opportunities to make connections between their major and the PI Studies Certificate and to think critically and reflexively about complex problems and their contexts.  The Certificate also provides students with opportunities to think globally, as the required courses offer broad historical and contemporary knowledge about the Indigenous Pacific and the global Pacific Islander diaspora.  Overall, the goal is for students to grasp a more nuanced understanding of historical and contemporary concerns in Oceania as they relate to diasporic issues locally.

To work towards the Certificate, meet with our advisor, Jen Wozab!  There are no pre-requisites for declaring the PI Studies Certificate and students must complete all courses with a C or better. 

Jen Wozab

Student Support Coordinator & Academic Advisor

jen.wozab@utah.edu801-581-5140Gardner Commons, room 4203 (View map)

Certificate Requirements

The interdisciplinary Certificate in Pacific Islands Studies requires:

  • Students must complete 18 credit hours of coursework, comprised of three courses (9 credit hours) taught by faculty in the School for Cultural and Social Transformation and three courses (9 credit hours) taught by affiliated colleges and departments.
  • All courses that fulfill minor requirements must be complete with a C or better.

The first two required courses provide students with foundational knowledge about the Indigenous Pacific and the history and forces that contribute to migration and contemporary diasporic conditions. The third course requires students nearing the end of their college years to create a project that integrates what they have learned in the PI Studies Certificate with what they have learned in their major. Students will take three additional courses in affiliated colleges and departments that offer disciplinary-specific approaches to Pacific Islands Studies.

Learning Objectives

Undergraduate students who complete the Certificate will be able to:

  1. accurately and confidently map the region, geographically, environmentally, historically, culturally, and politically;
  2. apply relevant socio-cultural knowledge about the Indigenous Pacific and Pacific Islanders in Oceania and the diaspora to address issues in their disciplinary specializations;
  3. appropriately adapt skills, abilities, theories or methodologies from Pacific Islands Studies to a new situation or disciplinary field;
  4. communicate their knowledge and insights in formats appropriate to the intended audience, including but not limited to written, oral, visual, or performative formats

PI Interdisciplinary Certificate (18 CREDITS)

Required Courses

Complete Three Courses

9 credits

Introductory Course (complete one)

  • ETHNC 2590: Pacific Islander American Experience (3) (DV)

Intermediate Courses (complete one):

Signature/Capstone Experience (complete one):

The purpose of this requirement is to provide students with an opportunity for integrative work. Students can fulfill this requirement in multiple ways: study abroad, research experience, significant project, internships, etc. See the Transform academic advisor for approval. Courses from students’ majors and minor can be substituted. Suggested courses:

  • ANTH 4960/5960 : Tongan Culture and Island Environment: Study Abroad in the Kingdom of Tonga with Dr. Adrian Bell (3-6)
  • ETHNC 5910: Advanced Explorations in Ethnic Studies with Dr. Hokulani Aikau (3)


Complete At Least Three Courses

9 credits

  • BUS 3800: Business Scholars Business and Social Science (Opportunity Scholars Program when taught by Kaufusi and Kinikini) (3)
  • ENGL 3780: South Sea Tales (3) (IR)
  • ETHNC/ANTH 3151: Peoples of the Pacific (3) (IR & HFBF)
  • ETHNC 3560: Tongan American & Tongan Diaspora (3) (not currently offered)
  • ETHNC 3590: Pacific Islander Health Dynamics (3)
  • ETHNC/HIST 3670: History of Hawaiʻi (3)
  • ETHNC 4890: Special Topics: Pacific Islander (3)
  • GNDR 4765: Gender & War (3) (IR)
  • WLC 2900: Beginning Samoan (4)

Allied Electives:

Allied Electives are courses taught by specific instructors and must be approved to count as an elective course. An Allied Elective course will include at least one week of Pacific Islands-focused content and a significant Pacific Islands Studies paper or project. If interested in taking an Allied Elective, students must submit (1) a paper or project proposal to the Pacific Islands Studies director for approval and (2) submit the final paper/project at the conclusion of the semester. For a list of courses, meet the Transform academic advisor.

Download curriculum sheets:

Check out our other Transform degrees!