• Dr. Dan Rubinoff and Dr. Camiel Doorwnweerd along with Entomology grad student Kyhl Austin, discovered five new endemic moth species in the genus Hyposmocoma, a remarkable group of Hawaiian moths found nowhere else in the world.  https://cms.ctahr.hawaii.edu/NewsLetter/ArtMID/52574/ArticleID/2753/Five-New-Endemic-Moths

    New Discovery
  • The invasive Hala Scale insect is negatively impacting native Hala trees in Hawaii's forest ecosystems and landscape installations throughout the state.  Dr. Zhiqiang Cheng and his student, Mason Russo shared with the public through KHON-2 TV and Hawaii Public Radio, approaches to control this serious pest.

    Hala In Waikiki
  • Brad Reil, a graduate student in the Insect Systematics and Biodiversity Lab studies the interactions between endemic alpine arthropod species, like the Wekiu Bug, and their habitats on Mauna Kea. Catch Brad and his advisor, Dr. Rubinoff on Hawaiʻi Public Radio’s The Conversation

    Alpine Arthropods
  • PEPS Entomology Team (Ka Mea Kolo) Champions of the 2021 Entomology Games at the Entomological Society of America Conference in Denver, Colorado. Left to right: Michelle Au (Wright lab), Karim Gharbi (Tay lab), Mitchell Kirsch (Tay lab), Kenneth Choi (Cheng lab) and team coach (Mark Wright). This is a national jeopardy game contest. It reflects the hard work, skill and dedication of the PEPS Entomology graduate students.

    The Champs!
  • Graduate student, Michelle Au, is developing a long-term insect biodiversity monitoring program for Balule Nature Reserve, a component of the Great Kruger Park in South Africa. The amazing amount of  insect diversity can provide options for monitoring ecosystem conditions more accurately than relying on large herbivores.

    Insects at Kruger
  • Entomologits are some of the lucky few who are allowed to keep their childhood curiosity.  We perform behavioral studies on yellow crazy ants using a software (Tay Lab).


    Tay Lab
  • There's something for everyone!  Camiel works on pest fruit fly systematics and Christine helps conserve Hawaii's rare and endangered Blackburn's sphinx moth.

    Camiel and Christina
  • A steady hand and a patient mind: pinning and spreading butterflies for preservation are some of the basic skills for studying insects
    Pinning butterfly
  • The state insect of Hawaii, the Kamehameha butterfly, is one of only two endemic Hawaiian butterflies. Its Hawaiian name, pulelehua, means 'butterfly'.

    Kamehameha butterflies angle
  • Fancy case caterpillars (Hyposmocoma) are one of Hawaii's biggest endemic evolutionary radiations with over 600 recognized  species. Each species builds a unique case type for protection, using material from their environment.

    Insects in boxes

Graduate Studies at PEPS - Entomology
Aloha! E Komo Mai!


  • Overview
  • MS Program
  • PhD Program

MS and PhD degrees in Entomology

MS and PhD degrees are offered in the entomology program. Students undertaking graduate study will conduct independent research with an advisor from the Entomology Graduate Faculty engage in diverse areas of research.  Thesis and dissertation research can be selected from any of these subject areas. As part of the graduate program students take courses in biological control of insect pests and weed, insect ecology, insect physiology, insect transmission of plant pathogens, systematics and phylogenetics and various special topics in genomics, conservation and pest management.

Students applying for graduate programs in entomology are expected to have acquired a bachelor's degree with credit hours in entomology and biology, including general biology, general entomology, integrated pest management; one year of chemistry; and an appropriate course in mathematics and/or statistics. Deficiencies in undergraduate preparation can be satisfied during the graduate program.


To apply for the graduate program in Entomology a student must:

1. complete and submit the University Graduate Student application

2. complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and any English language proficiency examinations required by the University and arrange for the scores to be submitted to the University.  A waiver of the GRE requirement will be considered by the Entomology Graduate Faculty members, based on adequate research experience of the applicant, or insurmountable circumstances preventing the candidate from writing the exam.

3. prepare a statement of objectives that describes the goals for and interests in entomology. 

4. arrange for three confidential letters of reference 

5. identify an advisor from the Entomology Graduate Faculty.

In order for an applicant to be accepted into the graduate program, a faculty member must be willing and available to serve as the student's Advisor.

The statement of objectives and three confidential letters of reference should be sent directly to the graduate program chair.  

Master of Science in Entomology

The MS degree program is offered as either Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis). For a general description of these options, see the requirements for each option below. A total of 30 credit hours are required for each degree option. A graduate advisory committee composed of at least three members of the entomology graduate faculty provides guidance to the student. Important: In order for an applicant to be accepted into the graduate program, a faculty member must be willing and available to serve as the student's Advisor. 

The MS in entomology program provides an education in general knowledge of entomology, including basic principles of insect identification, biology, systematics, and pest control and prepares the student for employment in private industry, government agencies, and research institutions.
Expected student learning outcomes are:

  • Acquire and demonstrate competency/skills as a biologist
  • Acquire and demonstrate knowledge of entomology necessary for professional success
  • Acquire and demonstrate communication and literacy skills

MS Plan A (Thesis)

  • 16 credit hours of course work including seminars.
  • 2 credit hours of PEPS 690 Seminar in Entomology.
  • 12 credit hours of PEPS 700 Thesis Research.
  • 2 credit hours of PEPS 799 Proposal/Defense Seminar (CR/NC).
  • Final oral defense and submission of acceptable thesis.

MS Plan B (Non-Thesis)

Students preparing for a career in research or admission to a doctoral program are advised to enroll in MS Plan A (thesis).

  • 23 credit hours of course work including seminars.
  • 2 credit hours of PEPS 690 Seminar in Entomology.
  • 1 credit hour of PEPS 799 Proposal/Defense Seminar (CR/NC) during the semester in which a proposal for the directed research project is given.
  • Final defense of the directed research project and examination on other aspects of entomological training before the advisory committee.

PhD in Entomology

Intended candidates for the PhD program should have earned the MS degree in entomology or equivalent from a recognized institution. Those with a BS or BA may petition for admittance into the PhD program only after enrolling in the MS program. Important: In order for an applicant to be accepted into the graduate program, a faculty member must be willing and available to serve as the student's Advisor. 

The goal of the PhD program is to have students possess broad general knowledge in all areas of entomology, in-depth knowledge in at least one area of specialization and develop the capability for independent research. Employment options for PhD graduates are in teaching, research, and extension at universities and in research, consulting or management with private industries and government agencies.

Expected student learning outcomes are:

  • Acquire and demonstrate competency/skills as a biologist 
  • Acquire and demonstrate entomological knowledge necessary for professional success 
  • Acquire and demonstrate communication and literacy skills 
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply creative and critical thinking in the independent development and conduct of research


  • 3 credit hours of PEPS 690 Seminar in Entomology. 
  • 1 credit hours of PEPS 799 Proposal/Defense Seminar (CR/NC). 
  • 1 credit hour of PEPS 800 Dissertation Research during semester of graduation. 
  • Additional course work as determined by the doctoral advisory committee. 
  • Oral, or oral and written comprehensive examination administered by the doctoral committee. 
  • Final oral defense of the dissertation research and submission of an acceptable dissertation.