There are around ten higher education institutions in French Polynesia, seven of them being public. For public establishments, the tuition is mostly funded by the French state; enrolment, however, is conditional on payment of admission fees (see below). The remaining private establishments charge fees for tuition as well as admission. With French Polynesia being an overseas territory of France, the educational system follows the framework of the French government and, by extension, the EU. This allows EU citizens the same conditions for study as is available for natives; conditions for international students are subject to individual universities’ regulations subject to visa and residency requirements. The University of French Polynesia, which is the largest of the Polynesian institutions, welcomes approximately 3300 students. It participates in the Erasmus+ and Grand Pacific International programs of the European Union. For more information please refer to https://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/.
The Polynesian educational system is governed by the European Bologna framework as adopted by the French government. It follows the ‘bachelor's master's doctorate system’ (or ‘L-M-D’ in French), with Bachelor’s (or Licence) usually comprising three to four years, followed by a Master’s typically lasting two years and culminating in a Doctoral degree of three to five years. Enrolment into Bachelor’s programs is conditional on possession of a French baccalaureate degree or an equivalent qualification such as A levels or the International Baccalaureate. To be accepted to a Master’s program, students must have a relevant Bachelor degree from an institution accredited by the French government or a recognized equivalent. Moreover, it is sometimes possible to pursue a three-year Master’s degree in engineering which is conditional on obtaining a two-year foundation degree called ‘BTS’ (‘brevet de technicien supérieur’). A significant portion of admissions is usually by the Parcoursup platform, however it is very common that the institution administers its own admission process and needs to be contacted directly. An intermediate level of proficiency in French (B2) is also commonly required.
In terms of financing your studies, most universities charge a fee for one year of enrollment. The fees vary from 180 € to 601 € depending on the degree applicant’s circumstances. Generally speaking, for an ordinary applicant to a public institution, a Bachelor’s degree enrollment costs are around 170 € per year, whereas a Master’s enrollment fee climbs up to around 240 €. Nonetheless, students from low-income families can apply for funding to assist them with tuition and living expenses, and are eligible for a monthly stipend of up to €450 per month.
Information for International Students
Polynesian higher education institutions welcome international students from all around the world, most of which come to French Polynesia as a part of international exchange programs such as Erasmus+ or Grand Pacific International Programme.
The admission process is usually specified by the university of one’s choice. Nonetheless requirements of proof of previous education and language capabilities form an integral part of virtually each admission process. For certain programs, the admission takes place via Parcoursup, for some degrees the institution needs to be contacted directly. For non-EU citizens, a relevant visa is also required.
Living costs are approximately 39% higher than those in mainland France, with total monthly budget, including rent, being estimated at 1 000 €. However, costs of elementary groceries tend to be around 18% cheaper than in the Hexagon.