There are around eleven institutions offering higher education in New Caledonia. 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 New Caledonia being a special collectivity 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 and subject to visa and residency requirements. Citizens of the European Union member countries are not required to obtain study visa. The University of New Caledonia, which is the largest of the Caledonian institutions, welcomes approximately 3 000 home as well as international students. It participates in the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. For more information please refer to https://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/.
The Caledonian 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 ‘BTS’ (‘brevet de technicien supérieur’) foundation degree called. The majority of admissions are administered via the Parcoursup online platform, however it is 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, stemming from the fact that the official language as well as language of instruction in New Caledonia is French.
In terms of financing your studies, most universities charge a fee for one year of enrollment. For public institutions, however, most of the costs are covered by the French government, resulting in effective annual fees of between from 180 € to 400 € depending on the applicant’s circumstances. Generally speaking, for a regular applicant, 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. Moreover, certain students from France are eligible for the Bourse d’enseignement supérieur en Nouvelle-Calédonie scholarship provided by the French Government.
Information for International Students
New Caledonia’s higher education institutions welcome international students from all around the world, many of which come to the island as a part of international exchange programs such as Erasmus+ or Pacific Islands Universities Research Network.
The admission process is usually specified by the university of one’s choice, most commonly taking place via Parcoursup at publicly-funded institutions. Nonetheless, requirements of proof of previous education and provision of copies for language certificates form an integral part of virtually each admission process. For certain programs, the institution of interest needs to be contacted directly. For non-EU citizens, visa and residency requirements also apply. In which capacity French diplomatic mission in the applicant’s country of origin should be consulted.
Living costs are slightly higher than in mainland France. Monthly rent can be expected to cost approximately €400 to €1 000, depending on the willingness to co-rent. The expenditure on food can vary between €125 to €250 per month depending on the spending pattern.