The Ministry of Education oversees Tonga’s education system, including the country’s higher education institutions. The island is home to four universities and colleges, these include, Hango Agricultural College, Atenisi Institute and Tonga Institute of Science and Technology. Lastly, as a partner of the regional University of the South Pacific (USP), a campus can also be found in Tonga.

Hango Agricultural College was birthed out of a plan by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests (MAFF) and the Pacific Community (SPC) to develop Tonga’s agriculture sector.  

The Atenisi Institute unlike its counterparts is the only privately funded institution on the island, and is well known for the Atenisi foundation of performing arts.

The Tonga Institute of Science and Technology, is the only STEM institution on the island providing graduates training in fields like engineering and construction.

The University of the South Pacific (USP), is a public research university with campuses throughout the Pacific Region, its jointly owned by 12 member governments including Tonga. 

Educational Structure
Tonga higher educational structure is primarily comprised of tertiary schools managed by the Ministry of Education. Tonga follows the traditional higher education path in which a Bachelor’s degree must be obtained before proceeding to a masters and finally a doctorate. 

The application process for The Atenisi Institute consists of filling out a form obtainable from the school’s official webpage and submitting it to the dean’s office. The qualification process for the school combines a mixture of compulsory courses and levels of study.

In order to obtain a Bachelor’s, students are required to complete 32 courses. All candidates for the Bachelor’s degree are required to complete 4 courses in English composition, writing or literature, 2 courses in philosophy, 1 course in mathematics and 1 course in foreign language or literature. In addition, for the research proficiency qualification, a minimum of 14 courses must be taken at the intermediate level or higher, with 10 at the advanced level. Teaching at the Atenisi Institute is done in English except for Tongan and foreign languages classes. 

For the Master’s qualification students are given the agency to tailor their studies, they are to choose between 16 courses at the postgraduate level or 8 courses at the postgraduate level plus a 20,000 word thesis on a subject of their choice. The marking scheme is a 4.0 point grade average (with a 4.0 being the highest grade).

Similarly, The University of the South Pacific (USP) offers degrees at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctorate level. There isn’t a universal approach taken by the school in the administration of the degrees at the different levels of study, it is faculty specific. 

Students wishing to study at USP may apply online by visiting the USP website at, from there they’ll be prompted to create an account to begin the application process. 

The marking system differs at USP, they use a letter grading system in which anything from an A+ to C are pass grades. They also have an internal grading system, in which specific acronyms or letters are used for either pass or fail grades. For example, “R” is a restricted pass and it is categorized as a pass grade. “NC” is not completed and is categorized as a fail grade. There are several other denotations. 

The Atenisi Institute

Citizen Amount 
(per course/per semestr
Domestic  T$ 300
Regional  T$ 500
International   T$ 1000


Level of Study Domestic  Regional  International 
Masters T$ 5000 T$ 12,500 T$ 35,000
Doctorate T$ 10,000 T$ 25,000 US$ 18,700