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University of French Polynesia

Program Terms:

Spring Semester & Academic Year


The University of French Polynesia is a public institution of higher education and research in Tahiti and offers a unique atmosphere that embodies the scientific, technological, and cultural development of French Polynesia. The campus has 4 laboratories, a mixed research unit, 2 federative structures, and a doctoral school, all of which contribute to the promotion of Polynesian heritage and Pacific cultures and civilizations.

Since French is the official language of French Polynesia, having at least an elementary understanding of the French language would likely be beneficial for getting the most from the experience of studying at UPF. The Tahitian language is also a fundamental element of cultural identity for Tahiti, and the language is practiced on a daily basis and taught in school. English is widely spoken, though, especially in tourist circles.

Polynesia, under the predominant influence of trade winds, enjoys a tropical climate with an average temperature similar to that of Hawaii; however, from December to March, Tahiti usually witnesses a hot and rainy season, and from June to September, Tahiti experiences a cool and dry season. Again, similarly to Hawaii, there are no great seasonal contrasts, and despite the humid summer weather, the climate is generally very favorable.

As for financials, for students staying one semester, UPF states that it is not necessary to open a bank account in Tahiti, but it is necessary to make sure to have an international card allowing the withdrawal of cash in both the banks and ATMs (Source: University of French Polynesia website).

Academic Details:

There are three departments of study that UPF offers to students:

  1. Law, Economics, Management
  2. Letters, Languages, and Humanities
  3. Science, Technology, and Health

Credits are classified as ECTS, a classification often used by European countries. In the United States, a typical class is considered to be worth 3.0 credits, but one course is typically 7.5 ECTS. A full course load would then be 30 ECTS (or 12.0 US credits). (Source: University of French Polynesia website)

Housing Details:

As for housing at UPF, there are certain parameters to consider. For starters, the cost of living is double that of metropolitan France, meaning that affordable accommodation in Tahiti is difficult to find. Home stays are also nonexistent, but there are several possibilities for students looking for accommodation near the university:

  • The university campus with 72 single rooms
  • The student accommodation center (CHE) with 114 studios for 2 people
  • The international residence with a capacity of 12 places (which is reserved for foreigners)
  • The offer of private accommodation through apartment rentals

Once officially selected by the home institution and accepted at UPF, students can benefit from accommodation in the international residence depending on availability. UPF requires international students to send in a request upon receiving a receipt of the letter of admissions to UPF. The International Relations Department also assists students in their search for off-campus housing, as needed. (Source: University of French Polynesia website)


  • Sophomore standing
  • 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • French language proficiency is required if student plans to take courses outside of the following fields, which are taught in English: English and Foreign language studies, Polynesian Languages, and Economics-Management.

Useful Links for Exchange Students:

Program Budgets:

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