ISTOM provides a 5-year programme after the French baccalaureate. Each academic year is split up into two semesters which are organised around training modules combining coherent teaching and periods of professionnalising training taking the form of experimentation, internships and projects to be carried out.

 Plan des études à l'ISTOM

The two cycles of studies:

Cycle 1:

The first three years of studies are mainly dedicated to the fundamentals of living and earth sciences, basic sciences and human sciences (economics, sociology, ethnology, etc.).

These multidisciplinary fundamentals will gradually be expanded to tackle the development situations and issues in their full complexity. The preferred scientific approach, which allows articulating in a coherent and transverse manner the contributions of these different yet complementary scientific fields, is system analysis.

Multidisciplinarity gradually gives way to transdisciplinarity, developed not only within the framework of the teaching, but also within the framework of missions and students projects. The third year is the pivotal year that prepares the articulation of the fundamentals, acquired at the beginning of the curriculum, within the framework of the project approach taught from the third to the fifth year.

The fundamentals, tools and methods acquired within the first years of the studies are then compared with the realities on the field in particular through the solidarity mission (MDISS), a Discovery Mission of Social and Solidarity Initiative, and two internships:

- in the second year, the worker training period and introduction to agronomic reasoning, carried out within the European Union;

- in the third year, the company internship, carried out in an intertropical developing country.

Cycle 2:

The last two years of the studies are dedicated to the management of agro-development projects and also aim at achieving sufficient knowledge of the tools and methods required for the elaboration, the implementation and the monitoring/assessment of the projects.

The 4th year is dedicated to both the management of projects and analysis of the economic and legal international environment in which the development projects are to be implemented.

Two 7-week common-core syllabuses entitled “International trade and development” and “Entrepreneurship and development” crowning the non-specialized training students in economics, management and law.

The training in project management is applied to the implementation of three main types of projects that ISTOM engineers will then have to develop in their future jobs:
- Non-profit making development projects, i.e. applying to social and solidarity activities (implemented for example for NGOs or international organisations);
- Profit making development projects, i.e. applying to economic activities developped witin companies in the agricultural sector in the general sense (agricultural holdings, cooperatives, companies in the agri-food sector, distribution or international trade);
- expert missions within the framework of the two types of projects mentioned above.

The Mission Jeune Expert (MJE), i.e. the Junior Expert Mission, is organized in groups of 8 to 10 students for over a year to carry out an expert mission on the field, within development or company projects.

In the second common-core syllabus, the students, once again in teams of 8 to 10, are to elaborate entrepreneurial projects from an original idea up to the drafting of the business plan.

A series of 9 courses is dedicated to the teaching of the engineering tools and methods required for the technical implementation of the MJEs or preparatory to the deepening of the topics in the 5th year.

The 5th year allows students to deepen a specialism. These specialisms (DAs) refer to the main sectors of activity the ISTOM engineers have their sights on. After completing the DAs, the students undergo an engineer internship for a period from 6 to 8 months in order to apply, on the field, in developing countries, the expertise acquired during the degree course and more particularly within the DA.

In cycle 2, 50% courses are provided by professionals who are recognized in the development sphere.

Language teaching

In the fully international context of their activities, the ISTOM engineer must have the command of two living languages on top of their mother tongue. Essential within companies, the command of the English language is imperative. In the same way, Spanish, the reference language in Latin America is compulsory during the first three years of the syllabus (optional for the "admis parrallèles" who have never had Spanish before).

ISTOM organises several official TOEIC sessions during the syllabus (750 points).

 The “ECTS” (European Credit Transfer System)

In order to provide bridges between ISTOM and the European institutions, the training programme is organized as modules based on the CTS principles. This system allows European students to have their training recognized in any country within the European Union and benefit from equivalent ratings to carry on their studies abroad.

An ECTS value based on the total volume of work to be provided by the student is allocated to each discipline (supervised and personal work).

ECTSs are credited each course in the syllabus, including for assessed internships. Each academic year is credited with a minimum of 60 ECTS. Internships are credited with a variable number of ECTS based on both duration and technical level.

ISTOM - 32, Boulevard du Port - 95094 CERGY PONTOISE Cedex
Phone : (+33) 01 30 75 62 60 / Fax : (+33) 01 30 75 62 61 / E-mail :


Our school

100 years of history


Institut Polytechnique Saint-Louis



5-year programme


Solidarity Mission

Junior Expert Assignment


Admission in the 1st year

Admission in the 2nd and 3rd year

Important dates

Application & school fees

Enrolment form

Obtenir un num. de dossier EN

Votre dossier d'admission EN


International network

Istomian's jobs

ISTOM alumni network


RESEARCH SEMINAR - January 21, 2016

Research at ISTOM

Research team

Valorisation of cowpeas in Burkina Faso

Companies & partnerships

Become a partner

Recruitment of junior engineers


Company as the main point of the training





Catering facilities






RSS Feeds :

© Ugocom / Paris - Avignon
Création Site Internet - Agence de Communication