Studies & Training


ADFA offers one of the best student / teacher ratios in the country and the finest academic staff in their respective fields.


Browse degree courses

Choose from a range of UNSW degrees, each of which leads directly to an Officer role in the Navy, Army or Air Force. Read the ADFA brochure here and learn about the world-class degrees, and unrivalled military and leadership training you’ll receive at ADFA.

engineering (Beng)

aeronautical engineering (HONOURS)

Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering (Honours)

BEng (Hons)

UAC Code 450040

Indicative entrance score requirement

ATAR 85 MIN

Duration

Four years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Subject overview

Aeronautical Engineering is the study of the design, development, manufacture, maintenance and control of vehicles operating in the earth’s atmosphere or in outer space. Such vehicles require the highest standards of engineering as they have to be very light relative to the loads they carry, and yet be strong and reliable as the consequences of failure are significant.

Aircraft are critical to the operations of the Navy, Army and Air Force, therefore Aeronautical Engineers are employed in all three Services.

Although the ADF does not design or build aircraft, as an ADF engineer, you will have to ensure that aircraft are supplied and maintained to the highest standards, using the correct parts and materials installed with best-practice workmanship. At the same time, you will have to manage these activities with extreme efficiency as maintaining an air fleet during operations is time-critical. Our aeronautical maintenance engineers therefore need high-level project management skills as well as engineering expertise.

The Aeronautical Engineering program has been developed to meet the needs of the ADF and covers the design, reliability and maintenance of both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

Aeronautical Engineering in an ADF career

NAVY

Navy Aeronautical Engineering graduates are required for the maintenance and repair, modifications, operational deployments and airworthiness of advanced helicopters such as the MRH-90 Taipan and the MH-60R Seahawk Romeo.

ARMY

Army Aeronautical Engineering graduates are most likely to be involved in the maintenance and repair of ARH-Tiger, Chinook and MRH-90 Taipan helicopters or the Army’s rapidly growing fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles.

AIR FORCE

Air Force Aeronautical Engineering graduates may be involved in the operation and maintenance of aircraft ranging from heavy transporters to multi-role strike aircraft. They will then become responsible for the airworthiness and modification of aircraft and engines, or the acquisition and introduction of new equipment into the Service.

civil engineering (honours)

Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours)

BEng (Hons)

UAC Code 450050

Indicative entrance score requirement

ATAR 85 MIN

Duration

Four years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Subject overview

The Civil Engineering degree provides students with professional engineering design, construction and management skills. As the ADF becomes progressively more technologically-based, the education provided in a Civil Engineering degree will be in greater demand.

Much of the work carried out by military civil engineers is comparable to that undertaken by their civilian counterparts. This includes the design and construction of facilities such as roads, bridges, airfields, buildings, water supply and waste treatment facilities, structures of all types, and the associated planning and management of projects.

Civil Engineering in an ADF career

Graduates in Civil Engineering take responsibility for the design and construction of infrastructure, base facilities, temporary runways and field engineering associated with ADF projects and military activities. Environmental management plays a major part in these projects, and you may also get involved with development and peacekeeping activities in the South Pacific and elsewhere in the world.

ARMY

Army graduates of Civil Engineering will go on to join the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) corps as Engineering Officers. As an Engineering Officer, you’ll lead and manage a team of soldiers who are responsible for supplying clean water, constructing accommodation, building airfields, restoring harbours, and improving defence against nuclear, biological and chemical attacks. As well as providing infrastructure within Australian borders, during your early career you are likely to have opportunities for overseas deployments. Graduates may also become an Army Officer, with a range of specialisations and corps available.

AIR FORCE

Air Force Civil Engineers play a major role in managing the infrastructure of the Air Force. The projects you will be responsible for could be of a specialised engineering nature (e.g. aircraft pavements, hangars, hospitals and pollution control) or they could involve the management of whole facilities.

electrical engineering (honours)

Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Honours)

BEng (Hons)

UAC Code 450060

Indicative entrance score requirement

ATAR 85 MIN

Duration

Four years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Subject overview

The Bachelor of Electrical Engineering program is built on a foundation of mathematics, computer science and physical science. A small component of Electrical Engineering is introduced in the first year, with progressively larger components in the second and third years. The final year is devoted exclusively to Electrical Engineering courses.

In this final year, you’ll have the option to specialise in areas such as communications, surveillance and radar, computer engineering and guided weapons electronics. You’ll also undertake a major project supervised by a member of academic staff.

UNSW Canberra provides one of the best Electrical Engineering programs available and is supported by a well-equipped laboratory and excellent library facilities.

Electrical Engineering in an ADF career

NAVY

In conjunction with the technical sailors in your charge, as an Electronics Engineer in the Navy you will be responsible for looking after weapon, communication and sensor systems on the Navy’s warships. Opportunities also exist for you to become an Electronics Engineer Submariner, serving with the Deep Elite.

Regardless of your choice, these complex warships and submarines will present you with many rewarding challenges, as will the demanding conditions in which you could work. Over time, there will be opportunities for a range of ‘shore’ postings, which could include working on projects to acquire new warships, or new naval systems to be fitted to Australia’s existing warships and submarines.

ARMY

Army graduates of Electrical Engineering will go on to join as a Mechatronic and Electrical Engineers or Avionics Engineers in the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME) corps. You’ll find yourself leading a number of technical soldiers responsible for the maintenance and support of any one of a number of systems as diverse as helicopters, ground-based telecommunications and radar systems, and weapon systems.

You may eventually find yourself employed as an engineering authority in the acquisition projects that keep the Army at the forefront of technology. Graduates may also become an Army Officer, with a range of specialisations and corps available.

AIR FORCE

As a graduate of the Electrical Engineering degree in the Air Force, you’ll have a fantastic range of employment options when you graduate from ADFA. As an Electronics Engineer, you may work with systems responsible for airborne electrical generation and distribution, radar and weapon systems, aircraft flight controls systems and airborne communications systems.

As an Armament Engineer you'll manage and maintain the advanced weapon systems deployed on fighter aircraft, including missiles, bombs, torpedoes and mounted guns; and the computers that control them.

Regardless of your choice, you'll generally lead a group of highly-skilled technical airmen and airwomen during your early years and move into technical acquisition and project management roles later in your career.

mechanical engineering (honours)

Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours)

BEng (Hons)

UAC Code 450070

Indicative entrance score requirement

ATAR 85 MIN

Duration

Four years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Subject overview

The Mechanical engineering degree is built on a branch of Engineering that is concerned with machines and the production of power, and particularly with forces and motion. A core task of a Mechanical Engineer is to devise new and better ways to extract mechanical power from heat and to use that power to perform a useful task.

Mechanical Engineers are required to understand a number of fields, such as: thermodynamics, mechanical systems dynamics, properties of solid materials, fluid dynamics, design and management.

Mechanical Engineering in an ADF career

All three Services employ Mechanical Engineers to maintain and repair an extremely diverse and sophisticated range of equipment, including land transport vehicles, ships, tanks, armoured personnel carriers and weapon systems. No other organisation in Australia has such a complex and challenging equipment inventory operating under such demanding conditions.

NAVY

You will undertake courses to enhance your professional development as a Marine Engineer or Marine Engineer Submariner. In these roles you will be the technical authority on board the ship or submarine, responsible for the vessel’s structures, propulsion systems, electrical generation and distribution, and domestic and associated mechanical services.

Your responsibilities will also include the main and auxiliary machinery, engines, automatic and remote control systems, hydraulics, air conditioning and refrigeration, ventilation systems and electrical power generation and conversion equipment.

ARMY

Army graduates of Mechanical Engineering will go on to join as a Mechanical Engineer Officers in the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME) corps. You will lead and manage a team of soldiers who are responsible for the management, repair and recovery service for all equipment operated by the Army.

Your team of soldiers will repair and maintain equipment as diverse as tanks, trucks and armoured personnel carriers, radios, radars and computers, artillery guns and missile systems. You may eventually find yourself employed as an engineering authority in the acquisition projects that keep the Army at the forefront of technology. Graduates may also become an Army Officer, with a range of specialisations and corps available.

AIR FORCE

Through an Air Force Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, you’ll play a major role in managing the equipment of the Air Force, which could include aircraft structures, propulsion systems, ground support equipment, weapons and weapon systems.

Naval Architecture ENGINEERING (Honours)

Bachelor of Naval Architecture Engineering (Honours)

BEng (Hons)

UAC Code 450300

Indicative entrance score requirement

ATAR 85 MIN

Duration

Four years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Subject overview

Naval Architecture Engineering is the study of the design, building and utilisation of all types of ships and marine vehicles. In taking responsibility for the overall design and integration of systems, Naval Architects must be knowledgeable in a wide variety of skills, covering most forms of engineering. This is because a ship must be a self-sufficient vehicle capable of operating in hostile environmental conditions on the world’s oceans, while being able to withstand the loads from the sea and weather.

The Bachelor of Naval Architecture Engineering program is built on a foundation of engineering sciences and Mechanical Engineering, in particular. The third and fourth years of study covers ship stability, ship hydrodynamics, ship resistance and propulsion, ship design, ship structures, seaworthiness, engineering management and engineering materials.

Naval Architecture Engineering in an ADF career

The Australian Naval Shipbuilding program will provide many roles for Naval Architects in design, construction and in the operation of the fleet as the nation builds its sovereign maritime capabilities.

The Bachelor of Naval Architecture Engineering degree is available to Navy or Army officer cadets. The degree is undertaken by Navy Midshipman who intend to work as Mechanical Engineers or Navy Mechanical Engineer Submariners. Graduates may also become an Army Officer, with a range of specialisations and corps available.

technology (btech) & (Bccs)

computing and cyber security

Bachelor of Computing & Cyber Security

BCompCybSec

UAC Code 450030

Indicative entrance score requirement

ATAR 80 MIN

Duration

Three years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge

Mathematics

Subject overview

The Bachelor of Computing and Cyber Security is built on solid computer science and mathematics fundamentals with a focus on both theoretical foundations and practical approaches to computation and its applications within security. In this program, you'll first apply these techniques to gaming and then later learn more about hardware, systems, networking and the Internet, and how to secure such environments.

The design methods, tools and programming ability gained can be applied to many kinds of computer applications. In a final-year capstone team project you will be able to select from a wide range of ADF and civilian application domains in which to develop these abilities in computing and cyber security. You will use state of the art equipment in all your security and forensics courses.

The Bachelor of Computing and Cyber Security program will help you develop lifelong skills including creativity, problem-solving ability, critical thinking and communication skills, all of which are important not only in a cyber security or cyber war environment but in all professions. It will prepare you to deal with technical issues in a computing environment, and help you develop intellectual and practical problem-solving skills through studies across a range of computing specialisations.

Computing and Cyber Security in an ADF career

As a graduate of the Bachelor of Computing and Cyber Security degree you will have an intellectual advantage for all careers in the ADF, given the planned introduction of new capability and the increased influence of the information environment on military operations. Most importantly, you will possess an excellent combination of technical knowledge and practical expertise for specific ADF careers that leverage advantage from Computing and Cyber Security. These include the following roles:

NAVY

  • Helicopter Pilot
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Maritime Aviation Warfare Officer
  • Maritime Human Resource Manager
  • Maritime Logistics Officer
  • Maritime Warfare Officer
  • Maritime Warfare Officer Submariner

ARMY

Army Officer, in one of 13 specialisations, including Signals, Aviation and Intelligence.

AIR FORCE

  • Air Traffic Controller (Mission Controller)
  • Cyber Warfare Officer
  • Ground Defence Officer
  • Mission Aircrew
  • Pilot

For all Pilots, the practical flying components are undertaken after graduating from ADFA.

technology (aeronautical engineering)

Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical Engineering)

BTech (Aero)

UAC code 450080

Indicative entrance score requirement

ATAR 85 MIN

Duration

Three years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Subject overview

This degree program is designed for those wishing to work in the ADF as an Aeronautical Engineering Technologist but not necessarily as a fully-qualified Engineer. Engineers Australia accredits this three-year technology program at the Engineering Technologist level.

At the discretion of the Services, there is provision for you, if you have completed the Bachelor of Technology, to upgrade to a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering by undertaking 18 months of further study at a later stage.

Aeronautical Technology in an ADF career

The Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical Engineering) is primarily undertaken by Air Force officer cadets who intend to become Aircrew and wish to enhance their understanding of the operation and performance of aircraft.

However, the program is also available to Navy midshipman and Army officer cadets, and graduates are employed in many technical branches of the ADF.

For Pilots, the practical flying components are undertaken after graduating from ADFA.

other fields of study

bachelor of arts

Bachelor of Arts

BA

UAC Code 450001

Indicative entrance score requirement

ATAR 75 MIN

Duration

Three years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • English
Subject overview

This Bachelor of Arts degree aims to give you strong written and oral communication skills, the capacity to research and think critically, and the ability to work independently and collaboratively. These are all essential attributes of effective leaders in the Australian Defence Force. Bachelor of Arts midshipman and officer cadets must complete two majors from the following:

  • Business
  • English and Media Studies
  • Indonesian Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • International and Political Studies
Arts in an ADF career

Arts degrees are flexible and allow you to keep your options open. They give you the analytical skills to be an effective leader and manager, therefore can lead to a variety of officer roles across the Navy, Army and Air Force.

bachelor of business

Bachelor of Business

BBus

UAC Code 450010

Indicative entrance score requirement

ATAR 80 MIN

Duration

Three years full-time

Subject overview

The Bachelor of Business is designed to enhance business acumen among future leaders and managers in the ADF, and provide you with the capacity to interact effectively with external business providers. It aims to lay solid foundations in communication, numeracy and general problem-solving capabilities.

The degree is built within a specifically business-oriented context of study, and will develop your knowledge in a diverse range of areas associated with organisational management and leadership. When taking this degree, you will become familiar with bodies of knowledge that will enhance your capacity to manage Defence business throughout your ADF career.

Business in an ADF career

A Bachelor of Business positions you to work within the business processes of the ADF and to interact with external service providers. This is particularly valuable if you wish to become involved in acquisition and procurement, project management, logistics and the management of people.

bachelor of science

Bachelor of Science

BSc

UAC Code 450020

Indicative entrance score requirement

ATAR 75 MIN

Duration

Three years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics (Mathematics, Chemistry, Aviation, Physics and Oceanography majors)
  • Physics (for Aviation, Physics and Oceanography majors )
Subject overview

Science is the understanding of the physical universe (from subatomic particles and microbes through to the planet’s environment and the origin of the universe itself), and human interactions with it. Just as important is the scientific process by which this understanding is gained.

It is the foundation of the modern technologies that enhance the quality of lives and provide ever more sophisticated means of applying the scientific process. In addition, science is crucial in the control of disease, biotechnology, new sustainable energy sources, information technology and the management of precious natural resources.

A Bachelor of Science degree will help you develop lifelong skills including creativity, problem-solving ability, critical thinking and communication skills that will be useful not only in a scientific environment but in all professions including the military.

The ADF requires leaders who are prepared to deal with technical and management issues that will often require scientific knowledge and the intellectual and practical problem-solving skills developed through studies in physical, environmental and mathematical sciences. Should you excel in your Bachelor of Science degree, you may have the opportunity to undertake an Honours degree, which is an extra year of study. This is subject to the needs of the individual Services.

In the Bachelor of Science course you will have to complete two disciplines from the following:

  • Aviation
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Geography
  • Information Systems
  • Mathematics
  • Oceanography
  • Operations Research
  • Physics
Science in an ADF career

Science degrees are flexible and allow you to keep your options open. They give you the analytical and problem solving skills required to be an effective leader and manager, therefore can lead to a variety of officer roles across the Navy, Army and Air Force.

the chief of defence force students programs

The Chief of Defence Force Students Programs

CDFSP

Overview

The program for academically gifted students

UNSW Canberra at ADFA offers an exciting range of enhanced undergraduate degree options to high performers in Arts, Business, Engineering, Science and Technology.

The Chief of the Defence Force Students Program (CDFSP) provides academically gifted midshipmen and officer cadets with a rich and challenging educational experience that will develop their critical thinking and research skills.

If you are eligible for the CDFSP, you will undertake individual research projects working closely with academic staff on projects from their area of interest. Upon completion of your degree, you will receive a special award that reflects your involvement in this prestigious program. CDFSPs are offered across all four schools of the Academy and provide an exceptional opportunity for gifted students to reach their full academic potential.

Entry and progression requirements

The Chief of the Defence Force Students Program (CDFSP) provides academically gifted midshipmen and officer cadets with a rich and challenging educational experience that will develop their critical thinking and research skills.

  • Bachelor of Arts - ATAR 95
  • Bachelor of Business - ATAR 95
  • Bachelor of Computing and Cyber Security - ATAR 98
  • Bachelor of Engineering (all specifications) - ATAR 98
  • Bachelor of Science - ATAR 95
  • Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical) - ATAR 98

If you do not initially obtain a high-enough entrance score for admission into the CDFSP, yet achieve outstanding academic results during your first year of study at ADFA, you may apply to transfer from a standard degree to the program mid year 1 or at the start of Year 2.

All cadets enrolling in the CDFSP are expected to maintain a high level of academic and military performance over all sessions in order to remain in the program. If you do not maintain the required level of performance (which varies across the degree programs), you will be transferred to the standard degree program offered at ADFA with credit for all courses completed.



With all UNSW degrees you must undertake at least some subjects outside your main study area (known as General Education). Subject to service approval, a separate Honours year may be available to selected individuals taking a Bachelor of Arts, Business, Science or Computing and Cyber Security degree.


Find out more

For more information on academic studies visit unsw.adfa.edu.au/study/ or contact UNSW Student Administrative Services on (02) 6268 6000 or by email on sas@adfa.edu.au


Military training

During breaks from your studies, you'll undertake two types of military training to learn the fundamental knowledge, skills and attitude required to become a Navy, Army or Air Force Officer and leader.

academy military education and training

The Academy Military Education and Training (AMET) program is carried out in blocks at the beginning and end of each year, and for nine hours per week during academic terms. It emphasises experience-based leadership development in the training activities, and includes subjects such as:

  • Leadership development 
  • Drill and ceremonial
  • Military communication
  • Equity and diversity training
  • Operational environment
  • Field craft
  • Military justice
  • Weapons training
  • Physical training

navy single service training

Navy Single Service Training (SST) gives you the opportunity to experience the Navy and life at sea. It generally takes place for varying periods at the beginning and end of each year.

Year one 

  • Military and mariner skills
  • Teamwork and leadership
  • Routines, culture and traditions
  • Various activities relevant to your ADFA course

Years two and three

  • More activities relevant to your course at sea, attached to shore establishments, or with aviation squadrons

army single service training

Army Single Service Training (SST) gives you the opportunity to experience the Army in hands-on situations. It generally takes place for varying periods at the beginning and end of each year.

Year one

  • Weapon handling, field craft and first aid
  • Radio communications and navigation
  • Outdoor fitness and survival exercises

Year two

  • Leadership training
  • Work experience with an Army brigade

Year three

  • Further leadership training
  • Weapon system training
  • Combat fitness

air force single service training

Air Force Single Service Training (SST) gives you the opportunity to experience life in the Air Force close up. It generally takes place for varying periods at the beginning and end of each year.

Year one

  • Air power knowledge
  • Military justice
  • Drill and ceremonial
  • Air Force heritage (Exercise Trojan)

Year two

  • Adventure training (Exercise Discovery)
  • Leadership and management
  • Communications
  • Weapon training

Year three

  • Work experience
  • Ground defence training

Gain additional assistance

UNSW offers a number of bonus point schemes which can help you gain admission. If you are eligible, these bonus points, combined with your ATAR/OP may assist you in meeting the UNSW Canberra entry requirements.

HSC Plus

This program awards bonus points to Year 12 students who perform well in subjects relevant to their preferred UNSW degree.

Elite athletes

This program awards HSC bonus points to Year 12 students who have excelled in areas of sport, academia, performance and leadership.

ACCESS scheme

Part of UNSW Australia’s commitment to equal opportunity and affirmative action, this program provides students with access to higher education.