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.

engineering (Beng)

aeronautical engineering

Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering (Honours)

BEng (Hons)

UAC Code 450040

Indicative entrance score requirement

2017 ATAR 85 MIN or OP 8*

Duration

Four years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry is desirable, but not essential
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.

*OP = Overall Position (QLD only). Please note this minimum OP should be used as a general guide only as the conversion can vary from year to year. The exact terminology for assumed subject knowledge varies by state.

civil engineering (honours)

Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours)

BEng (Hons)

UAC Code 450050

Indicative entrance Score Requirement

2017 ATAR 85 MIN or OP 8*

Duration

Four years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry is desirable, but not essential
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.

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

Most Army graduates join the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE), which is a very challenging career. As well as providing infrastructure within Australian borders, much of your early career will be spent in overseas deployments; and in recent years Army Civil Engineers have played key roles in East Timor, Iraq, Solomon Islands and Indonesia.

Anywhere Australia is engaged in conflict, peacekeeping or disaster relief, the RAE’s Civil Engineers are there supplying clean water, constructing accommodation, building airfields, restoring harbours, and improving defence against nuclear, biological and chemical attacks.

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.

*OP = Overall Position (QLD only). Please note this minimum OP should be used as a general guide only as the conversion can vary from year to year. The exact terminology for assumed subject knowledge varies by state.

electrical engineering (honours)

Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Honours)

BEng (Hons)

UAC Code 450060

Indicative entrance Score Requirement

2017 ATAR 85 MIN or OP 8*

Duration

Four years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry is desirable, but not essential
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 Officer in the Navy you will be responsible for looking after weapons systems, communication systems and sensor systems on the Navy’s warships. Opportunities also exist for you to join the Navy Submarine Service and serve 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

On graduation as a junior Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineer Officer or Electrical/Mechatronic Engineer, you’ll choose between the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME) or Royal Australian Signals (RASigs) Corps.

Regardless of your choice, 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 systems and ground-based radar 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.

AIR FORCE

As an Air Force Electronics Engineering Officer, you’ll have a fantastic range of employment options when you graduate from ADFA. 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 Aerospace Engineering Officer you'll be involved with aircraft maintenance, technical investigations and trial modifications. In other engineering roles you could choose to work with ground-based technology such as radar, satellite or communication systems.

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.

*OP = Overall Position (QLD only). Please note this minimum OP should be used as a general guide only as the conversion can vary from year to year. The exact terminology for assumed subject knowledge varies by state.

mechanical engineering (honours)

Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours)

BEng (Hons)

UAC Code 450070

Indicative entrance score requirement

2017 ATAR 85 MIN or OP 8*

Duration

Four years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry is desirable, but not essential
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 Naval Officer and Marine Engineer. As a Marine Engineer Officer you will be the technical authority on board the ship and responsible for the ship’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

You can expect to be posted to the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME), Armour Corps or Infantry Corps. Typically, you will work in either mobile or static workshops or headquarters, or be involved with equipment procurement.

The Corps provide the repair and recovery service for all equipment operated by the Army, including aircraft and watercraft. RAEME soldiers repair and maintain equipment as diverse as tanks, trucks and armoured personnel carriers, helicopters, radios, radars and computers, artillery guns and missile systems.

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.

*OP = Overall Position (QLD only). Please note this minimum OP should be used as a general guide only as the conversion can vary from year to year. The exact terminology for assumed subject knowledge varies by state.

technology (btech) & (Bccs)

computing and cyber security

Bachelor of Computing & Cyber Security

BCompCybSec and BCompCybSec (Hons)

UAC Code 450030

Indicative entrance score requirement

2017 ATAR 80 MIN or OP 10*

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 in a Cyber Range.

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

  • Maritime Aviation Warfare Officer
  • Maritime Logistics Officer
  • Maritime Warfare Officer
  • Pilot

ARMY

General Service Officer in the:

  • Aviation Corps
  • Electrical and Mechanical Engineering area
  • Intelligence Corps
  • Ordnance Corps
  • Signals Corps

AIR FORCE

  • Air Combat Officer
  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Pilot

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

*OP = Overall Position (QLD only). Please note this minimum OP should be used as a general guide only as the conversion can vary from year to year. The exact terminology for assumed subject knowledge varies by state.

technology (aeronautical engineering)

Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical Engineering)

BTech (Aero) and BTech (Aero) (Hons)

UAC code 450080

Indicative entrance score requirement

2017 ATAR 85 MIN or OP 8*

Duration

Three years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry is desirable, but not essential
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.

This degree should not be confused with the Bachelor of Technology (Aviation) degree, which is designed specifically for Aircrew such as Pilots, Air Traffic Controllers and Air Combat Officers.

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 Midshipmen and Officer Cadets in any of the Services and graduates are employed in many technical branches of the ADF.

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

*OP = Overall Position (QLD only). Please note this minimum OP should be used as a general guide only as the conversion can vary from year to year. The exact terminology for assumed subject knowledge varies by state.

technology (aviation)

Bachelor of Technology (Aviation)

BTech (Av) and BTech (Av) (Hons)

UAC Code 450090

Indicative entrance score requirement

2017 ATAR 80 MIN or OP 10*

Duration

Three years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry is desirable, but not essential
Subject overview

The Bachelor of Technology (Aviation) involves three years of study commencing with a common program of foundation science and engineering courses with other first-year technology and engineering Cadets. In the second and third years, the programs diverge into their specialties, with the Bachelor of Technology (Aviation) focusing on human factors in the aviation discipline.

There is also an emphasis on the function of Pilots, Air Combat Officers, Maritime Aviation Warfare Officers and Air Traffic Controllers and their role in aviation, in infrastructure and safety management systems. Other streams such as aerodynamics and aviation systems often incorporate problem-based learning informed by academic research and industrial practice.

Electives and a final-semester project enable cadets to pursue particular interests both within and outside the specialist discipline.

Aviation Technology in an ADF career

Cadets who undertake a Bachelor of Technology in Aviation are primarily Pilots or Maritime Aviation Warfare Officers in the Navy or Air Combat Officers or Air Traffic Controllers in the Air Force.

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

*OP = Overall Position (QLD only). Please note this minimum OP should be used as a general guide only as the conversion can vary from year to year. The exact terminology for assumed subject knowledge varies by state.

other fields of study

bachelor of arts

Bachelor of Arts

BA and BA (Hons)

UAC Code 450001

Indicative entrance score requirement

2017 ATAR 75 MIN or OP 12*

Duration

Three years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • English
Subject overview

A UNSW Canberra Bachelor of Arts degree gives 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 Officer Cadets and Midshipmen must complete two majors from the following:

  • Business
  • English 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.

*OP = Overall Position (QLD only). Please note this minimum OP should be used as a general guide only as the conversion can vary from year to year. The exact terminology for assumed subject knowledge varies by state.

bachelor of business

Bachelor of Business

BBus and BBus (Hons)

UAC Code 450010

Indicative entrance score requirement

2017 ATAR 80 MIN or OP 10*

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.

*OP = Overall Position (QLD only). Please note this minimum OP should be used as a general guide only as the conversion can vary from year to year. The exact terminology for assumed subject knowledge varies by state.

bachelor of science

Bachelor of Science

BSc and BSc (Hons)

UAC Code 450020

Indicative entrance score requirement

2017 ATAR 75 MIN or OP 12*

Duration

Three years full-time

Assumed subject knowledge
  • Mathematics (if you are taking Mathematics, Physics or Oceanography courses as part of your BSc)
  • Physics (if you are taking Physics courses as part of your BSc)
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.

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.

In a 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
*OP = Overall Position (QLD only). Please note this minimum OP should be used as a general guide only as the conversion can vary from year to year. The exact terminology for assumed subject knowledge varies by state.

the chief of defence force students programs

The Chief of Defence Force Students Programs

CDFSP

Overview

The program for academically gifted cadets

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

Known as Chief of the Defence Force Students Programs (CDFSP), these unique programs have been designed to provide academically gifted 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 unique award that reflects your involvement in this outstanding program. CDFSPs are offered across all four schools of the Academy and are an exceptional opportunity for gifted cadets to reach their full academic potential.

Entry and progression requirements

Cadets will be invited to join the CDF program at the beginning of Year 1, Midyear 1 or the start of Year 2.

  • Bachelor of Arts - ATAR 95 or OP4*
  • Bachelor of Business - ATAR 95 or OP4*
  • Bachelor of Engineering (all specifications) - ATAR 98 or OP2*
  • Bachelor of Information Technology - ATAR 98 or OP2*
  • Bachelor of Science - ATAR 98 or OP2*
  • Bachelor of Technology (Aeronautical) - ATAR 98 or OP2*

If you do not initially obtain a high-enough entrance score for admission into the CDFSP, you may apply to transfer from a standard degree to the program if you achieve outstanding academic results during your first year of study at UNSW Canberra.

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. This requirement varies across the different degree programs. If you do not maintain the required level of performance, you will be transferred to the standard degree program offered at ADFA with credit for all courses completed.

Assumed subject knowledge

The assumed knowledge requirements of the CDFSPs are the same as the corresponding standard degree.

*OP = Overall Position (QLD only). Please note these minimum OPs should be used as a general guide only as the conversion can vary from year to year.


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.