As a graduate in the Department of Defence, you will enjoy experiences that, as a civilian, you simply wouldn’t find with any other organisation. You will work with a diverse group of women and men who are dedicated to protecting Australia and our national interests. You will carry out work that has true purpose.

The Department of Defence is one of Australia’s largest organisations and has a key role as part of the Federal Government. We are seeking graduates from all university disciplines for work across the career spectrum.

Defence offers Australian Public Service (APS) graduate opportunities across a range of Pathways and job streams. Each job stream is tailored to provide excellent learning, development and career progression opportunities in a range of disciplines. The Pathways offered are:

Defence Corporate Pathway

Defence Capability Pathway

Defence Science and Technology Pathway

Defence Policy and Intelligence Pathway – including opportunities in Defence Policy and the following three Intelligence agencies:

  • Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO)
  • Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO)
  • Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)

Other Graduate Opportunities

Naval Civilian Engineer Development Program (Naval CEDP)

For more information read about ‘Our Graduate Program’ or visit our website at www.defence.gov.au/graduates

Key Facts


Government & Public Sector


All degrees available


All degree disciplines welcome.  For more information about degree disciplines relevant to the Defence Graduate Program, please visit www.defence.gov.au/graduates

Position Locations

ACT - NSW - NT - QLD - SA - VIC - WA


Applications for the Defence Graduate Program open on 19 February 2018 and close on 3 April 2018. To apply online and to find out more about Defence Graduate Program opportunities, please visit www.defence.gov.au/graduates
For additional information, you may also e-mail us at graduate.program@defence.gov.au

Citizenship / Eligibility Requirements

Australian citizens ONLY


For more information refer to – Graduate Program - or visit our website at www.defence.gov.au/graduates

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The Department of Defence implements the policies of Government and supports Defence’s mission to defend Australian interests and values. Graduates joining the Defence Corporate Pathway will undertake work tailored to your qualifications and/or your chosen career stream that will support the Defence mission. You will be joining a network of dedicated people working on issues that impact the well-being of all Australians.

The Corporate Pathway offers a 12 month graduate program consisting of three work rotations in Canberra (some regional work placements may be available). We are seeking applications from graduates for the following career streams:

  • Generalist (All degree disciplines);
  • Finance (including degrees in – Accounting, Business, Commerce; Finance; Economics; Taxation; Banking);
  • Information and Communications Technology (including degrees in – Information Technology, Information Systems, Business Analysis, Business Informatics, Cyber Security,  ICT Commercial Management);
  • Estate and Infrastructure (including degrees in – Engineering (Civil/Mechanical/Structural), Environment (Sciences/Management/Law), Construction and Building Management; Town Planning (Strategic/Urban and Regional/Town/Master), Law (Property and Commercial); and
  • Human Resources (including degrees in – Human Resource Management; Business (HR), Commerce (HR), Psychology, Industrial Relations (HR)).


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Defence Capability Pathway

From fighter aircraft and Navy ships to soldier systems, the successful delivery of Defence Capability requires dedicated oversight by one of Australia’s largest program management, logistics, procurement and engineering services. The Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) has offices in more than 70 locations throughout Australia and overseas and is responsible for acquiring and sustaining the equipment used by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) – the operational success of the ADF depends on us.

The Defence Capability Pathway offers an 18 month graduate program, consisting of three 6 month rotations, across various locations around Australia. We are seeking applications from graduates for the following career streams:

  • Engineering  (including degrees in – Aerospace, Electrical, Electronic, Mechanical, Mechatronics, Computer Systems, Computer Science, Software; Systems, Telecommunications);
  • Maritime Engineering and Naval Construction ( Future Submarines and Ships) (including engineering degrees in – Mechatronics, Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Systems, Software, Mechanical, Naval Architecture)
  • Procurement and Contracting (including degrees in – Business, Commerce, Finance, Law);
  • Logistics (including degrees in – Logistics, Business, Commerce, Economics, Management).


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Defence Policy and Intelligence Pathway

The Defence Policy and Intelligence Pathway offers graduates opportunities in Defence Policy or across the three intelligence agencies within Defence:

  • Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO) specialises in the production of geospatial intelligence and foundation data;
  • Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) specialises in collection and analysis of foreign signals intelligence, and cyber and information security; and
  • Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) specialises in the production of all-source intelligence assessments.

Whether working in one of the Defence Intelligence Agencies, or in the Defence Policy stream, your academic back ground, together with your training, will lead to a career in Defence Strategic Policy and Intelligence where you will contribute to inform key decisions at the highest levels of government and military to protect Australian lives. As part of the Defence Policy career stream, you will undertake work which contributes to high level strategy development and inform decision making for the protection of Australian interests.

The Pathway offers a 12 month graduate program consisting of three work rotations. All positions are located in Canberra, with the possible opportunity for regional rotations.

We are seeking graduates from all degree disciplines for work in policy, intelligence analysis (including linguistic, technical, and scientific intelligence analysis), information and communications technology, or cyber and information security.

Graduates can apply for the Defence Policy and Intelligence Pathway through any of the following career streams:

  • Defence Policy (All degree disciplines)
  • Intelligence and Cyber: All degree disciplines – including languages, technical/engineering/ICT, scientific, mathematics and political sciences – for  roles in the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation; Australian Signals Directorate and Defence Intelligence Organisation..


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Defence Science and Technology Pathway

The Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group provides impartial scientific advice and innovative technology solutions to create and maintain Australia’s defence and national security capability edge.

With world class research facilities across Australia, DST Group delivers scientific support to Australian Defence Force (ADF) operations, advises government on Defence acquisitions, applies technologies to sustain current capabilities, and undertakes cutting edge research to safeguard Australia against future Defence and national security challenges.

The Defence Science and Technology Pathway offers a 12-month graduate program consisting of two rotations across major science and sechnology capability areas within DST Group or more broadly in Defence. Candidates must have completed a relevant Honours degree within the last 2-years and want to further develop their research skills through a PhD supported by DST Group in the future.

The Defence Science and Technology Pathway is seeking applications from honours graduates in the following career stream:

  • Research and Innovation (Engineering and Technology; Physical Sciences; Human, Social and Health Sciences; Information and Computer Technology; and Mathematics)

Other Graduate Opportunities

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Naval Civilian Engineer Development Program (Naval CEDP)

Naval Civilian Engineer Development Program (Naval CEDP)

Naval Engineering plays a critical role in delivering current and future Navy capability for Australia. The Naval CEDP, through recruitment and development, plays a key role in building the future of Naval Engineering. Defence is a technology based organisation that spans many specialist areas, some of which are unique to the maritime environment. Engineers enable the development and sustainment of the complex materiel systems that underpin effective Naval capability, minimising risks to safety and the environment.

The Naval CEDP offers a 3 year development program based in Canberra, including six month work rotations across varied work areas (including an industry rotation). Overall the program seeks graduate engineers from the full breadth of engineering disciplines that have application in the maritime context. These include, but are not limited to:

Naval Architecture, Chemical, Communications, Electronics, Electrical, Materials, and Mechatronics engineering.

The specific disciplines sought in any given year are based on the needs of the organisation.

For further information regarding the Defence graduate program, please visit www.defence.gov.au/graduates


nina-2 Nina

Engineering Job Stream (Defence Capability Pathway)

I found out about the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) when a couple of my friends did work experience for the Department of Defence during their final year at university. I have always been interested in a career with Defence but did not enjoy the idea of the required return of service with the military. I also wanted my work to be for something more than just profit, so working in the Australian Public Service was always going to be my preference. I was very excited to get an offer from CASG, giving me just enough time to leave my retail job and do a quick skiing trip before flying to Canberra for graduate orientation and to meet my graduate cohort. The exhilarating pace has not stopped since.I am originally from Melbourne and was lucky enough to get my first rotation in Melbourne. As an aerospace engineer I was sure that I would be allocated to the Aerospace Systems Division. However, I was allocated to the Land Systems Division responsible for all equipment for the Army, not for aircraft. After my initial misgivings, I fell in love with Land Systems Division. My first rotation was in an Armoured Personnel Carrier upgrade project and it opened my eyes to the world of Improvised Explosive Devices and the Army personnel that have to deal with these threats on daily basis when deployed.For my second rotation, I chose to stay in Melbourne and Land Systems Division. I followed my new interest of armoured vehicles to Land 400, which was in the process of going through its first government approval process. I got a very unique opportunity to actually develop the system requirements for the vehicles that are currently being trialled for contract. That involved a lot of travel and engagement with senior Army personnel to predict threats our Army is likely to face in 15 years time, and the technologies that will be required to combat those threats. During my rotation I was privileged to be invited to the live fire Army event of the year and saw all of the armoured fighting vehicles, including tanks, as well as the long range artillery put on a spectacular fire show.At least one of the rotations had to be in Canberra. By that stage I was well and truly a Land Systems Division convert, my one and only criteria for the rotation was to be in a non-engineering placement with more exposure to the Department of Defence. I was lucky to get a rotation in the Commercial Industry Programs area responsible for economic and industry advice to the CEO of CASG and the Defence Minister.  I was involved in producing analysis of CASG expenditure across acquisition and sustainment projects around the country. I was solely responsible for analysing global defence policy and defence industry trends.  One of the light hearted highlights of the rotation were chatting to the CEO of CASG about the best skiing locations near Canberra.At the end of the program, I went back to Melbourne and Land Systems Division. I am now the test and evaluation manager for a heavy logistic vehicle program and I am responsible for the testing program of 30 different systems across multiple suppliers. No two days for me are the same – the work is challenging but I had great training through the graduate program and the support of an amazing project team and the wider graduate network to see me through all of the challenges.

female-2 Kirsten

Technical Analyst (Defence Policy and Intelligence Pathway)

I completed the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) graduate program in 2014. Before starting at DIO, I completed a degree in biology and then a PhD in science and, while I knew I wanted to pursue a career outside the fields of academia and research, I wasn’t sure what options were available. I wanted to remain in a scientific or technical area and continue doing the things I love about research: in-depth analysis and problem-solving. I found all of this in my role at DIO, where my work is unique – and I love the feeling that I’m making a difference.Throughout the graduate program, I completed rotations in diverse areas that exposed me to the breadth of work DIO does and let me work with a range of high-calibre professionals who specialise in fields from international politics to chemistry and physics. The program introduced me to different teams and allowed me to develop networks that I now draw on, including for career advice. I found each area fascinating, and the support and training I received enabled me to complete projects on topics I hadn’t previously studied. The DIO graduate program includes extensive learning and development opportunities, with courses focusing on a range of subjects from analytical skills to strategic policy. The practical skills I learnt during the program will be invaluable in any future career path I might take.One of my favourite things about the program was the friendships I formed with other graduates,. Most of the graduates were new to Canberra an, as we were all in the same situation, we quickly became friends. There was never a shortage of social grad events during the year, ranging from dinners to team sports and snow trips. My graduate network is already proving valuable to me at work, and I have no doubt the friendships we made will be long-lasting.


Finance Job Stream (Defence Corporate Pathway)

I graduated in 2014 with a Degree in Commerce (Accounting and Finance) and wanted a challenge and meaningful work environment. The Defence Graduate Development Program finance stream provided me with this opportunity and then some. I was empowered to take on unique challenges; I was provided extensive training opportunities which furthered my skill set and was presented with the opportunity to apply these skills on key issues impacting Defence.I had three diverse and highly interesting rotations that provided me with valuable insights into the complex structure of Defence. My first rotation was with the Chief Operations Officer Group, a supporting arm of Defence, where I analysed projects and spending, developed models and contributed to cost assurance.The highlight for me was the opportunity to experience an interstate rotation. I completed a three month regional rotation in Queensland where I worked with an Army brigade headquarters unit. I lived on base and helped to develop procedures for innovative financial management software. Most importantly, I got to work side by side with very experienced and professional Army staff. This service rotation showed me how the military environment fits in with the greater Defence organisation and the very real ways in which my role as an Australian Public Service (APS) employee directly supports the Army.Finally, my third rotation was with the financial policy team in Canberra. Here I was given great exposure to key decision makers; I got to see Defence finance from a macro scale, witnessing the many ways in which policy can influence keys decisions across the department.One year on from completing my degree, I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that a career in Defence provides. I could not have imagined myself accomplishing so much. Moving to Canberra has been incredibly worthwhile and has been far better than I ever anticipated (despite the cold weather!). I’ve made a valuable network of friends and colleges which have supported me to perform above my expectations. They have provided me with a superb foundation upon which I plan to build a meaningful and influential career in Defence and the broader APS.


Emily Emily

Information and Communication Technology Job Stream (Defence Corporate Pathway)

Information Technology is such a vast area to work in and it can often be daunting to decide where to specialise straight out of University. I studied a Bachelor of Information Technology (Business Services) however found that IT at university and IT in the workforce are very different. The Defence Graduate Program offers Graduates the opportunity to try three completely different rotations to learn and experience different Information environments regardless of educational background.My first rotation was in the Chief Information Officer’s Portfolio Management Office. Looking back this was a great introduction into the Department. This rotation allowed me to see from an abstract view how the IT environment on a whole works within Defence. It gave me insights into the type of projects Defence runs on a day-to-day basis and the level of planning and co-ordination that is required for each of those projects to work together. I learnt about how Defence relates to other departments and how IT creates a backbone of communication and innovation for Defence.My second rotation was in the Army Headquarters working in Network Enabled Warfare which was very different from my first rotation. During this rotation I was working as the only qualified IT specialist on a floor of users. This rotation was my greatest learning curve, developing my ability to analyse situations quickly and come up with possible solutions. It allowed me see things from the user’s point of view and to practise my user communication skills. I remember being daunted in my first week by all the questions and information being thrown around. But the best thing about being a Grad is you can say that you don’t understand and people are happy to help you out. Army Headquarters is a highly dynamic environment. Within one week I was planning a network, upgrading a system, creating a website, writing project plans and training and advising users. One of the best lessons you can learn as an IT specialist is how to communicate in a way that the user can understand and Army Headquarters really allowed me to practice that.My third rotation gave me the opportunity to undertake a regional placement in Melbourne. Regional rotations really expose you to what life is like on a military base. As an Information Graduate I was interested in how IT really played a part in the everyday life of military personnel. I was placed in the Directorate of Logistics Systems Sustainment, helping to maintain one of the largest Logistics systems in Australia. This system maintains stock records and codes of pretty much everything in Defence. Here I was given a more technical experience, working on virtual servers and mainframes. I have been given opportunities to write scripts, partake in system upgrade releases and migrate and follow system objects throughout the system development lifecycle. This rotation has exposed me to a business-as-usual project within the Department, and how an IT team can be so closely woven into each of the Defence Services.


rachel-2-2 Rachelle

Intelligence Technologist (Defence Policy and Intelligence Pathway)

I completed my graduate program as an Intelligence Technologist within the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). The opportunities to experience new and different fields of technical work in the ASD continue to surprise me. I’ve done rotations working on capability development projects and  cyber security forensic analysis, which has not only given me a feel for the organisation and  exposed me to the breadth of work ASD does, but has also allowed me to work with all different types of people and teams, and create networks that are already proving valuable. ASD is such a diverse organisation; getting to do rotations anywhere in ASD is my number one favourite thing about the graduate program.I was also happy with the personal development opportunities and support offered at ASD.  I have been given the chance to continue developing my skills with a wide range of high quality technical courses available. I’ve really appreciated that the programming courses range from beginner to advanced, and are spaced out well over the year. It’s pretty cool that you can do a course or bunch of courses on any of the most common programming languages.One of the things I was concerned about was moving to a new city to a job I didn’t know much about. But when I arrived, it was easy to make friends with the other graduates as they are all in the same position, and the former graduates were there to help us when we needed it. Canberra is a pretty good place to live too – it has all the comforts of a big city but it only takes me 10 minutes to get to work every day, and it’s only 2 hours from the beach or the snow.ASD has a really good attitude towards new starters and provides a great environment to learn from others. The flexible working hours are great, and the focus is on getting the job done properly and efficiently instead of the pressure faced in private industry to work long hours. Above all, I’m valued for my abilities.The work I do at ASD is truly unique and it is great to know that I am making a real difference.



A graduate career in Defence could take you places you never imagined.

It could mean working in interesting locations, supporting national security, working with complex technologies or big budget procurement projects. For others it might mean developing policy and strategic advice for Government, supporting relationships with international partners, or designing systems and architecture that supports the Australian Defence Force.

The Department of Defence is an equal opportunity employer and we encourage all Australian citizens with relevant skills and qualifications to apply for our graduate program.

We offer a generous commencing salary and employment conditions that will help you to enjoy a happy work life balance. We give our people support to grow in a dynamic, challenging and flexible work environment.

Our offer:

  • Commencing salary for the Defence graduate program is $65,133  per annum (equiv. to APS Level 4) plus a generous 15.4% employer superannuation contribution.
  • Generous relocation assistance
  • Access and support for further study, development and career progression opportunities.
  • Work rotations to expose you to broad experiences across the Defence organisation.
  • Defence Capability Pathway graduates are advanced to the APS Level 5 on successful completion of the 18 month program.
  • Graduates entering the Naval Civilian Engineer Development Program are employed at the APS 4/5 (Professional) level.
  • 1 week familiarisation tour of interstate Defence establishments (Defence Capability Pathway and Defence Corporate Pathway).
  • Flexible working conditions.
  • Free access to gyms at most locations.
  • 4 weeks Annual Leave per year.
  • 3 weeks Personal Leave per year.
  • 3 months Long Service Leave after 10 years service.


For further information regarding the Defence graduate program, please visit www.defence.gov.au/graduates

Who we are looking for

The Department of Defence is an exciting and challenging place to work offering outstanding and diverse career opportunities across a range of Policy, Engineering, Information and Communications Technology, Science/Technical and Corporate job streams.

We are looking for graduates who are interested in contributing to the Defence mission to protect Australia and our national interests, while building their own career. Our graduates are people who have high level communication and interpersonal skills, strong technical skills and the ability thrive in a dynamic and diverse organisation.

Our successful candidates are professional, self-aware team players, and adapt easily to change. You will be committed to learning and development and share Defence values and vision for the future.


Australian Citizenship is a mandatory requirement for employment in the Department of Defence. If you have recently applied for citizenship, you must acquire citizenship prior to commencing employment.

All Department of Defence graduate programs require, at minimum, completion of a three year Bachelor Degree, recognised in Australia.

You will also be required to obtain a security clearance (Negative Vet Level 1 as a minimum) and undertake a medical examination to determine fitness for duty.

For those joining one of the Intelligence agencies within Defence (through the Defence Policy and Intelligence Pathway) a Top Secret Positive Vet (TSPV) clearance is required. You must be willing to undertake a stringent security clearance process and have a 10 year checkable background. Visit our website for more detailed information.

Other key eligibility requirements specific to some Defence programs are outlined further on our website at www.defence.gov.au/graduates.:

When and how to apply

Applications for the Defence graduate program open on 19 February 2018 and close on 3 April  2018. The Pathways offered include:

Defence Corporate Pathway

Defence Capability Pathway

Defence Science and Technology Pathway

Defence Policy and Intelligence Pathway – including opportunities in Defence Policy and the following three Intelligence agencies:

  • Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO)
  • Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO)
  • Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)

Other Defence Graduate Opportunities

  • Naval Civilian Engineer Development Program (Naval CEDP)

To apply online and to find out more about Defence graduate program opportunities, please visit www.defence.gov.au/graduates  For additional information, you may also e-mail us at graduate.program@defence.gov.au

We look forward to hearing from you.