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Graduate program

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Apply for the 2025 Graduate Program


Graduate Program Summary

Position Details DFAT
Classification and salary on commencement APS 4 $78,371 + 15.4% Super
Classification and salary on completion APS 5 $89,703 + 15.4% Super
Location Canberra – ACT *Relocation assistance is available
Duration of the program 18 months
Employment Type Ongoing APS, Full-time
Streams Corporate Policy
Security Clearance Negative Vetting Level 2

Working at DFAT

A career with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) provides you with the opportunity to make a difference. You will learn new skills, be part of experienced and motivated teams, and undertake work that promotes and protects Australia's international interests.

We work with international partners and other countries to tackle global challenges, increase Australia's trade and investment opportunities, protect international rules, keep our region stable and help Australians overseas.

DFAT manages Australia's international presence – a network of over 116 embassies, high commissions, consulates-general and representative offices across five continents – and we have over 6,000 staff located in Australia and overseas. These staff are diplomats, negotiators, consular officers, advisers and corporate officers developing and delivering Australia's foreign policy, trade and development outcomes on behalf of Australia and Australians.

Each year DFAT selects a range of graduates with varying experience, academic qualifications and backgrounds. We aim to build a workforce that represents the Australia we serve and encourage applications from people with diverse backgrounds who share our values.

About the program

No matter your interest, whether it's in corporate management, foreign affairs, international development, policy or trade and investment, our graduate program will prepare you for a rich and rewarding career in DFAT.

Our graduate program has 2 streams: Corporate and Policy.

You will complete 4 placements and get first-hand experience across a range of the government's priorities during your program.

Corporate graduates may be placed in various roles, including:

  • accounting and financial management
  • capability strategy and development
  • communications and media
  • consular and crisis management
  • diplomatic security
  • human resources (HR)
  • information technology (IT)
  • overseas property management
  • protocol and events management.

Policy graduates may be placed in various roles, including:

  • bilateral economic and political relations
  • international trade negotiations and economic analysis
  • climate and environmental diplomacy
  • humanitarian assistance
  • consular and crisis management
  • development and aid program management
  • international security
  • international law
  • public diplomacy
  • multilateral and global issues.

What we offer

During the 18-month program, you will be provided with:

  • unique career opportunities across our network of 116+ posts worldwide
  • an ongoing position, commencing at an APS4 classification and advancing to an APS5 classification upon completion of the program
  • 15.4% superannuation
  • world class training and development from the award-winning Diplomatic Academy  
  • an inclusive and supportive working environment
  • career guidance from a dedicated graduate program management team
  • access to employee and professional networks
  • generous leave conditions
  • a relocation package if you need to move to Canberra from within Australia.

All graduate roles are based in Canberra.

Graduates will be eligible to apply for an overseas posting opportunity once they have completed the first 12 months of the program.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for graduates who have a genuine interest in working in international affairs and trade. We want people from a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds.

We look for collaborative, outcomes-focused and high-performing graduates with an interest in making a difference to Australia's economic prosperity. We need people who are analytical, strong communicators and interested in diverse business cultures.

To be a successful DFAT graduate you will demonstrate these attributes:

  • team player
  • highly motivated
  • excellent communication
  • practical problem-solving skills
  • flexible, adaptable, resilient and resourceful
  • professional, with strong ethical standards.  

We are looking for both generalist and specialist graduates. We welcome applications from all academic backgrounds, including international relations, economics, social sciences, public policy, education, business and commerce, law, national security and linguistics.

We also encourage graduates with backgrounds or degrees in human resources, communications, finance and digital fields to apply.

In your application you can indicate your preference for the corporate or policy stream. 

Eligibility requirements

You must meet DFAT general eligibility requirements to apply for the Graduate Program.

You also need to:

  • be an Australian Citizen at the time of application; and,
  • have finished at least a bachelor's degree in the last 5 years or be finishing one before 31 December 2024.

Prior to starting the DFAT graduate program, successful candidates need to obtain an Australian national security clearance at Negative Vetting Level 2.

If your only qualification is from an overseas institution, you will need to provide Australian documentation recognising your qualification(s). Refer to the Department of Education for more information about recognition of overseas qualifications.

Applying from overseas

Several successful candidates apply from overseas each year, as application and assessment centres are conducted online.

If you are successful after your assessment centre, you will need to obtain a Negative Vetting Level 2 security clearance and undergo the vetting process. This will include submitting relevant documents and a security interview, held in Australia.

If you are overseas during the security vetting process, you are expected to return to Australia for your security interview at your own expense.


All queries relating to the application and selection process for 2025 Graduate Program should be directed DFP Recruitment via email at or by calling 1300 184 817.

Apply for the 2025 Graduate Program

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