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Graduate program

Applications for the DFAT 2023 graduate program are now open.


Applications close at 11:30pm (AEST) on Sunday 12 June 2022

In a career with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), you will learn new skills, be part of experienced and motivated teams, and do meaningful work that promotes and protects Australia's international interests.

Each year, we select a mix of new graduates, and graduates with several years of professional experience. It does not matter how old you are. We are seeking graduates with all degree backgrounds for policy and corporate roles across the department.

We strive for a workforce that represents the Australia we serve and encourage applications from people with diverse backgrounds who share our values.

About the program

Whether you are interested in corporate management, foreign, trade or international development policy, our graduate program will prepare you for a rich and rewarding career.

You will complete three placements and get first-hand experience across a range of DFAT's priorities.

Generalist graduates will be placed in various roles, including:

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

We also take graduates who specialise in roles such as human resources, finance, economics, data, ICT and communications. If you would like to apply for a specialisation, you can indicate this in your application. Please note, to apply for a specialisation, you need to have studied at least a minor or have work experience in this field.

During the 12-month program, you will get:

  • an ongoing, entry level position, commencing at an APS 3 classification and advancing to an APS 4 classification at completion of the program
  • a starting salary of $71,163, increasing to $73,162 at completion of the program
  • 15.4% superannuation
  • placements in three work areas
  • targeted training and development delivered by DFAT's Diplomatic Academy
  • an inclusive and flexible working environment
  • access to employee and professional networks
  • a Senior Executive Service mentor
  • generous leave conditions and a relocation package if you need to move to Canberra.

Roles are based in Canberra and will commence in February or March 2023.

Graduates usually spend several years in Canberra, gaining experience across the department, before being selected for an overseas posting, but you are eligible to apply once you have completed the program.

Who we are looking for

We want graduates with a range of experiences and backgrounds, who have genuine interest in working with Australia's international partners to tackle global challenges, increase trade and investment opportunities, protect international rules, keep our region stable and help Australians overseas.

We are looking for both generalist and specialist graduates, and welcome applications from all academic backgrounds, including arts, social sciences, policy, education, business and commerce, law, information technology and languages.

We particularly encourage graduates with backgrounds or degrees in economics, data and digital fields to apply.

Eligibility requirements

You must meet DFAT's general eligibility requirements to apply for the 2023 Graduate Program.

You also need to:

  • be an Australian Citizen at the time of application
  • have finished at least a bachelor’s degree between 31 December 2017 and 31 December 2022.

Prior to starting the 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, Skills and Employment for more information about recognition of overseas qualifications.

Applying from overseas

Several successful candidates apply from overseas each year.

The application and assessment process can be conducted online, with the option to attend the assessment centre stage in-person, depending on advice from the Australian Government Department of Health and relevant state and territory governments.

The application and assessment process for the 2023 Graduate Program is expected to be held in June/July 2022, but these dates may change.  

If you are overseas and want to attend the assessment centre stage in-person, you will need to travel to Australia at your own expense. Virtual attendance is an option for those unable to travel.

If you are a successful candidate, you will need to complete a Negative Vetting Level 2 security clearance process. This will include a security interview, held either in-person or virtually (to be assessed case-by-case). If you are overseas and are required to attend in-person, travel to an Australian capital city will be at your own expense.

How to apply

Australian Government Graduate Program (AGGP) Graduate Streams

DFAT recruits most graduates through our own recruitment process, but we also consider graduates through the Australian Government Graduate Program (AGGP) in the following streams:

Applying for an AGGP stream means you only have to go through the application and selection process once, and will be considered for a graduate role with a range of agencies.

You may have the opportunity to choose DFAT as your preferred employer.

You can apply for the 2023 DFAT Graduate Program through our own recruitment process and any relevant AGGP stream.

To apply through the AGGP, visit the APSjobs Graduate Portal.

If you have questions about the AGGP process, please contact the lead agency for the relevant stream.

Australian Government Graduate Programs (AGGP) logo>

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All queries relating to the application and selection process should be directed DFP Recruitment via email at, or by telephone on 1300 184 817.

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