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Graduate programs

Applications for the 2022 Policy Graduate Programs are now closed.

Australian Government Graduate Programs (AGGP) logo

Australian Government Graduate Programs

In 2022 DFAT participated in the following whole-of-government Australian Government Graduate Programs (AGGP):

More information to come on our proposed participation for 2023 programs!

DFAT Policy Graduate Program

Applications for the 2022 Graduate Programs are now closed. We will advertise for our 2023 Graduate Programs in late Feb/early March 2022.

We welcome candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds. Each year we select a mix of fresh graduates and graduates with several years of professional experience under their belt. DFAT places no limits on the age of candidates.

These are ongoing entry level positions, with graduates commencing at an APS3.2 with a salary of $69,836 (plus 15.4% superannuation). Graduates are expected to commence in February/March 2023. DFAT also offers a generous relocation package to successful candidates.

About the program

The graduate program is based in Canberra. It will prepare you for a rich and rewarding career with the department, whether your interests are in corporate management or in foreign, trade or international development policy.

During the course of the two-year program, you will undertake a tailored learning package delivered through the department’s Diplomatic Academy. You will also complete four work placements, giving you firsthand experience of the department’s diverse range of priorities. Policy graduates’ work placements might include:

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

After you have successfully completed the program, you will progress to an APS 4 position in Canberra.

The foundation of the department’s work and the majority of your career will be in Canberra, working with and focusing on international issues affecting Australia. It may also include service at one of the 120 overseas posts we manage. Graduates are able to apply for positions overseas after their first year with the department but usually spend a number of years in Canberra before being selected for an overseas posting. We encourage candidates to consider this carefully and make an informed decision before applying.

Who we are looking for

DFAT is looking for candidates who are curious about the world and interested in taking up a challenge. You will have a strong record of academic achievement with at least a credit average as well as extra-curricular interests. You may have work experience, paid or unpaid, from any background, but you will have a genuine interest in Australia’s foreign, development and trade policy interests, including in the international and domestic policy contexts. We welcome applications from a broad range of academic backgrounds. We also encourage economics graduates and graduates with an interest in international development work to apply.

More information will be available in the relevant position descriptions when applications open.

Eligibility requirements

You must meet DFAT’s eligibility requirements to apply for the 2023 graduate program. In addition to these requirements:

  • you must be an Australian Citizen at the time of application, and
  • you must have finished at least a bachelor degree by 31 December 2022, with at least a credit average or higher; and
  • your most recent degree must be no more than five years old on the date you lodge your application.
  • To note: Prior to engagement selected candidates will be required to obtain an Australian national security clearance at Negative Vetting Level 2.

If your only qualification is from an overseas institution, you will be required to provide Australian documentation recognising your qualification(s). Please refer to the Department of Education and Training website for more information about recognition of overseas qualifications.

If you have at least one tertiary qualification from Australia, you may provide documentation recognising your other international qualifications during later stages of the selection process.

Applying from overseas

A number of successful candidates apply from overseas each year. The application and assessment process can be conducted online, with the option to attend the assessment centre in person (taking into account advice from the Australian Government Department of Health and relevant state and territory governments). For the 2023 graduate program this will likely be in June 2022, but the final dates have not yet been set. If you are overseas and wish to attend in person you will need to travel to Australia at your own expense.

If you are successful in securing a recommendation for employment through the graduate recruitment process, you will be required to undergo a Negative Vetting Level 2 security clearance process. This will include a security interview and the method (i.e. in person or video conferencing) will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If you are overseas and are required to attend in person, your travel to an Australian capital city will be at your own expense.


If you have questions about the application or selection process for our graduate program, check out our FAQs page or contact People Assist at or 02 6261 2222.

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