Studying at ADFA


Soldiers stand in formation during a ceremony.Joining the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) is not just about number two buzz cuts and polishing brass. There are lots of opportunities to get involved in social and sporting activities not to mention the chance to complete a uni degree and have all your tuition fees paid for.

Midshipman Dee Khanna, 21, is a recent ADFA graduate. Originally from Mount Waverley, she lived at ADFA while completing an engineering degree and training with the Navy.

What’s it like to study at ADFA?

ADFA students wake up at 0600 hours (6am), attend classes between 8am and 6pm, and train for eight hours each week. They complete single service training (to prepare for service in the Army, Navy or Air Force) and come together for training in leadership and military education.

It’s important for all recruits to keep fit and in addition to scheduled PT sessions (physical training), ADFA students are encouraged to participate in at least one sport each season. Dee played AFL and hockey and enjoyed taking part in other extra-curricular activities on weekends.

What’s it like to live at ADFA?

All ADFA students live on campus in Canberra. They’re allowed to travel home in lease periods such as semester breaks or during their two-week holiday over Christmas.

"You live with your classmates," said Dee, "and everyone’s encouraged to be involved in a club so you get to spend time with the wider defence community."

Military discipline extends to housekeeping and ADFA students are expected to clean their own rooms and wash and iron their clothes. Regular inspections mean there’s no slacking off.

What are the entry requirements for ADFA?

There’s a two-step process to get into ADFA. You have to apply through UAC (the tertiary admissions centre for NSW/ACT – their version of VTAC) and you have to pass the military selection process, which involves medical and physical tests.

What’s so good about studying at ADFA?

Studying at ADFA gets you a degree from the University of New South Wales and guarantees you a career in the Army, Navy or Air Force once you graduate. As well as having your uni fees paid for, you’ll earn up to $31, 939 per year and you’ll also receive a textbook allowance, free healthcare and uniforms.

“It’s an opportunity to meet people, get your degree paid for, and really challenge yourself to do some great things," said Dee.

What sort of commitment do you make to the Australian Defence Force?

If you choose to study at ADFA you’re committing to at least six years of military service. Dee has made a nine-year commitment. Three of those years were spent completing her engineering degree and the fourth will be spent completing her training with the Navy. The rest of the time Dee will be posted to different locations, working on board a ship as an engineering officer.

How can I find out more?

You can find out more about careers in the Army, Navy or Air Force by visiting the ADFA website (new window) or calling 13 19 01.

The ADFA website features a great list of FAQs as well as The First Six Weeks, a series of podcasts that provides a good snapshot of life at ADFA.