Do you enjoy the challenge of figuring out how things work? Are you interested in the diverse range of equipment used by the Australian Defence Force (ADF), including ships, tanks and weapon systems? If this sounds like you, why not study a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at UNSW Canberra? 

Mechanical engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with machines and the production of power, and with forces and motion. It focuses on the core task of devising new and better ways to extract mechanical power from heat and to use that power to perform useful tasks. 

A degree in mechanical engineering will provide you with a solid understanding of thermodynamics, mechanical systems dynamics, properties of solid materials, fluid dynamics, design, and high-level project management skills.  

As a mechanical engineer, you’ll be the driving force behind the ADF’s advanced technology, powering the machines around us. No other organisation in Australia has such a complex and challenging equipment inventory operating under such demanding conditions. Discover your power and develop the tools needed to begin your exciting career as a mechanical engineer in the ADF.

ATAR indicative


Degree type



4 years full-time

Commencing terms

Semester 1

Program code


Delivery mode

On campus

Study at UNSW Canberra

UNSW Canberra’s Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering is a four-year degree that has been developed specifically to meet the needs of the ADF. You will study subjects such as computational problem solving, programming, mathematics, physics, fluid mechanics, mechanics of machines, mechanical design, engineering materials and cyber security.  

The program focuses on building high-level project management skills and engineering expertise, where you’ll be challenged to design, create, and improve systems that turn energy into power and motion. Your core courses will teach you to develop solutions using robotics, new advanced materials, and more. You’ll learn about using the principles of motion, energy, and force to create safe, reliable, and sustainable machines.  

As you progress through your degree, you’ll be given further opportunities to choose electives like land-based or marine mechanical engineering, that allow you to develop more specialised skills to suit your ADF career goals. This work will be capped off in your fourth-year Honours research project. You’ll design and conduct your very own research with the assistance of your academic supervisor to make an original contribution to the field of engineering research. 

You will spend at least 60 days gaining practical engineering experience in the workplace during your degree, and you will undertake your own capstone research project in your final year. 

World-class teaching & facilities

When you study with us, you’ll have access to purpose-built engineering workshops and facilities, and benefit from the best university teacher-to-student ratio in Australia. Working with experienced engineers and client representatives on industry-focused design and research projects, you’ll gain the hands-on experience required to meet the global challenges of the future. 

Our teachers are experienced practitioners and collaborate closely with industry to ensure our graduates possess the skills to meet the needs of the workplace. 

What our students say

“I believe that a mechanical engineering degree at UNSW Canberra is a fantastic choice. It provides an intellectual challenge, while also giving you important practical skills alongside the necessary theoretical knowledge, building a balanced skills base before going on to a wide range of employment opportunities.” 
Paul Nilsson, Mechanical Engineering student 

Your career in mechanical engineering

Studying mechanical engineering will give you the key skills to become a successful engineer within the ADF. You could develop, design, construct and improve mechanical systems such as biomedical devices, automatic control systems, environmental pollution control devices, clean combustion, underwater exploration and space vehicles.

With accreditation from Engineers Australia, you’ll be ready to work in Australia and abroad from the moment you graduate.  

Whether you are in the Navy, Army or Air Force, mechanical engineers are required to maintain and repair an extremely diverse and sophisticated range of equipment.


As a Navy graduate, you’ll gain vital expertise to be the technical authority on board the ship. You’ll find yourself responsible for the ship’s structures, propulsion systems, electrical generation and distribution. Your skills will allow you to work closely with the ship’s core equipment, including the main and auxiliary machinery, engines, hydraulics and more. Use your mechanical engineering degree to discover your career in the Navy in roles including:  

  • Aerospace Engineer 
  • Marine Engineer 
  • Marine Engineer Submariner  


As an Army graduate, you’ll be posted to the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME), Armour Corps or Infantry Corps. You could find yourself working in mobile and static workshops, headquarters, or be involved with equipment procurement. You’ll gain experience repairing and maintaining equipment including tanks, armoured personnel carriers, helicopters, artillery guns, missile systems and more. Your next Army career could be in exciting roles including:  

  • Aeronautical Engineer 
  • Mechanical Engineer  
  • Army Officer 

Air Force 

As an Air Force graduate, you’ll play a critical role in managing equipment including aircraft structures, propulsion systems, weapons and more. Discover new heights in your ADF career with roles including:  

  • Aeronautical Engineer 
  • Armament Engineer  

Chief of the Defence Force Program

The Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) programs offer the opportunity for students entering UNSW Canberra with a high Entrance Rank, and who maintain a high level of performance in their studies, to undertake research in a range of disciplines that will develop their critical thinking and independent research skills beyond that available in the standard bachelor degree programs.

The range of CDF programs is characterised by the inclusion of specialist courses in critical analysis and/or research methods appropriate to the area of study. All programs also include discipline-specific research projects. The research projects will be supervised by academic staff from the relevant discipline. With the approval of the Head of School, multi- or cross-disciplinary projects may be undertaken. Students in the research courses may work independently or as part of a team, depending on the nature of the project undertaken, though all students will submit an individual assessment. The final assessment will be based on a written paper or report and oral presentations. 

Throughout the program, students will be engaged in cohort activities so as to develop and maintain their interest and continuing involvement in the program via invited lectures, seminars, general reading and social events.

Key contacts

Student Enquiries

T: (02) 5114 5000 

Available to
ADFA Trainee Officers
ADF Current Serving Members

Assumed knowledge
Mathematics, physics

Additional selection criteria
Defence Force Recruiting process