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? 


UNSW Canberra at ADFA
Delivery Mode
Face-to-face (includes blended)
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
Commencing Terms
Semester 1
Duration (Full Time)
4 Year(s)


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.


Why study this degree at UNSW Canberra?

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. 


Program Code
UAC Code
450070 - Defence451070 - Non Defence
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
Indicative Enrolments

Want to see more from UNSW Canberra at ADFA?

Entry requirements

2021 Lowest Selection Rank
85.00 + Defence Selection
2021 A levels
14 + Defence Selection
2021 IB Diploma
31 + Defence Selection
2021 Lowest ATAR
    1. 2021 Lowest Selection Rank
      The 2021 Lowest Selection Rank (LSR) is the adjusted rank (ATAR plus adjustment factors) you would have needed to gain entry to this degree in 2021.
    2. 2021 A levels
      The 2021 A levels score is based on four Advanced Level (A2) subject. Entry scores are calculated from the best three or four A2 subjects (excluding repeated subjects) using the following values: A*=6, A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1. At most one Applied A Level subject may be included in the best four subjects used to calculate the aggregate.
    3. 2021 IB Diploma
      The 2021 IB Diploma is an indication of the IB you would have needed to gain entry to this degree in 2021. It is to be used as a guide only.
    4. 2021 Lowest ATAR
      The 2021 Lowest ATAR is the lowest ATAR (before adjustment factors were applied) to which an offer was made. Where <5 is listed, this indicates that less than 5 ATAR-based offers were made and so the score has not been published. N/A indicates no offers were made on the basis of ATAR.

Additional Selection Criteria

Undergraduate entry to the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) is open to Australian residents who are members of the Australian Defence Force and selected members of overseas Armed Forces. Trainee Officers are selected by one of the three services (Navy, Army or Airforce) in the Australian Defence Force and must also meet academic entry requirements for UNSW Canberra at ADFA. Applying for ADFA is a dual application process. As selection for the Australian Defence Force is a competitive process, which can take up to 12 months, it is preferable that you apply to Defence Force Recruiting in Year 11. Visit this site for more information on both application processes.

This degree is also available to non-defence students.

Assumed Knowledge

Mathematics, Physics

Mathematics, Physics

English Language Requirements​


You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on your educational background and citizenship. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If you’re completing an Australian Year 12 qualification (e.g. NSW HSC or equivalent), you do not need to provide anything extra to prove your proficiency. Your qualification will be used as evidence of your English proficiency.

If you do need to provide evidence of your English proficiency, this will be indicated in your application. You can prove this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

UNSW Global offers courses and programs designed to help you reach the English language level required for entry into your chosen degree. Different options are available depending on your current English language level. Learn more.

Program structure

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. 


Full Structure

Future careers

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



Engineers Australia

How to apply

Applications for undergraduate study from domestic students (Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, Australian permanent humanitarian visa holders and New Zealand citizens) are processed by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

Visit the Apply section of the UAC website and you can nominate up to five degrees in order of preference, with the first being your most desired degree and university.

On-time applications for admission usually close at the end of September each year for Term 1 admission. Late applications can be submitted, but a late fee will apply. For study starting in Term 1, the majority of offers are made in December and January. Visit the UAC website for key dates for admission outside of Term 1.

Ready to Apply?


2021 Indicative First Year Fee

The Australian Defence Force covers tuition fees for defence students.