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Start Date

1 year(s) full-time

Program Code

4GD107 (Internal)

Study as


$AU 104,500 per 1.0 EFTSL for students enrolled in 2019

Degree overview

  • Learn to fly with our partner Flight Training Adelaide (FTA), and under the supervision of highly experienced instructors.
  • Develop the skills, knowledge and competencies to sit for a Commercial Pilot Licence.
  • Benefit from strong links with industry including the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
  • Submit flight plans and access the latest aerodrome alerts and weather forecasts.



Make your dreams of becoming a pilot a reality, and develop the skills and knowledge to work as a first officer in a multi crew aircraft, or as a pilot in command of most single engine operations.

The Graduate Diploma in Aviation is a highly disciplined, technical flight training program at Parafield Airport. It is delivered by the professional flight instructors at Flight Training Adelaide, our industry partner.

This qualification equips students with the skills, knowledge and competence to sit the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) exams for a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), Command Instrument Rating (CIR) and Multi Crew Cooperation Endorsement. These are professional qualifications recognised by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The Graduate Diploma in Aviation is taught mainly at Parafield Airport. It is studied alongside the Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot).

Please note this qualification is available to Australian students only.

What you'll learn

What you Learn

This diploma comprises eight courses delivered by our industry partner Flight Training Adelaide. You will study them at the same time as the Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot).

As part of this diploma you will sit the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) theory exams. Your studies in the Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot) will help prepare you for these exams.

When you have developed the flight skills and knowledge – and passed the CASA theory exams – you can test for your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) and Command Instrument Rating (CIR) flight, and Multi Crew Cooperation Endorsement.

Study hours

The Graduate Diploma in Aviation, studied concurrently with the Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot), is a very demanding and time-consuming study commitment.

You will be expected to have a minimum of 3 weekdays (and the occasional weekend day) available for flying. Once you start flying you are strongly discouraged from taking any planned leave until you finish your flight training.

The combination of contact hours and flying hours requires a strong work ethic and commitment.

In your own study time you’ll have assignments, readings, projects to work on and assessments to prepare for. You can also watch or listen to most of your lectures again, online.   



Your studies at UniSA will incorporate both practical, professionally-focused and research-based learning, so assessment types will vary. You can expect them to include:

  • practical assessments (e.g. flight, navigation) weighted pass/fail
  • practical exams (e.g. Commercial Pilot Licence, Command Instrument Rating)
  • theoretical exams with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

Global opportunities

Enrich your studies and your life – make overseas study part of your qualification. Australian and international students may have the option to do an exchange, short-term program or study tour overseas. We have links with universities worldwide. You can choose short-term or semester-long study from a range of universities and countries depending on your area of study and cultural interests.

Take a look at the global opportunities available.

Global opportunities

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
General Flying 1 AERO 5024 4.5
General Flying 2 AERO 5025 6
Cross Country Navigation 1 AERO 5021 6
Night and Energy Management AERO 5017 1.5
Cross Country Navigation 2 AERO 5022 6
Command Instrument Rating 1 AERO 5019 3
Command Instrument Rating 2 AERO 5020 6
Flight Deck Multi Crew Cooperation AERO 5023 3

Why Graduate Diploma in Aviation

Why this Degree

You will work with industry experts, flight instructors and academics. They will give you a solid understanding of the fundamentals of aerodynamics, aircraft power plants and systems, meteorology, navigation and flight planning

We emphasise hands-on, practical knowledge. We have strong links with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) information service, so you can submit flight plans and access the latest aerodrome alerts and weather forecasts. The theoretical training learned in the Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot) alongside the highly disciplined, technical flight training in this graduate diploma makes our graduates much sought after by airlines.

As part of this diploma, you will prepare for and sit the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) exams for a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), Command Instrument Rating (CIR) and Multi Crew Cooperation Endorsement. These professional qualifications are recognised by CASA and the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Real-world connections

Our partnership with Flight Training Adelaide (FTA) draws on mutual experience and expertise to deliver quality flight training to our aviation students. FTA teaches from the University of South Australia’s Parafield Airport hangar, located near the Mawson Lakes campus.

We have a focus on aviation research and have developed partnerships and new technologies for industry. In fact, UniSA was ranked number one in South Australia for Engineering Research, with assessed research rated well-above world standard (2015 Excellence in Research for Australia). UniSA also collaborates with over 2,500 companies worldwide. These extensive industry connections give us a truly competitive edge – our students get real-world skills and contacts.

Your career

Over the next 20 years the world's airline fleet will grow at an average rate of 3.6 per cent annually, driving the need for more than 36,700 new airplanes valued at 5.2 trillion dollars. Growth is being driven by emerging markets such as Latin America, Asia-Pacific, low cost carrier and sixth freedom business models1.

The 2014 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook projects that 533,000 new commercial airline pilots and 584,000 new maintenance technicians will be needed to fly and maintain the world fleet over the next 20 years1. You could consider the following careers:

  • commercial pilot working for international, national or regional airlines
  • corporate and business aviation
  • flight instructor
  • defence pilot
  • firefighting pilot
  • medical and air ambulance pilot

1 Boeing’s Current Market Outlook 2014-2033

What others are saying

Before my instructor sent me on my first solo flight, I was feeling quite nervous, but knowing that I was in control of the aircraft, with no one sitting beside me, was an experience I’ll never forget. Watching yourself grow as a professional pilot is truly an amazing feeling.

Alexi Currie

Graduate Diploma in Aviation

Alexi Currie

Alexi Currie

Graduate Diploma in Aviation

I have worked as a helicopter and fixed wing pilot in the military, commercial, corporate, and emergency medical aviation services. I enjoy sharing my passion for aviation through my teaching. I’ve had many career highlights, a few that stand out are the first time I flew the Apache helicopter, when I passed my Airline Transport Pilots license test, and getting my PhD. 

Dr Doug Drury

Program Director

Portrait image for Dr Doug Drury
Portrait image for Dr Doug Drury

Dr Doug Drury

Program Director



Every year, over 2,500 UniSA students are supported in their studies through scholarships and grants worth millions of dollars. Check out the scholarships below. One of them may be perfect for you. Visit our scholarships page for more.

More scholarships

Your campus

We have six campuses in metropolitan and regional areas, each with advanced facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, laboratories, and areas that simulate real work environments.

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your study spaces

The UniSA hangar at Parafield Airport is fully equipped for flight training with networked classrooms, simulators housed in climate and sound-controlled rooms, and aircraft maintenance hangars. There is also a student lounge, briefing rooms for one-on-one time with instructors, and a flight planning area.

An operations room is staffed by qualified personnel who maintain a ‘flight watch’ service for all FTA aircraft in the air. Students have immediate access to weather, NOTAMS and other flight planning data as required.

Your study spaces

Your study experience

Our campuses have fantastic facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops, laboratories, tech zones, and areas that simulate real work environments. You’ll also find student gyms and campus sport activities to keep you active. We also offer flexible study options, with online resources available for accessing lecture recordings, virtual classrooms, library resources and learning support. 

Adelaide has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation or private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages for plenty of options. If you need somewhere to live, our new student accommodation by urbanest is on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, a perfect location for students. It is within easy reach of UniSA’s city and metropolitan campuses, Rundle Mall shopping, the Central Market, Chinatown, and the West End’s vibrant nightlife. It is also across the road from the Adelaide train station, and on bus and tram routes.

Student services

Student services

Our student support services can make your life at university easier. We provide a full range of support services including academic and personal counselling. You can also access a range of services through our students association, USASA. When you become a UniSA student you can contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and any other questions you might have.

24/7 digital environment

Our learnonline facilities include a personal learning environment with virtual classrooms, lecture recordings, emails, learning support, administration, library access and results. The environment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can tailor your learning to your life. We are continually investing in innovative digital technologies for a high-quality student learning experience.

Student services

How to apply

Applying to study with us:

  • go to the top of this page and make note of the SATAC code, then click Apply
  • you will be redirected through to the SATAC website to continue your application

Flight aptitude test

While we encourage you to prepare for the test, it is not a good idea to rehearse your answers. Rehearsed answers (rather than natural answers) can lessen your test performance. Also, the content of the tests can change from one year to the next.

At the test you will be asked for the required background evidence for the General English Language Proficiency (GELP). For details of the background evidence requirements and the criteria for assessing the GELP, please visit the CASA website.

When and where are the flight aptitude tests held?

Future students: tests are held between mid-January and mid-February. You will be contacted with an invitation to test after you have:

  • received an offer in to the Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot), and
  • submitted a separate application for the Graduate Diploma in Aviation (LGAV) via SATAC’s postgraduate portal.

Current students: tests for current students of the Bachelor of Aviation (LBCV or LBAN) are held in October. You will be invited to test after you have submitted a separate application for the Graduate Diploma in Aviation (LGAV) via SATAC’s postgraduate portal.

Tests are held at UniSA’s Parafield Airport building. You must be available during the nominated times as tests will not be rescheduled.

What does the aptitude test involve?

The aptitude test is composed of a series of computer-based assessments that cover pilot aptitude, including hand–eye coordination, motor skills and spatial awareness.

Class 1 medical certificate

You must hold a Class 1 medical certificate to successfully complete this diploma1.

It is required for all holders of:

  • air transport pilot licence
  • commercial pilot licence (other than balloons)
  • multi-crew pilot (aeroplane) licence
  • flight engineer licence
  • student flight engineer licence

Please note that not all doctors can administer aviation medicals – you must see a Designated Aviation Medical Examiners (DAMEs).

The initial issue of a Class 1 medical certificate is complex and there are several steps. Your DAME will help you with this process. When you book your medical, inform them it is for the initial issue of a certificate. Class 1 medicals can take up to 8 weeks, so you should factor that in to your planning.

Unless otherwise advised by the Aviation Medicine Section, a Class 1 medical certificate is valid for one year.

1There are certain circumstances under which a Class II medical certificate may be considered. A Class 1 medical is required for the commercial phase of the flight training. A Class 2 medical is approved as long as it was initially issued as a Class 1, and again the student must obtain the Class 1 renewal prior to starting the commercial phase of training.

Aviation Reference Number

The Aviation Reference Number (ARN) is a unique identifier used by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to identify aviation businesses and personnel, including pilots. This unique identifier allows all your medicals, licences and rating to be applied to your CASA profile.

This form is essential, you must submit it before all other applications to CASA. UniSA staff are not required to certify or endorse this form before you submit it. Please complete and submit to CASA as soon as possible. Download the ARN application form.

Aviation Security Identification Card

All flight students must have an Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC).

A Justice of the Peace (JP) must certify the documents and photos. Once the forms are completed, you need to make an appointment with the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) at Flight Training Adelaide. If you’re outside of South Australia, please send the documents to UniSA once completed. They will be stamped and submitted to CASA on your behalf. The checklist at the front of the form must be completed before the meeting.

Please note that CASA can take between four and six weeks to issue the ASIC.

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