Start Date

1 year(s) full-time

Program Code

Study as
Full-time or part-time


$AU 110,200 per 1.0 EFTSL for students enrolled in 2024

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 and Multi-engine Command Instrument Rating.
  • Benefit from strong links with industry including practicing professional pilots, air traffic controllers, and through the Qantas Future Pilot Program.



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 in conjunction with 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) and Multi-engine Command Instrument Rating (CIR). These are professional qualifications recognised by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The Graduate Diploma in Aviation is delivered at the UniSA Aviation Academy at Parafield Airport. It is studied alongside the Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot).

What you'll learn

What you Learn

This diploma comprises seven courses delivered with 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.

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
Introductory Flying AERO 2061 6 Note(s): 7
Advanced Flying AERO 5027 6
Night Flying AERO 5032 1.5
Aircraft Navigation 1 AERO 5028 6
Aircraft Navigation 2 AERO 5029 6
Instrument Flight 1 AERO 5030 6
Instrument Flight 2 AERO 5031 4.5

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. You may have the option to undertake an exchange, short-term program or study tour overseas while you study. We have links with universities worldwide, as well as a range of travel grants available to make going overseas much more accessible.

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

Why Graduate Diploma in Aviation

Why this Degree

You will work with industry experts, flight instructors and academics. They will prepare you with the flight training skills to enter the aviation industry as a pilot.

We emphasise hands-on, practical knowledge. This program offers flight training in single and multi-engine aircraft, giving our students the opportunity to master professional flight training competencies. 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) and Multi-engine Command Instrument Rating (CIR). 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 instructors teach from the University of South Australia’s Aviation Academy, 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 is one of Australia's leading universities for Engineering research (UniSA's Engineering research rated well above world-class - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)). 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.

Hear from Sam Rogers, Aviation student

Sam Rogers talks about his experience studying UniSA's Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot) and Graduate Diploma in Aviation, where he completed flight training at UniSA's Aviation Academy.

UniSA Video

Career outcomes

Your career

Within the next 20 years, it is predicted there will be a demand of 837,000 new personnel required in the Asia-Pacific region. Although the aviation industry is currently experiencing a downturn driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-term need remains robust with anticipation of growth to the sector in coming years.1

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

1Boeing 20-year Pilot, Technician and Cabin Crew Outlook 2020 - 2039

Industry facts


Boeing predicts an additional 602,000 commercial airline pilots will be needed worldwide between now and 2041

(2022 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook)


Commercial air traffic is expected to recover to 2019 levels by 2024

(2022 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook)


By 2038, global air travel transport is forecasted to support 143 million jobs and contribute $6.3 trillion to the global economy

(Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders 2022)

How to apply

Entry into this program is competitive and strict standards of behaviour apply. In order to be selected, applicants must be currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot) program. Students in the Bachelor of Aviation will be contacted when applications are open for the next intake.

Process for offers

An offer of entry into the Graduate Diploma in Aviation requires certain additional requirements to be met and applicants will be contacted by the University with details of the next steps.

Applicants are required to be selected via a process which includes:

  • attending a formal interview
  • providing proof of general English language proficiency and being assessed on this proficiency during the formal interview
  • sitting a flight aptitude test with FTA
  • academic achievement of at least a pass average

The cost of the flight aptitude test is currently $268 and applicants will be required to pay this on the day of the test.

Interviews and tests are held at the UniSA Aviation Academy. You must be available during the nominated times as tests will not be rescheduled. In addition, before commencing flight training, students must:

  • Obtain a Class I Medical Certificate (Class II will be considered if Class I held in the last 3 years). The CASA medical must not have any restrictions that would impede the student’s ability to complete the program
  • Obtain an Aviation Reference Number from CASA
  • Comply with the requirements of the Drug and Alcohol Management Program 
  • Before enrolling in Advanced Flying, students must hold an Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC)

Further details about these requirements are below.

What will they ask me about in the interview?
The interview will assess the skills and qualities considered important for professional practice, including:

  • Professional behaviour
  • Personal motivation and commitment
  • Your ability to communicate clearly and take direction
  • Workload management and organisational skills
  • Compatibility and understanding of the program and the aviation profession

How do I prepare for the interview?
You are encouraged to prepare for the interview by thinking about the criteria listed above but are discouraged from reciting rehearsed responses. "Rehearsed" answers, rather than "natural" responses to the questions asked, can lessen overall performance. Interview content may change from one year to the next.

It is important that you arrive on time, dress and behave as you would for a job interview, so ensure you have noted the date and time of the interview and send a message if you’re unable to be on time.

Those who perform poorly in the interview may not be allowed to proceed to the aptitude test.

General English Language Proficiency: At the interview, you will be asked to provide 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.

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. The aptitude test is to be administered by FTA at the time arranged by UniSA. No external tests will be accepted as proof of aptitude.

Other requirements

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 Examiner (DAME).

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.

You must submit the form to apply for an ARN 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.

Drug and Alcohol Management Program
The University of South Australia’s Aviation Academy is what CASA deems a Safety Sensitive Area and everyone who has access is required to undergo drug and alcohol induction. 

Please note that during your time at the Academy, you will be subject to random drug and alcohol tests by the Academy’s DAMP Supervisors or CASA drug and alcohol testers.

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

All flight students must have an Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC). You must apply for the ASIC card online.


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 study experience and support

Our campuses have fantastic facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops, laboratories, tech zones, and spaces 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 also has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation and private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages, or explore our student accommodation by Scape on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, an ideal 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 services provide you with all the support you need at university. You can access a full range of support services including academic and personal counselling, career advice, social support services, as well as those through our student association, USASA. When you become a UniSA student, you can also contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and more.

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

Your campus

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

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your study spaces

The UniSA Aviation Academy at Parafield Airport is fully equipped for flight training with networked classrooms, 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 program director

I’m an academic in UniSA’s aviation program, I teach courses and conduct research into aviation safety, specifically in standardisation and multiculturalism. My colleagues and I work on projects in aviation safety with airlines and airports, so we maintain a close connection to industry. This really helps us to be certain that the coursework and materials we provide students satisfy the needs of industry and represent academic excellence.

AsPr Paul Lee

Program Director

Portrait image for AsPr Paul Lee
Portrait image for AsPr Paul Lee

AsPr Paul Lee

Program Director


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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

Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot), Graduate Diploma in Aviation
Second Officer | Cathay Pacific Airways

Alexi Currie_2.jpg

Alexi Currie

Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot), Graduate Diploma in Aviation
Second Officer | Cathay Pacific Airways

I think I grew a passion for aviation from a young age, flying to different islands around the Eyre Peninsula with my dad, who had his Private Pilot's Licence. One of my most memorable experiences from my course was definitely my first solo flight. I went up with my instructor and did a few circuits with him, then we landed, he got out of the plane, left it to me, and I took off and did the circuit by myself. It was a surreal feeling being in total control of the plane.

Sam Rogers

Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot), Graduate Diploma in Aviation

Sam Rogers.jpg

Sam Rogers

Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot), Graduate Diploma in Aviation