Frequently Asked Questions


Can I apply for multiple career streams through the AGGP process?

Yes, you can apply for speciality career stream(s) through the AGGP process and the Graduate Program.

For the Graduate Program, can I apply for multiple career streams?

As part of the application process, you can select a preference for your career stream. Please note that if you choose a specialist pathway as your preference as part of the Graduate application process, you may be considered for the generalist pathway as well.

How many applications do you get?

On average the department receives over 1500 applications per graduate intake.

Can I apply in my final year of studies?

Yes, if you have successfully completed your degree or higher by the commencement of the Program in February. If successful, you will be required to provide the official transcript of your academic results as evidence you have completed your degree.

If you are applying through the AGGP streams, just check the eligibility criteria for each of these streams.

What if I graduated some time ago?

Our Graduate Program recruits people who have completed their Bachelor degree within the past five years. Our past cohorts have been made up of a broad demographic of graduates; some who join us have just finished their degree while others join us after having spent some time in the workforce. Our recruitment is merit based and does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, or ethnicity or having a disability.

I missed out last year, should I apply again?

Yes! If you meet the eligibility criteria you can reapply. Candidates who remain interested in working with in the department, particularly those who are completing their studies or undertaking relevant work experience, should consider applying again in the future.

How are Applications Assessed?

Applications are assessed using the APS Work Level Standards - APS Level 3. Make sure to review these to gain an understanding of the work requirements and qualities we are looking for.

What APS classification will I start at?

Graduates in the Graduate Program you will start at the APS3 level and may advance to the APS5 position upon successful completion of the Program. It is a condition of graduates’ employment that they meet all the requirements of the Program to advance to the higher classification. These will be outlined in your letter of offer.

Graduates in the Digital Graduate program (ICT graduates) are engaged at the APS4 level on commencement. Graduates engaged in the ICT program do not advance on completion.

Refer to Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Enterprise Agreement 2016-19 and Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Section 24(1) Determination for more information.

Will I be a permanent employee?

Graduates are engaged as ongoing (permanent) employees within the APS, subject to a probationary period of six months (which applies to all new starters).

Can I do the graduate program from a State Office?

Most of our graduate positions are based in Canberra. There may be a small number of positions that are State based. State placements would be allocated on a case-by-case basis including business and operational requirements, appropriate skillset, and office support infrastructure.

If the position is based in Canberra, you will need to relocate to Canberra to participate in the graduate program.

If successful, when would I be expected to commence?

Our Graduate Program is expected to commence in February each year.

Will I receive help with relocation?

Yes. If successful and you reside interstate, will the department provide relocation assistance to support your move to Canberra. Relocation assistance is intended to assist with relocation costs, but it is important to note it may not cover all the costs of your relocation. We do not provide assistance for international relocations, but if you return to Australia from overseas, we will provide assistance from your nominated state or territory to Canberra.

Where will I be working?

Most graduate positions are based in Canberra and staff work from several offices located in the CBD.

State offices are typically located in the CBD of the corresponding location

What security requirements must I meet?

All graduates must undertake a full security clearance at the Baseline level prior to commencement.

How are placements determined?

As a graduate, you will have the opportunity to undertake your two placements in different areas of the department. Placements are determined by business and operational requirements. Regardless of where you are placed, you will gain broad exposure to the range of the department's work.

The intent of the graduate program is to utilise the ten months to learn about working in the APS, undertake on the job learning, through two different placements, complete the formal learning and development and once you successfully complete the program, launch your career as you settle into a career direction.

Can I undertake further study while undertaking the graduate program?

The focus in the graduate year is learning on the job, getting used to working in the APS and successfully completing all the requirements of the graduate program, including the formal learning and development requirements. Any applications for assistance to undertake further study under the department’s Studies Assistance Guidelines should generally be deferred until after completion of the Program.

After successful completion of the graduate program, you may be eligible to apply for Study Assistance if you wish to undertake further study.

What type of work will I be doing as a graduate?

We work on many aspects of the government's agenda. Our work is delivered increasingly through a project-based model. As a graduate in the Graduate Program, you will have the opportunity to undertake your two placements in different areas of the department.

Our graduates have exposure and work on a wide range of work including working on a variety of programs and policies developed and implemented by the department. Some of the things you may be doing include contributing to policy and evaluation documents, developing, and maintaining stakeholder relationships, and liaising with stakeholders, research, and analysis, program, and contract management. Stream graduates will undertake work specifically related to their stream.

Placements are based on the business and operational requirements of the department. Placements are across all areas of the department.

Does the demand for STEM disciplines disadvantage humanities or more generalist disciplines?

Our work is broad and requires people with all types of qualifications.

Our graduate program looks for candidates with a range of qualifications from a range of universities. We value diversity and different ways of thinking. If you’re not sure about the relevance of your qualifications to the work of the department, simply apply or contact the team at

The department has consistently featured in the Top 100 Graduate Employer rankings over the past few years. This achievement highlights our active commitment to supporting talented graduates, helping them to expand their skills and experience, and reach their full potential.

DEWR – 2024 Graduate Program – Find your great at DEWR
Australia Top 100 Graduate Employers
Top 100 Finalist 2021 Financial Review
2021 AGRIAS Winner
Australian Network on Disability
Diversity Council Australia
Pride in diversity