Graduate Diploma in Flying


  • 1.5 year Graduate Diploma with flight screening beginning each September, followed by flying training and academic study beginning in Term 1.
  • Only $40K upfront fees for flying training – FEE-HELP is available for eligible students up to the HELP loan limit to assist with payment of remaining fees. Note there is no 25% admin fee for postgraduate FEE-HELP
  • Flying training may be taken concurrently with a full BAv (Management) degree – enhancing employability in pilot-manager roles
  • Flying training in metropolitan Sydney, at UNSW’s Flying Operations Unit – modern DA40 and PA44 aeroplanes, advanced multi-crew simulators and dedicated ground and flying instructors. 80% of graduates are employed as pilots
  • For Australian passport holders, the opportunity to become a QANTAS approved student – a fast track to consideration for airline employment
  • Students need to fill out an Internal internal application form by end of June and attend an interview.

UNSW Code: 5536

The official description of the Graduate Diploma in Flying program is available online in the Handbook.

The Graduate Diploma in Flying may be taken concurrently with the Bachelor of Aviation (Management) which has UAC code 429520 and UNSW Code 3981, and which is described officially in the Handbook.

This information sheet is more descriptive, but the official version in the Handbook takes precedence if there is any uncertainty in interpretation.

This program is only available to Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens. FEE-HELP loans are available from the Australian Government only for Australian citizens and New Zealand long-term special residents of Australia.

For students who are unable to afford the up-front flight training fees of the Bachelor of Aviation Flying Degree, UNSW Aviation offers the Graduate Diploma in Flying where eligible students are able to access a FEE-HELP loan up to the combined HELP loan limit ($155,448 for 2021) to fund the flight training fees. The combined HELP loan limit includes all FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Student Loans and any HECS-HELP loans incurred from 1 January 2020. For more information about the HELP loan limit, please visit

The Graduate Diploma in Flying is suitable for students who have completed a Bachelor degree in Aviation Management, engineering, physical science, mathematics, psychology or business. It may be taken concurrently with the UNSW Bachelor of Aviation (Management) program.

The program includes flight training and tests to a minimum of a commercial pilot license. It does not include Instructor Ratings or the Multi Crew Coordination Course.


Program Structure

Flight Screening

Flight Screening is a prerequisite for entry into this program. The Flight Screening course is conducted at the UNSW Flying Operations Unit at Bankstown. It commences in September each year and consists of ground and airborne training and assessment. The ground training is AVIA1111 - Basic Aeronautical Knowledge (BAK), an academic course on campus that commences in Term 3. Students concurrently undertaking the Bachelor of Aviation (Management) program should undertake AVIA1111 (12UoC) as a free elective course. A progress examination is scheduled on the last day of the BAK course and the CASA RPLA exam is scheduled during the exam period. The airborne training is for the issue of a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) and commences in Term 3. RPL training consists of classroom briefings, pre-flight briefings, airborne flying lessons in DA40 aeroplanes and post-flight briefings. The culmination of the airborne training is the RPL flight test. The entry requirements for the Flight Screening course are:

  • Completion of BAv(Mgmt) undergraduate degree at UNSW or equivalent, or any AQF level 7 Bachelor degree in a cognate discipline (Cognate discipline is described above as for the GDF); OR
  • Satisfactory completion of the first year (48 UOC) of the Bachelor of Aviation (Management) or Bachelor of Aviation (Flying) program at UNSW; AND
  • Meet UNSW English Language Requirements; AND
  • Be an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident; AND
  • Pass an interview with Head, School of Aviation or Nominee to ascertain suitability

Applicants should complete the Internal Application Form by end of June. Return it to the School of Aviation, then we will contact you to arrange an interview time. In order to remain enrolled in Flight Screening, students need to successfully obtain an Aviation Reference Number (ARN), hold an Australian Class 1 Aviation Medical Certificate, qualify for an Australian Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC), and pass a CASA English Language proficiency interview conducted by the Head of Operations of the UNSW Flying Operations Unit. These requirements need to be satisfied before any flight training can commence.


Courses required for Graduate Diploma in Flying

After Flight Screening, there are four courses, each of which must be completed successfully and in order to gain the Graduate Diploma in Flying.

  • AVIG5911 Flying Operations 1
  • AVIG5912 Flying Operations 2
  • AVIG5913 Flying Operations 3
  • AVIG5914 Flying Operations 4

For students wishing to study the Graduate Diploma in Flying concurrently with the Bachelor of Aviation (Management) Please refer to the Handbook for details of the program structure.

The flying training undertaken by the Graduate Diploma in Flying is exactly the same syllabus as for the BAv (Flying) program to CPL and CIR ME stages, as it is delivered under the same Operations Manual approved by CASA under CASR Part 141/142.


Financial Arrangements

Fees are charged for Flight Screening and for each of the four AVIG courses listed above.

In 2020, the Flight Screening fee is $40,000. Students will be invoiced directly, and neither FEE-HELP nor any other government loan scheme is available for payment of this fee.

Once enrolled in the GDF, each of the four AVIG courses attracts the fee calculated in accordance with the Tuition Fees: UNSW Science for Domestic Full Fee-Paying table. From the 2021 table, AVIG courses attract a fee of $2,535 per unit of credit (UoC) and each AVIG course is 12 UoC; therefore, the fee in 2021 for each AVIG course is $30,420.

The FEE-HELP loan scheme is available to eligible students to assist with payment of each AVIG course fee up to the FEE-HELP limit. Eligibility requirements, limits and application procedures for FEE-HELP loans apply. The combined HELP loan limit is $155,448 in 2021. This information is available at The increased limit will include any previous HELP loans, except for HECS-HELP loans taken prior to 1st January 2020. For more information, please visit

Summing the Flight Screening fee ($40,000) and the four AVIG courses (4 x $30,420 = $121,680) yields an estimated total course fee of $161,680 for the GDF in 2021. It is estimated because the last AVIG course (i.e. AVIG5914) is undertaken in the following year and the fee schedule is yet to be determined. FEE-HELP loan is available to eligible students.  

The Flight Screening fee is subject to chanage, and UNSW will publish tuition fees for domestic full fee-paying students towards the end of the year. Please refer to the Tuition Fees website for the most up to date information.


Admission Requirements and How to Apply

To gain entry to this program, students must:

  1. Have completed a Bachelor of Aviation (Management) undergraduate degree at UNSW or equivalent, or an AQF level 7 Bachelor Degree in a cognate discipline, or
  2. Have satisfactorily completed the equivalent of 1 year FTE of the Bachelor of Aviation (Management) or Bachelor of Aviation (Flying) program at UNSW or equivalent, and
  3. Have satisfactorily completed Flight Screening conducted at the UNSW Flying Operations Unit (see Program Structure above for more information), and
  4. Hold an Australian Class 1 Aviation Medical Certificate
  5. Hold an Australian Aviation Security Identification Card
  6. Be an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident

If you meet the requirements stated above, please submit an official Admission Application online at Apply Online for this program. (Note: select Postgraduate then type in 5536 for Program Code). Online application fee may be applicable.

Note: A cognate discipline is one commonly used as background in managing flying operations. Cognate disciplines include engineering, physical science, mathematics, psychology or business.



UNSW holds an Air Operators Certificate for flying training issued under CASR Parts 141/142. Safety and quality of training are of first priority. All training is managed by the University’s Head of Operations and in accordance with a precise syllabus approved by CASA. The Professional Pilot Program includes ongoing monitoring of students and instructors proficiency, with student progression being dependent on the attainment of specific achievement levels at the end of each phase.


Assessment (Academic)

This will involve passing flight screening, then successively passing courses AVIG5911, AVIG5912, AVIG5913 and AVIG5914, each of which has assessments for theory as well as flying, and comprising in total 48 Units of Credit of study.


Assessment (Theory Examinations)

The following lists all the written examinations required for licensing to be passed during the Graduate Diploma in Flying.

  • Pre-solo Air Legislation
  • Pre-area solo
  • Recreation Pilot Licence Aeroplane (RPLA)*
  • Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) (Seven Examinations)*
  • Instrument Rating (IREX)*

*CASA Examinations. The remainder are UNSW in-house examinations.


Assessment (Flight Tests)

The following lists all of the flight tests to be passed during the Professional Pilot Program. All flight tests are conducted by a CASA Flight Training Examiner (FTE) or a CASA-Approved Testing Officer (ATO).

  • Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL)
  • Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)
  • Instrument Rating - Multi Engine Aeroplane


Pilot Mentor Program

Flying students are assigned an airline pilot as their mentor in their final year, courtesy of the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA). The objective of this is to provide students with career guidance and consultation about specific airline operations. This provides an opportunity for flying students to gain a competitive edge as they have industry contacts to help them make informed career choices.


Training Facilities

The UNSW Flying Operations Unit is based at Bankstown Airport, and operates Diamond DA40 and Piper PA44 training aeroplanes, fitted with the Garmin G1000 flight display/navigation systems. The FOU also operates a FRASCA flight training device fitted with the Garmin G1000 systems, as well as a Pacific Simulators PS4.5 FTD for Multi-Crew Coordination training and an Aerosim flat panel systems trainer for the DASH-8 Q400.


The QantasLink Partnership

In conjunction with QantasLink, UNSW Graduate Diploma in Flying students having Australian citizenship (or New Zealand residents having Special long term residency in Australia) are able to apply to QantasLink to become a QantasLink Approved Student. Such status provides mentoring and monitoring of students throughout their training at UNSW by QantasLink personnel, and offers an optimum pathway for entry to QantasLink with less than the minimum hours stipulated for Direct Entry as a First Officer. Read more about the QantasLink arrangements.


Internal Program Transfer

For currently enrolled UNSW BAv students, it is possible in first year, subject to satisfactory progress to change from the BAv (Flying) to the BAv (Management) or the BAv (Management) to the BAv (Flying). Options are explained to students during first year briefings.