Bachelor of Architecture


Program Description

Architectural professionals are involved in shaping the built environment. Their efforts are evident everywhere, from the simple construction of a low-cost housing project to the sophisticated erection of skyscrapers. Architectural professionals are employed in the design, technological resolution, and management of construction projects.

The Department of Architecture offers the Bachelor of Architecture, which has unconditional validation from the Architectural Profession (SACAP) and the Commonwealth Association for Architecture (CAA).

Career Opportunities

The architectural profession offers a wide range of specializations, from management to technology and design. Graduates will be able to register with the following professional bodies or institutes:

  • South African Council for the Architectural Profession
  • South African Institute for Architectural Technologists
  • Some provincial Institutes of the SA Institute of Architects.

Admission Requirements for the Bachelor of Architecture

  • Senior Certificate or equivalent qualification with a minimum APS or M-score (as below) and degree admission.
  • Attendance of an entrance assessment and submission of a prescribed portfolio once the application form has been processed.
  • Completion of both National Benchmarking Tests (NBT): Academic and Quantitative Literacy

(AQL) and Mathematics.

Recommended school subjects include Art, Technical Drawing and/or Physical Science.

Average Point Score (APS)

A minimum APS of 30 is required to apply for the programme. Mathematical Literacy is not accepted for this programme. The Life Orientation score is divided by two when calculating the total APS.

  • Min APS
    • 28 With Mathematics
    • Maths Lit Not accepted
  • Languages
    • Language of teaching and learning *
      5 (60 – 69%)
    • Other recognized language**
      4 (50 – 59%)
  • Mathematics
    5 (60– 69%)
  • Other requirements
    Psychometric test and submission of a specified portfolio

*English, Home Language or English First Additional Language

**Home Language or English First Additional Language


This scoring system is used if the applicant completed school prior to 2008 or A/O levels. At least six subjects, of which at least three (including Mathematics) must be on the Higher Grade or an equivalent qualification at an equivalent standard, as determined by a Status Committee, and a minimum M-score of 14; at least a D symbol for English First Language, Higher Grade; or a C symbol for English Second Language, Higher Grade; or a B symbol for English, Standard Grade, and at least a D symbol for Mathematics, Higher Grade.

Compulsory subject: Mathematics: HG (D); English: as above.

Symbols - A B C D E
Points Higher Grade 5 4 3 2 1
Points Standard Grade 4 3 2 1 0

Applicants meeting the minimum entrance requirements (APS or M-score) for the Bachelors in Architecture will be invited to attend an entrance assessment and to submit a prescribed portfolio

Selection Criteria

Selection is based on an entrance assessment and the submission of a prescribed portfolio, as described overleaf.

The entrance assessment will be conducted by the University of Johannesburg Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD). Invited applicants must make a booking to attend one of the following selection assessments (4.5 hours) starting at 09:00:

  • Saturday 17 September
  • Saturday 1 October
  • Monday 3 October
  • Monday 17 October
  • Monday 24 October
  • Saturday 29 October
  • Monday 31 October

Cost: R330
Venue: Auckland Park Kingsway Campus (Cnr Kingsway & University Road)
Bookings: Tahir/Phumzile +27 (0)11 559 3106 or email

Portfolio Requirements

  • A portfolio is a collection of the applicant's work, held in the protective covering, such as cardboard or rigid plastic sheets. Covers must not be larger than 594mm X 420mm (A2).
  • The applicant's reference number (on your invitation letter), telephone number and the wording "DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE" must appear on the cover in neat block letters.
  • The portfolio cover is part of the portfolio and should be designed as a reflection of the applicant and their work.

The portfolio must contain the following:

  1. A single A4 sheet (preferably typed) providing:
    • A summary of the applicant's most recent school results and other studies
    • A brief outline of the applicant's work experience and the results of any aptitude testing
    • A certified declaration that the portfolio is the applicant's own work
  2. A certified copy of the applicant's most recent school results and other studies
  3. A one-page essay (preferably typed) explaining why the applicant would like to study architecture
  4. A letter from a firm of architects confirming that the applicant has spent a full day in their office and has discussed a career in architecture with one of the senior members of the firm.

Project 1: Drawing

  • Make a pencil drawing of the entrance to a favorite public building. Use A2 paper (594mm x 420mm). Do this drawing as accurately and as neatly as possible.
  • This drawing must be done free-hand. A ruler, compass or any other technical drawing instrument may not be used, nor may the drawing be traced from a photograph. You may add color and or any form of rendering. It is preferable that you draw a building that you have visited before.
  • In your own handwriting and words, describe the entrance that you have drawn and why this particular entrance appeals to you. This essay should clearly describe the building; its entrance in totality, including but not limited to, the spaces on either side of the entrance door. Where possible, indicate which architect and/or engineer designed the building. This essay should not exceed 2 pages.

Project 2: Mapping exercise

  • Without text, visually communicate a journey from your home to a favorite local destination. Any medium is acceptable.
  • Use one sheet of A2 paper.

All drawings must be done free-hand only. A map on its own will not suffice.

Project 3: Creative ability

  • Include any five other pieces of work as evidence of your creative ability. This could include photographs, essays, poetry, paintings, dance, sculpture, pottery, handicraft, etc. In the case of items such as pottery, sculpture or activities such as dance, include a clear photograph – do not include the original item.
  • You should preferably include a diverse array, not just photographs or paintings, etc.

Project 4: Three-dimensional thinking

  • Design and make cardboard packaging that can securely hold a set of three table tennis ("ping-pong") balls. Your design must be such that it can be made from a single piece of cardboard that can be cut to shape, folded and glued together.
  • The packaging must be "flatly packed" (cut out but not folded and glued together) and included in your portfolio in its flat (unfolded form). On a separate A2 sheet of paper, provide graphic instructions on how to assemble the packaging.

Please Note

  • The size of the portfolio may NOT exceed A2 (594 x 420mm).
  • The drawings may NOT be rolled up or put into cylindrical containers.
  • Each item of your work must be clearly marked with your name.

While we take every care not to damage items, we cannot be held responsible in any way for the loss or damage to the whole or part of your work.

We look for the following in the work:

  • Potential and resourcefulness: Note that candidates with little experience in art or design are admitted where their work provides evidence of good observation, three-dimensional awareness and careful consideration of the presentation of the portfolio, with good, hand-drawn lettering, careful paper selection and careful organization of the pages.
  • Motivation: This can be seen in the way in which you present your work as a whole, the degree of effort and time invested in your portfolio as well as your written motivation.
  • Initiative: What often separates successful applicants from others is the ability to explore or record something for themselves, working because they are interested – not because they have to. This means that sketch explorations are as useful as finished works. Although supplementary work from school art or other institutions or courses is often received, evidence of this independent initiative does not necessarily lie there.
  • Creative ability: This is an important factor. However, note that expertise in technical drawing, painting, watercolors, etc. is not all that is looked at. A sense of design or composition, an ability to observe, communicate clearly, represent accurately and a sense of scale that allows for an imaginative approach to subject matter and attention to detail are all looked for in the work.
  • Academic potential: Strong portfolios often show work that is motivated by original ideas, thoroughness, initiative, faultless grammar and spelling, vocabulary, research, etc.

Details of portfolio evaluation are available on

Portfolio Deadline

Portfolios must be submitted within two weeks of the applicant's attending the selection testing but no later than 30 October 2016. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of the assessment in an official letter. Portfolios must be collected by 29 January 2017.

The portfolio must be sent via courier or delivered to the Departmental Secretary, Department of Architecture, FADA Building, Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus, University of Johannesburg, Cottesloe, Johannesburg. Contact telephone number 011 559 1115.

Contact Details

Department of Architecture
Faculty of Art, Design, and Architecture (FADA)
University of Johannesburg
Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus

FADA Information Centre
011 559 1115/1098 I or

Registration and Start Dates

Registration starts in January and lectures in February for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate course work programmes.

All research programmes for Masters and PhD can register throughout the year.

End Date: Academic starts in January and ends in December. Programme deadline is determined by the duration of the programme.

Last updated Sep 2019

About the School

Vibrant, multicultural and dynamic, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) shares the pace and energy of cosmopolitan Johannesburg, the city whose name it carries. Proudly South African, the university i ... Read More

Vibrant, multicultural and dynamic, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) shares the pace and energy of cosmopolitan Johannesburg, the city whose name it carries. Proudly South African, the university is alive down to its African roots, and well-prepared for its role in actualising the potential that higher education holds for the continent’s development. Read less