BSc Architecture

The Department of Architecture presents an undergraduate programme in architecture that explores the design of meaningful environments across varying scales, from intimate interior spaces to more significant interventions in landscapes. Specialised programmes in architecture, interior architecture and landscape architecture are introduced at the postgraduate level.

Our vision is to provide a learning environment that fosters critical and independent thinking, encourages ecosystemic accountability and inspires responsive and responsible problem-solving that contributes to the improvement of society and its environment. We engage with spatial design with academic rigour that is theoretically grounded and technologically informed, and our academic programmes are locally and internationally accredited.

What does the programme entail?

The curriculum for the BSc (Architecture) programme integrates knowledge from the humanities and the natural sciences to develop students’ spatial design skills, and aims to instil a culture of lifelong learning in graduates. Students attend classes in the following subject streams:

Design and Applied Theory

Architecture students attain half of the credits for every year of study in the significant module of design, which is presented in tandem with architectural theory to equip students with a pertinent vocabulary and theoretical underpinning. Design is a studio-based module in which projects over a range of scales and complexities are undertaken to encourage students to develop critical and independent design thinking, the ability to evaluate design within a social, cultural and ecological framework, and to explore imaginative and appropriate solutions. In the studio, design discernment is fostered through ongoing discussion, peer learning, and formal and informal assessment. The Department promotes design that is generative rather than stylistically or iconically driven, and students are encouraged to appreciate the universal (global) while engaging with the particular (local).

Community and Practice

Students participate in collaborative community projects that are directed by our research and initiatives in urban citizenship, as well as the Faculty’s community engagement module. In the third year of study, the focus turns to the management of a professional practice and the legal context of construction contract law.


The study of construction theory, materials and methods is presented as an extension of design to enable the designer to give tangible expression to built form and realisation to an architectural concept.

Design Communication

Design communication offers students the opportunity to develop skills in harnessing especially the digital tools that are essential to designers in the twenty-first century. It deals with visual communication, digital visualisation and representation, and the management of document and building information.

Earth Studies

Earth studies introduces students to ecosystemic accountability and systems thinking in order to guide them towards designing for well-being in the built environment from social, cultural and environmental points of view. It includes ecological themes that extend to approaches that underpin and inform inclusive, ecological, passive and responsive design.

History of the Environment

History of the environment prepares students to define their role in society and find meaning in history through the study of the self and the cultures of others. It investigates the context and meaning of cultural artefacts, including space and place, to relate form and order to the environmental, political and philosophical conditions that influenced their making. It culminates in a reading of southern Africa in the third year of study.

Will only be considered as first study choice
Selection programme: Selection includes an interview.

Practical requirement

At least one year of work or travel recommended.

Applicants who matriculated in 2008 or thereafter
The following minimum requirements for admission apply: A National Senior Certificate with access to degree studies and a minimum Admission Point Score (APS) of 27; a minimum achievement level of 4 (at least 50%) for Mathematics and Physical Sciences; a minimum achievement level of 5 (at least 60%) for English (as home language or first additional language) and an achievement level of at least 4 (minimum 50%) for Life Orientation, although this subject is not used in the calculation of the APS. The APS is calculated using two language subjects, Mathematics, Physical Sciences and any two other subjects excluding Life Orientation.
Students currently enrolled for other programmes may apply for permission to transfer to the Department of Architecture. For these applicants, round 1 of the selection process will be based on their final NSC or equivalent qualification results (refer to requirements for admission), their academic record and a detailed written motivation explaining reasons for wanting to transfer.
Students who are currently registered at UP should submit their applications directly to the Admissions Officer, School for the Built Environment. Students who are registered at other tertiary institutions must apply through the Student Service Centre. Note the closing date. Applicants will not be permitted to register for any modules in advance (prior to having been granted final admission).
Important dates
The academic year of the University of Pretoria starts in March 2021 and ends early in December. It is divided into two semesters (or four quarter modules) with short recesses in April, July and September. In order to gain practical experience students are advised to work at a practice during the University recesses. The University calendar is available online at
1 March: Applications for admission open for the next academic year. Applications should be submitted electronically.
31 July: Last day to submit all undergraduate applications for admission to the Department of Architecture for the following academic year. This closing date also applies to all transfer applications.
July/August/September: Departmental selection tests are written on scheduled Saturdays. Dates are automatically allocated and cannot be rescheduled.
October recess: Final selection interviews for applicants on the shortlist.
31 October: Selection results are available. Applicants are notified of the outcome in writing.
30 November: Last day for selected students to acknowledge their selection and pay deposits or make arrangements for payment.
  • Disclaimer: This publication contains information about regulations and programmes of the University of Pretoria. Amendments to or updating of the information may be effected from time to time without prior notification. The accuracy, correctness or validity of the information contained here is therefore not guaranteed by the University at any given time and is always subject to verification. The user is kindly requested to verify the correctness of the information with the University at all times. Failure to do so will not give rise to any claim or action of any nature against the University by any party whatsoever.

Career Opportunities

The BSc (Architecture) degree programme enables graduates to register with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) as candidate architectural technologists. The qualification is the first step to future registration as a candidate senior architectural technologist or a candidate architect.

Programme Code


Closing Dates

  • SA – 31/07/2021
  • Non-SA – 31/07/2021

Admission Requirements

Important information for all prospective students for 2022

  • The admission requirements apply to students who apply for admission to the University of Pretoria with a National Senior Certificate (NSC) and Independent Examination Board (IEB) qualifications.
  • Applicants with qualifications other than the abovementioned should refer to:
    • Brochure: Undergraduate Programme Information 2022: Qualifications other than the NSC and IEB, available at click here.
  • Citizens from countries other than South Africa (applicants who are not South African citizens) should also refer to:
  • School of Tomorrow (SOT), Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) and General Education Development Test (GED): The University of Pretoria no longer accepts qualifications awarded by these institutions.
  • National Certificate (Vocational) (NCV) Level 4: The University of Pretoria may consider NCV candidates, provided they meet the exemption for bachelor’s status criteria and the programme requirements.

Transferring students

A transferring student is a student who, at the time of application for a degree programme at the University of Pretoria (UP) –

  • is a registered student at another tertiary institution, or was previously registered at another tertiary institution and did not complete the programme enrolled for at that institution, and is not currently enrolled at a tertiary institution, or has completed studies at another tertiary institution, but is not currently enrolled at a tertiary institution, or has started with tertiary studies at UP, then moved to another tertiary institution and wants to be readmitted at UP.

A transferring student will be considered for admission based on

  • an NSC or equivalent qualification with exemption to bachelor’s or diploma studies (whichever is applicable); and meeting the minimum faculty-specific subject requirements at NSC or tertiary level; or having completed a higher certificate at a tertiary institution with faculty-specific subjects/modules passed (equal to or more than 50%), as well as complying with faculty rules on admission;
  • previous academic performance (must have passed all modules registered for up to the closing date of application ) or as per faculty regulation/promotion requirements;
  • a certificate of good conduct.

Note: Students who have been dismissed at the previous institution due to poor academic performance, will not be considered for admission to UP.

Returning students

A returning student is a student who, at the time of application for a degree programme –

  • is a registered student at UP, and wants to transfer to another degree at UP, or was previously registered at UP and did not complete the programme enrolled for, and did not enrol at another tertiary institution in the meantime (including students who applied for leave of absence), or has completed studies at UP, but is not currently enrolled or was not enrolled at another tertiary institution after graduation.

A returning student will be considered for admission based on

  • an NSC or equivalent qualification with exemption to bachelor’s or diploma studies (whichever is applicable); and meeting the minimum faculty-specific subject requirements at NSC or tertiary level; or previous academic performance (should have a cumulative weighted average of at least 50% for the programme enrolled for);
  • having applied for and was granted leave of absence.

Note: Students who have been excluded/dismissed from a faculty due to poor academic performance may be considered for admission to another programme at UP.  The Admissions Committee may consider such students if they were not dismissed more than twice. Only ONE transfer between UP faculties will be allowed, and a maximum of two (2) transfers within a faculty.

Important faculty-specific information on undergraduate programmes for 2022

  • This is a selection programme. BSc (Architecture) will only be considered as first study choice. The closing date indicates the closure of the application process for this programme. 
  • The following persons will be considered for admission: Candidates who have a certificate that is deemed by the University to be equivalent to the required National Senior Certificate (NSC) with university endorsement; candidates who are graduates from another tertiary institution or have been granted the status of a graduate of such an institution, and candidates who are graduates of another faculty at the University of Pretoria.
  • Life Orientation is excluded when calculating the APS.
  • Grade 11 results are used for the conditional admission of prospective students.
  • A valid qualification with admission to degree studies is required.
  • Minimum subject and achievement requirements, as set out below, are required.
  • All modules will be presented in English, as English is the language of tuition, communication and correspondence.

University of Pretoria website: click here

Minimum requirements

Achievement level

English Home Language or English First Additional Language


Physical Sciences









Selection Process

A limited number of students are admitted to the Department annually.

Selection Criteria

Selection for admission to the undergraduate programme of the Department of Architecture is based on four rounds of elimination.

Round 1: Academic merit

Assessment for Round 1 is based on academic performance so as to determine if an applicant’s results meet the minimum requirements for admission.

Round 2: Homework assignments

The outcomes of Rounds 2 and 3 are assessed according to the following scoring guide:

  1. No answer
  2. Does not meet minimum expectation
  3. Meets minimum expectation
  4. Exceeds minimum expectation
  5. Far exceeds minimum expectation

The homework assignments are completed by applicants with resources and in their own time in preparation for the selection test in Round 3. The critical outcomes assessed in this round are:

  • Language and reasoning skills: to articulate informed responses to questions in written form.
  • Visual communication skills: to interpret, manipulate and represent spaces and processes graphically and three-dimensionally .
  • Research and representation skills: to analyse, assess and represent precedents and principles from the built environment.
  • Job-shadowing and motivation: to investigate the nature of architectural practice through job-shadowing and to critically reflect on this experience and its impact on the applicant’s motivation to pursue architectural studies.

Round 3: Selection tests

The selection test is taken without resources and in limited time. The critical outcomes assessed in this round are:

  • Language and reasoning skills to articulate informed responses to questions in written form without resources and in limited time.
  • Curiosity and general awareness: to have an enquiring attitude towards current affairs and the world around us.
  • Independent thinking: to formulate in situ responses to questions in written and drawing form.
  • Creative and problem-solving thinking aptitude: to creatively improvise and articulate appropriate responses in written and drawing form.
  • Spatial and visualisation abilities: to articulate ideas, instructions and interpretations with three-dimensional understanding.
  • Time management and efficiency: to complete the tests within the allocated time.

Round 4: Interviews

The Departmental Selection Committee interviews applicants shortlisted for Round 4 as a panel. The interviews act as a summative assessment where applicants are given the opportunity to reflect on their previous submissions in discursive format. Each member of the committee awards a final score of which the average is used to rank applicants.

Duration of study

3 years, full-time.

Faculty Notes

The Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology at the University of Pretoria is a leading source of graduates in the engineering, built environment and information technology professions. We achieve this by a focus on research to drive innovative and enquiry-led teaching for educating and positioning our students to be leaders in their professions. The Faculty has extensive and cutting-edge teaching, learning and laboratory facilities integrated with the excellent suite of facilities and services offered by the University. We facilitate access to our qualifications through our extended programmes but expect our students to excel and develop as future professionals through our programme offering. We invite you to consider enrolling in one of our programmes if you share our vision of excellence and want to position yourself as a leader in the professions that we support.

The Faculty is organised in four schools: the School of Engineering, the School for the Built Environment, the School of Information Technology and the Graduate School of Technology Management. The School of Engineering is the largest of its kind in the country in terms of student numbers, graduates and research contributions and offers programmes in all the major engineering disciplines with many specialisations also offered at undergraduate and graduate level. 

The University of Pretoria aims to be internationally competitive while also locally relevant.  Advisory boards at both faculty and departmental level promote alignment and excellence in our teaching and research activities. Where applicable and available our programmes are accredited by statutory and professional bodies at both national and international level.

Enquiries about the programme

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