Architectural Studies

The Bachelor of Architectural Studies with Honours is the first year of a two-year postgraduate programme. It aims to relook at how we share changing spaces as architects and urban designers in the contemporary African city and beyond.


BAS (Hons) is the first year of a two-year postgraduate programme, followed by the MArch, which is the professional degree leading to candidate status as a Professional Architect.

It is an integrated suite of six courses run over two semesters, developing a portfolio of speculative spatial propositions and critical arguments in context, that relate research-based design, history/theory, technical skills and imagination.

The strength of the degree lies in the range of approaches to which students are exposed, with influences and expertise from a large range of architectural practices and academics. These range from the fields of design, research, and experimental practice to conservation, urban design and sustainability.

The course takes account of the current global and local context. We intend to relook at how we share changing spaces as architects and urban designers in the contemporary African city and beyond. We interrogate how modes of communication change teaching and learning, outputs and formats of production. We anticipate the 2023 course to be structured as a form of hybrid learning. This would include face-to-face teaching combined with a series of online lectures, in-studio reviews and studio work, while having full electronic and real-time access to libraries, computer labs and software, and where feasible to 3D digital model-building facilities.

We are looking for students that are problem-solving, rigorous, imaginative, critical, and experimental. Graphic communication skills are crucial as, we work on a fluid spectrum of analog and digital production. 

The BAS Hons is intended as a full-time course of study. Part-time studies may be arranged upon special request, breaking the programme over two years. However, these must be approved in advanced by the degree convenor. If applicable, applicants should clearly indicate this intent in their application.

Career Opportunities

The Bachelor of Architectural Studies with Honours, BAS (Hons), is an honours level exit degree and a prerequisite for admission to the MArch (Professional) degree.


The curriculum is centred around two core design studios, each one linked to another course within the same semester. The first semester studio is linked to a Research Project course, and second semester is linked to a construction course.

Students seeking to study part-time while working are strongly recommended to organize a study plan with their employers, when applicable, setting out realistic time commitments in each year of study.

The full curriculum is given below.

Semester 1

ARPL4000A Advanced Design Studio (45 credits)

This course focuses on an aspect of contemporary architectural and/or urban design.

ARPL4004A Advanced History of Architecture & Urbanism (18 credits)

This course focuses on the interrogation of modern architecture and urbanism, with an emphasis on the developing world, comparisons between local and other international contexts and historical research methods.

ARPL4005A Research Project (36 credits)

In this course, students are required to undertake research in a particular field of architecture, such as history, technology, theory or professional practice, including field, archival and /or laboratory work.

Semester 2

ARPL4001A Design Studio (45 credits)

This course focuses on contemporary design studio in the fields of housing, urban design or architecture.

ARPL4002A Contemporary Architectural Theory (18 credits)

This course focuses on the theoretical readings of and research into architecture drawn from the fields of critical theory, cultural studies, gender studies, urban studies, postcolonial theory etc., and research methods.

ARPL4003A Advanced Theory & Practice of Construction (18 credits)

This course focuses on the design and construction implications of environmental sustainability requirements, renewable resources (solar energy and passive design, daylighting, rainwater harvesting), energy, water, environmental and resource conservation in architecture, confronting construction and design-related issues in the context of limited material, financial and energy resources.

Entry Requirements

    1. Qualifying Degree: Candidates must hold:

    • a Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree; or
    • an Advanced Diploma in Architectural Technology; or
    • an equivalent degree in the discipline of architecture at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 7, as recognized and documented by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

    2. Year Out: All candidates must have acquired some form of practical experience in architecture or a related discipline, ideally accumulated at least 6 months of full-time equivalent, or be able to demonstrate that they will complete their 6th month prior to enrolment in the degree programme. 

    3. Documentation: Candidates must submit with their application:

    • transcripts from all degrees attended (whether completed or not) at NQF exit level 7 or higher; and
    • a portfolio of visual/ design work undertaken during undergraduate studies (with an emphasis on the final year of study); and
    • evidence of the practical experience, in the form of letters from employers and a portfolio demonstrating the output of the experience (with roles clearly noted); and
    • a comprehensive CV; and
    • a statement of purpose, not exceeding 500 words.  

    4. Portfolio Guidelines & Submission Format: The candidate’s portfolio submission must adhere to the following guidelines, and must be uploaded to the submission page by 23:59 on September 15:

    • Two separate PDFs are to be submitted, one containing documentation of design or relevant work undertaken as an undergraduate student, the other containing documentation of practical experience.
    • Each PDF should be formatted at A4 size, maximum 10MB, with a cover page showing the applicant’s name, email address, and Wits person number.
    • Portfolios need not contain all work completed, but rather should be a representative and carefully edited selection. 
    • Portfolios must express the ability of the student to think analytically about their work by means of hand sketches, analytical diagrams, associated research and descriptive texts.
    • Work contained within the portfolio should be in chronological order with headings, associated descriptive texts and a contents page up front.
    • Reference needs to be made of how the work relates to the academic curriculum of the respective academic institution and, in the case of work undertaken in an architectural practice, students should indicate their specific role in the work included.

    5. Academic Performance:

    • All candidates must have obtained an overall weighted average mark of 60% or greater across the full complement of final-year courses in their undergraduate degree programme. For instances in which a course was taken more than once, only the highest mark will be used to determine a weighted average. 
    • All candidates must have obtained a minimum mark of 60% in their final-year architectural design course(s). If a course was repeated at any time, the higher of the marks will be used for this determination.
    • Automatic admission will be granted to applicants who obtained a Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree from University of the Witwatersrand within the last 10 years if all of the following criteria are met:
        • The candidate has met all general admission criteria above, including submission of the portfolios; and
        • The candidate obtained an overall weighted average mark of 65% or greater across the full complement of final-year courses in their undergraduate degree programme; and
        • The candidate obtained a mark of 65% or greater in their final-year architectural design course(s)

    6. Admission Interview: If invited by the School of Architecture & Planning, all applicants must avail themselves for an admission interview within a reasonable time of the request. At the discretion of the School, the interview may be waived for automatic admissions.

    Satisfaction of all the above criteria does not guarantee admission. Because admission to the degree programme is competitive, it is suggested that applicants not meeting the automatic admission apply to a ‘backup school’ in addition to applying to Wits.

    University Application Process

    • Applications are handled centrally by the Student Enrolment Centre (SEnC). Once your application is complete in terms of requested documentation, your application will be referred to the relevant School for assessment. Click here to see an overview of the Wits applications process.
    • Please apply online. Upload your supporting documents at the time of application, or via the Self Service Portal.
    • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal.
    • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.

    Please note that the Entry Requirements are a guide. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.

    International students, please check this section.

    For more information, contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at

    University Fees and Funding

    Click here to see the current average tuition fees. The Fees site also provides information about the payment of fees and closing dates for fees payments. Once you have applied you will be able to access the fees estimator on the student self-service portal.

    For information about postgraduate funding opportunities, including the postgraduate merit award, click here. Please also check your School website for bursary opportunities. NRF bursaries: The National Research Foundation (NRF) offers a wide range of opportunities in terms of bursaries and fellowships to students pursuing postgraduate studies. External bursaries portal: The Bursaries South Africa website provides a comprehensive list of bursaries in South Africa.