MArch / MArch in Design, Theory and Practice


Program Description


The phasing out of our Master of Technology Professional Program (MTech Prof) will begin in 2019. It will be replaced by the Master of Architecture Programme (MArch Prof) which is envisaged to be offered in 2020 pending CHE approval and accreditation.

The two-year professional program leads to Candidate Architect status, as defined by SACAP, and provides students with a solid intellectual and professional understanding of the history, theory, technologies, and design practices of architecture. It introduces students to advanced critical perspectives on contemporary architectural issues and examines the complex and shifting relationship between architecture and cultural, political, social, and economic changes.

The course is taught along the Unit System curriculum lines, with a number of design-research ‘Units’ or studios offered at the start of each academic year, to which students apply. All teaching is done through the students’ individual Units, and a high degree of synthesis is encouraged between the four modules that make up the MArch (Prof) Program: History & Theory Dissertation, Design Realisation Portfolio, and Professional Practice. There is an emphasis on work being conducted at a graduate level, with the expectation that students will, through reading and research, define their own particular area of study in relation to the wide range of frameworks set by the Unit tutors. The course stresses innovation and continually highlights the value of propositions, their social impact, and professional requirements. Design is thus always conducted within a broad and rigorous intellectual framework provided by the Unit tutors, the culture of the school, and the external expectations placed upon it.

MArch (Design, Theory, and Practice)

This is a brand-new program which we will be offering for the first time in 2020, aimed at students who either already have a professional qualification in architecture (MArch or Master’s equivalent) or for students holding a  BArchHons or PGDip in Architecture, wishing to undertake advanced architectural study in traditional research format (which could include a minor design component depending on the topic chosen). The research-based, one year (or two years part-time) program, is open to students who seek an opportunity to develop their own research in a topic of their interest – as long as the topic aligns with the supervising capacity of the GSA faculty.  Throughout the academic year, students will be involved in a number of activities, namely seminars and colloquia, all leading to the production of their final dissertation.

The purpose of the MArch (Design, Theory, and Practice) program is to offer a Master's program open to candidates seeking to undertake advanced architectural (or in related disciplines) architectural design, theory, and practice study, leading to a more traditional academic career or a Ph.D. It is particularly aimed at delivering diverse, yet highly focused strands of theoretical research.

Having obtained this qualification, students will be able to demonstrate competence in the specified exit level outcomes; conduct independent research at a high theoretical and/or design-research based level.

staircase, snail, lighthouse

Outcomes of the program

A qualifying student is able to:

  1. Apply specialist knowledge of architectural design, theory, or practice.
  2. Demonstrate command of architectural design, theory, or practice and research methods and procedures to address complex problems.
  3. Access, process and manage the architectural design, theory, or practice information effectively.
  4. Produce architectural design, theory, or practice information for, and communicate it to, a range of audiences.
  5. Manage the independent architectural design, theory, or practice learning and act accountably.

Admission requirements 

The following minimum admission requirements must be met:

A Bachelor of Architecture Honors (BArchHons) degree, or Bachelor of Architectural Studies Honors (BASHons) degree, or an equivalent qualification at an equivalent standard, as recommended by a Status Committee and approved by the Faculty Board and who meet the selection criteria described below. Students with existing Master's level degrees in design- or related discipline may also apply.

Selection criteria

Given resource and space restrictions and the importance of selecting students who have a realistic chance of success in meeting the outcomes of the program, the selection is based on academic merit, as approved by the GSA Admissions Committee. To this end:

a) Applications and/ or Portfolios are assessed by a panel of assessor(s) appointed by the GSA Admissions Committee;

b) Applicants might be asked to attend an interview.


This master's program is offered on a full-time or part-time basis.

  • Minimum number of months for registration: 12 months.
  • Maximum number of months for registration: 36 months.

Contact details:

Name: Mrs. Adele Maritz
Tel: 011 559 1126 / Email:

Last updated May 2020

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