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Academic Programmes

With the Department of Industrial Design at the University of Johannesburg being in existence for over 50 years, we consider ourselves the best Industrial Design programme in South Africa, if not Africa. Professional design consultancies and manufacturers actively headhunt the Department's graduates for employment, citing our students' exceptional level of design skills, creativity and critical thinking as the main reasons for their pursuit. Across the entire programme, students interact with professional industrial designers and industry in student projects, workplace learning and local design awards, which prepare them for the real world. Our professionally orientated curriculum, with a clear alignment of knowledge and practice, pragmatically ensures students ready for a professional career. Professional Design Practice modules offer opportunities for those wanting to start their own enterprises, which is of great relevance to increasing employment in South Africa.

With over 18 years of postgraduate offerings, our students have also excelled in the practice-based design research our postgraduate programmes offer. Many graduates of our Hons and Masters programmes go on to take their research projects into commercialisation in partnership with the University or become well-respected design academics in their own right.

Our current academic programmes and resultant qualifications are as follows, please click on programme names to download respective brochures:

Years 1-3

Bachelors of Arts Industrial Design (NQF 7)

The undergraduate Bachelors of Arts Industrial Design qualification prepares students to enter the market as skilled product design technicians. The major subjects in the undergraduate programme are practical ones that aim at developing students design skills. These include creative, analytical, and critical thinking; visualisation; freehand drawing and freehand rendering; computer modelling and computer rendering; engineering drawing; oral communication and personal presentation; model making and prototyping. The theory subject's complement and support the practical ones by providing knowledge vital for putting acquired skills to use.

This qualification is aimed at students who wish to enter careers in the Industrial Design sector and who will in time and with experience or further study become professional Industrial Designers. Students who complete this qualification will be able to enter a design career as a Junior Designer. To view some of our current students and alumni's work please visit our Behance and Instagram pages.

Year 4

Industrial - PG Brochure 2021 (NQF 8)

The BA Design Honours (Industrial Design) focuses on developing professional Industrial Designers ready to enter the market as Junior Industrial Designers or to start their own design enterprises. The programme is run to duplicate an industrial design consultancy and concludes with the student focusing on a practical final semester design project of their choosing (the ID Practice 4 module). This design project is documented in a mini-dissertation (for the ID Theory and Research 4 module) and the outcome from the project is commercially considered in terms of a final business plan (for the ID Professional Practice 4 module).

This qualification is aimed at the accomplished design student in order to develop their design competencies further with particular alignment to academic research and market realities. The BA Design Honours (Industrial Design) final project prepares students in terms of an understanding of design research theory and methodologies to enter the MA Design (Industrial Design). To view some of our current students and alumni's work please visit our Behance and Instagram pages.

Years 5-6/7

Master of Arts Design (Industrial Design) or Master of Arts Industrial Design (NQF 9)

Our Master's programmes are offered over two years full-time or three years part-time. The MA Design allows access to a Master's in Design for applicants from cognate disciplines (Engineering, Architecture or other Design fields), whilst the MA Industrial Design requires an applicant to have an undergraduate qualification in Industrial Design. For both programmes, applicants must have their prior qualification at NQF level 8. Both Master's programmes consist of a singular design research project undertaken under the supervision of disciplinary expert/s. The design research study culminates in a final dissertation document, and depending on the study, will most likely also include practice-based research outcomes. This postgraduate programme provides exciting possibilities for developing well-researched and ground-breaking solutions to situated complex design problems.

These qualifications are aimed at the senior student who shows an interest or aptitude in design research. It is an essential qualification for those wanting to follow an academic career path or wishing to specialise on a particular aspect of design research or industrial design. In partnership with the University of Johannesburg Technology Transfer Office, the programme has been structured to support students towards the potential commercialisation of innovative outcomes from their Master's projects. As examples of past work, dissertations from the Department of Industrial Design can be reviewed here on the UJ Repository.

Years 7-9/10

PhD in Art and Design (NQF 10)

The PhD in Art and Design is offered over three years full-time or four years part-time, through the submission of a thesis or by publication. Applicants need to have a Masters qualification (NQF 9). The PhD consists of a singular design research project undertaken under the supervision of disciplinary expert/s to develop new theory for the design discipline. The design research study culminates in a final thesis document, and depending on the study, may also include practice-based research outcomes. This terminal postgraduate programme provides the opportunity for applicants with proven research potential to develop new theory, embedded in our local context and at the forefront of contemporary design discourse.

This qualification is aimed at proficient design academics with a particular interest in furthering their research career.


***In order to apply for any of our programmes please click here.