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University of Johannesburg

Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA)

Johannesburg , South Africa Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

The vision of the UJ is to be “an international University of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future”. The mission can be described as follows: “inspiring its community to transform and serve humanity through innovation and the collaborative pursuit of knowledge”. These are underpinned by four values, namely: imagination, conversation, regeneration and ethical foundation. The six strategic objectives provide a focused means for realising the Vision, Mission and Values of the University as set out above. They further represent a re-working of the original UJ Strategic Thrusts 2020 in the context of a wider positioning of the University as “The Pan-African” Centre for Critical Intellectual Inquiry, with the primary goal of achieving global excellence and stature.

The six strategic objectives are:

  1. Excellence in Research and Innovation
  2. Excellence in Teaching and Learning
  3. An International Profile for Global Excellence and Stature (GES)
  4. An Enriching Student-Friendly Learning and Living Experience
  5. National and Global Reputation Management
  6. Fitness for Global Excellence and Stature (GES)

Recognised as the country’s second strongest brand, UJ offers world-class, internationally recognised academic programmes based on curricula informed by cutting-edge developments in both undergraduate and postgraduate education, and that are designed to prepare students for the world of work and for global citizenship. Our curriculum is increasingly reflective of previously marginalised scholarship that talks to a transformation and decolonisation agenda, with Africa at its core.

International Role

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) embraces internationalisation as an important strategic focus.

The Division for Internationalisation is responsible for driving the Internationalisation strategy of the University of Johannesburg, we achieve these goals as follows:

Our International Admissions and Student Welfare section provides assistance with the following:

  • Advising prospective students about programmes offered at UJ and all legal requirements
  • Providing assistance and guidance on the application process
  • Assisting with compliance related issues which include Study Visa and Medical aid requirements
  • Clearing admitted international students for registration
  • Providing liaison services for international students and faculties
  • Liaising with all South African Missions (Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates, Trade Missions) and the South African Department of Home Affairs
  • Social integration through orientation and student activities
  • Student Welfare services

Hosting of international delegations with a view to formalize mutually beneficial partnership agreements which include but are not limited to:

  • Student and Staff mobility
  • Development and running of Winter and Summer School programmes
  • Faculty led Short learning Programmes
  • Joint Research
  • Joint/Co-badged Degrees
  • Joint Institutes/Centres of Excellence
  • Joint proposals for project funding (Erasmus Mundus, NRF) and so forth.
  • Provides opportunities for student and staff mobility via our Study Abroad Office
  • Active International Student Recruitment globally, which is aligned with our Internationalisation policy.
  • Arranging and hosting of international events of stature to further elevate UJ’s global reputation.
  • Marketing and advertising UJ on various international platforms (both digital and print)

In keeping with this strategic focus, the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) maintains active relationships with a number of international universities and other institutions. We have memoranda of understanding with, amongst others, the Museum of Fine Art Boston; Boston Arts; Foundation Verle Rooms, Antwerp, Belgium; Michigan State University; and Goldsmiths, University of London. Members of FADA staff are represented on a number of international boards and committees, including the International Committee of Art History (CIHA); the College Art Association (CAA); and the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA). The Faculty regularly hosts researchers, academics and keynote speakers from institutions as far afield as the United States, the Netherlands, Uganda, Belgium, Scotland, Israel, Sweden and France, while our academics regularly participate in conferences throughout the world. International students comprise approximately 5% of the FADA student body.

National Role

The Faculty engages with the partner institutions and associations on various levels that specifically focus on our immediate region, Johannesburg in greater extent and on national platforms. These take the form of student projects, discussion group, research projects, staff interventions and collaborative ventures.


Main Focus

Offering comprehensive set of programmes in Art, Design and Architecture ranging from diploma programmes to doctoral degrees

Faculties and Departments

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. UJ has transformed into a diverse, inclusive, transformational and collegial institution, with a student population of over 50 000, of which more than 3000 are international students from 80 countries. This makes UJ one of the largest contact universities in South Africa (SA) from the 26 public universities that make up the higher education system.

University of Johannesburg (UJ) offers a comprehensive range of academic and occupation-specific programmes across seven faculties and a college. These are the

  • Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture
  • Faculty of Economic and Financial Science
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
  • Faculty of Health Sciences Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculty of Law
  • College of Business and Economics
  • Johannesburg Business School.

The Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture comprises nine academic departments, offering a mix of degree and diploma programmes in the following disciplines:

  • Department of Architecture
  • Graduate School or Architecture
  • Department of Fashion Design
  • Department of Graphic Design
  • Department of Industrial Design
  • Department Interior Design
  • Department of Jewellery Design and Manufacture
  • Department of Multimedia
  • Department of Visual Art

The Faculty is also home to UJ Arts and Culture, which comprises the UJ Arts Centre, the UJ Art Gallery, and Arts and Culture offices on the Auckland Park, Bunting Road and Soweto campuses. The Faculty is located in a dedicated building with customised studios, computer laboratories and workshops, all well equipped to suit the specific needs of disciplines and departments. The FADA art gallery, library, auditorium, lecture halls and Design Café are all located within the faculty building, providing students and staff with conveniently-situated facilities. 2021 saw FADA FabLab open its doors in January and attract overwhelming attention from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Bachelor Level Programs

Department of Architecture

  • Diploma in Architecture
  • Advanced Diploma in Architecture
  • BArch

Graduate School of Architecture

  • BArch Honours

Department of Fashion Design

  • Diploma in Fashion Production
  • Advanced Diploma in Art and Design
  • BA Fashion Design
  • BA Honours Design (Fashion)

Department of Graphic Design

  • BA Communication Design
  • BA Honours Design (Communication Design)

Department of Industrial Design

  • BA Industrial Design
  • BA Honours Industrial Design

Department Interior Design

  • BA Interior Design
  • BA Honours Interior Design

Department of Jewellery Design and Manufacture

  • Diploma in Jewellery Design and Manufacture
  • Advanced Diploma in Art and Design

Department of Multimedia

  • BA Multimedia Design
  • BA Honours Design (Multimedia Design)

Department of Visual Art

  • BA Visual Art
  • BA Honours Visual Art
  • BA Honours Art Therapy



Master Level Programs

Graduate School of Architecture

  • MArch
  • Masters in Architecture (Design, Theory, Practice)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture

Department of Fashion Design

  • MA Design (Fashion Design)

Department of Graphic Design

  • MA Design (Communication Design)

Department of Industrial Design

  • MA Industrial Design

Department Interior Design

  • MA Design (Interior Design)

Department of Multimedia

  • MA Design (Multimedia Design)

Department of Visual Art

  • MA Visual Art
  • MA Art Therapy

Research Activity and Main Areas

There are several research activities in FADA.

1. DESIS Lab

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) DESIS Lab is an inter-disciplinary design laboratory committed to promoting positive social innovation and emerging sustainable ways of living. Since its acceptance into the global DESIS family in 2014, the UJ DESIS Lab has sought to promote these values through a number of practical, research and educational initiatives. 2021, signals the spiritual relaunch of the UJ DESIS Lab with a new name (formally, we were called the ‘Design Society Development DSD – DESIS LAB) and a new website (with more content to be added soon!) As a DESIS Lab, our work is premised on the following four principles

  1. SOCIAL INNOVATION Social innovation is a process of change emerging from the creative re-combination of existing assets (social capital, historical heritage traditional craftsmanship, accessible advanced technology) and aiming at achieving socially recognised goals in new ways. As such social innovation is driven by social demands rather than by the market and/or autonomous techno-scientific research and generated in partnership with communities.
  2. EMERGING SUSTAINABLE WAYS OF LIVING Initiatives propose viable solutions to and/or raise awareness of the numerous highly complex problems currently facing humanity. These issues align strongly with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. (e.g., social cohesion, urban regeneration, healthy food accessibility, water and sustainable energy management).
  3. DESIGN FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION While we recognise that many of these complex problems operate at a scale that requires broad and focused interventions, involving multiple stakeholders and, as such ,often extending beyond the domain of Design, at the Joburg Desis lab we believe design can play a critical role in projection and prototyping alternative sustainable and meaningful ways of being in the world to the ones presented as inevitable by late-capitalism.
  4. DESIGN SCHOOLS AS AGENTS OF CHANGE Located in FADA, the UJ DESIS Lab believes tertiary design education institutions have the potential to act as design laboratories where new visions for our human and planetary futures can be generated, where new tools and methods can be defined and tested, and new collaborations initiated and nurtured.

2. VIAD – The Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre

The Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre (VIAD) is housed within the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA). VIAD supports an international community of Visiting Professors, Research Associates, Affiliated Researchers and Postdoctoral Fellows, whose diverse research projects promote critical thinking (and feeling) around two core thematic currents in relation to visual practice, representation and culture, art and design practices.

3. SARChi – SA Art & Visual Culture

Prof Brenda Schmahmann is the SARChI Research Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture. Hosted by the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture and integrated with the work of the faculty, this prestigious position is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and administered by the National Research Foundation (NRF). The SARChI Research Chair serves as a forum for initiatives in research by not only Prof Schmahmann but also postdoctoral fellows, postgraduate students and others working with her.

Doctorate Level Programs

The Faculty offers a Doctoral in Art and Design (PhD Art and Design) and Doctoral in Art History (PhD Art History)

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

The Division for Internationalisation, in collaboration with different academic departments, provides support for students wishing to study abroad. Information of possible study areas in Art, Design and Architecture can be sought from the Senior Faculty Officer or Department in the Faculty.

Application Deadlines

All programmes offered at FADA are year long programmes. Our academic year starts in February and ends in November and comprises of 2 semesters. Semester 1, consisting of 14 weeks, is from February to June. Semester 2, consisting of 14 weeks, is from July until November. Applications for any undergraduate or postgraduate programme opens at the start of April and closes at the end of September, with International applications closing at the end of August.

Teaching Languages


Semester Dates

Semester 1:

Term 1: 7 weeks (approximately mid February – end March)

Short Autumn recess

Term 2: 7 weeks (approximately mid April to start of June)

Winter recess

Semester 2:

Term 3: 7 weeks (approximately mid July to beginning of September)

Short Spring recess

Term 4: 7 weeks (approximately mid September to beginning November)

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

If an exchange agreement exists between the two Universities, the tuition fees are waived. Iinformation is available in the University of Johannesburg Study Abroad weblink https://www.uj.ac.za/about/internationalisation/study-abroad/inbound/


Bachelor: 885
Master: 289
Doctorate: 29

Exchange Students

Incoming: 3
Outgoing: 10
Others: 1

Teaching Staff

Professors: 11
Lectures: 44
Part-time Teachers: 327

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