How Many Years to Study Architecture in South Africa

How many years to study Architecture in South Africa:

Title: Studying Architecture in South Africa: A Guide to the Duration and Structure of the Program

Architecture is an alluring career choice for many, offering an opportunity to blend creativity, technical skill, and a passion for both design and science. In South Africa, the journey to becoming a professional architect involves an intensive educational and training period. This article explores the timeline and structure of architectural studies in the country.

How Many Years to Study Architecture in South Africa

To study Architecture in South Africa will take you a minimum of seven years. This is because the educational path involves three years for a Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree, followed by a two-year Master of Architecture (Professional) degree. After these academic qualifications, there’s a requirement for a two-year practical experience known as the candidacy stage under the guidance of a professional architect. The path culminates with a Professional Practice Examination by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP). Thus, the timeline is based on a combination of academic study, practical training, and a final professional examination.

Undergraduate Degree

The path to becoming an architect in South Africa starts with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) or equivalent degree. This undergraduate program generally takes three years to complete. It introduces students to the fundamental aspects of architecture, including design, visual communication, technology, theory, and the socio-cultural aspects of architecture.

Postgraduate Degree

Upon successful completion of the BAS degree, students may proceed to the next level of education, a two-year Master’s degree program, commonly referred to as Master of Architecture (Professional). This advanced degree dives into greater detail on architectural principles and focuses on professional practice preparation. It includes training in management, contracts, and ethical and legal aspects of the profession.

Practical Training

After completing their academic qualifications, aspiring architects in South Africa must gain practical experience under the guidance of a professional architect. This period, known as a candidacy stage, usually lasts for two years. During this time, candidates get hands-on exposure to the architectural practice’s real-world aspects, including design, project management, and dealing with clients.

Professional Practice Exam

Following the completion of the candidacy stage, candidates must sit for a Professional Practice Examination administered by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP). Passing this exam is the final step towards registration as a professional architect in South Africa.


Here’s a basic timeline that outlines the stages and approximate duration of each step involved in becoming an architect in South Africa:

  1. Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS): 3 years
    • Start: Year 0
    • End: Year 3
  2. Master of Architecture (Professional): 2 years
    • Start: Year 3
    • End: Year 5
  3. Practical Training (Candidacy Stage): 2 years
    • Start: Year 5
    • End: Year 7
  4. Professional Practice Exam:
    • Preparation and Examination: Usually within the 7th year

Remember, this is a general guide and individual timelines may vary depending on various factors such as the length of the internship, the pace of academic study, and when the candidate sits for the professional practice exam.


So, how many years does it take to study architecture in South Africa? The total duration from the start of the undergraduate program to the successful completion of the Professional Practice Exam typically adds up to a minimum of seven years—three years for the undergraduate degree, two years for the postgraduate degree, and another two years of practical training. However, this duration can vary depending on factors such as the pace of study, the length of the practical training, and the scheduling of the professional exam.

Becoming an architect is indeed a commitment that requires dedication, perseverance, and a passion for design and the built environment. Yet, for those with the drive and aspiration, the rewards of a career in architecture—both in terms of personal satisfaction and professional opportunities—can far outweigh the years of hard work.

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