School of Built Environment & Development Studies


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Architecture is a fully accredited SACAP professional degree. The design of buildings and their context in the built environment, as well as understanding the needs of the users who will occupy these buildings is taught in a studio environment. A strong History and Theory of Architecture component contextualises the development of architecture through the ages while Building Science and Theory of Structures teaches the realities of design from a scientific perspective. The architecture programme is supported by excellent studio facilities, the Barrie Biermann Architecture Library, Media Centre, computer LAN and Workshop.

Community Development

Community Development is a multi-disciplinary research and teaching programme which focuses on the broad areas of social development and socio-economic reconstruction. The Programme’s research initiatives address key social, economic and political concerns – social justice, inequality and poverty, uneven or inadequate economic growth, maldistribution of resources and institutional failures.

Development Studies

Development Studies addresses key economic, political and social concerns - inequality and poverty, uneven or inadequate economic growth, maldistribution of resources and institutional failures by critically examining the role and efficacy of state policies, and interventions by other social actors, in addressing these problems. The field of Development Studies focuses especially, but not exclusively, on these concerns as they apply to developing countries.


Housing is more than mere shelter. It transcends the physical structure and exists within a context defined by services and facilities which link individuals and families to the community, the city and regions. The Housing Programme provides a wide range of modules that aim at equipping students with economical, social, technological and policy issues that impinge on various housing production systems and how they impact on the delivery of housing. It is also supported by extensive independent research into various facets of housing by academic staff. The Programme is unique - being the only one which offers an undergraduate degree programme in Housing in the country at the moment.


Planning means the scientific, aesthetic and orderly disposition of land, resources, facilities and services with a view to securing the physical, economic and social efficiency, health and well-being of urban and rural communities. Responsible planning has always been vital to the sustainability of safe, healthy and secure urban environments. Issues that are dealt with include conversion of land from natural habitats to urban built areas, maintenance and use of natural resources and habitats, development of transportation related infrastructure and environmental protection.

Population Studies

Population Studies is a broad social science discipline concerned with the study of human population in relation to the factors associated with changes in their size, composition and distribution. The programme consists of a broad range of modules aimed at equipping students with an understanding of population processes, demographic analysis and policy formulation. In addition, students are introduced to independent research on a wide range of population topics. The courses offered, amongst others, include introduction to population studies, demographic methods, population & development, reproductive & sexual health, HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, population & health, fertility & nuptiality, migration & urbanisation and poverty & policy and research methods.