Institutional Members

IMPORTANT: DEFSA is an Association of academic professionals who specialise in the design fields of architecture, 2D and3D design and multimedia. We are a research body that studies how design is taught. We are NOT a design school, and do not offer any courses or training; we do not offer bursaries or study loans. To study design, please click on one of our member institution below, and visit their website.

Durban University of Technology

With approximately 23 000 students, the Durban University of Technology (DUT) is the first choice for higher education in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). It is located in the beautiful cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg (PMB). As a University of Technology, it prioritises the quality of teaching and learning by ensuring its academic staff possess the highest possible qualification that they can get.

DUT, a member of the International Association of Universities, is a multi-campus university of technology at the cutting edge of higher education, technological training and research. The university aspires to be a “preferred university for developing leadership in technology and productive citizenship”, and to “making knowledge useful”.

Greenside Design Center

GDC is an accredited and internationally renowned design institution in Johannesburg, South Africa. GDC specialises in design education, awarding degrees in Graphic Design, Interior Design and Multimedia Design. We graduate leaders in design thinking and design practice, feeding both local and international markets

A successful career in an ever changing world demands that we are innovative and flexible thinkers, that we consistently hone our skills and craft, and that we stand out above the rest.Programmes offered include BA degrees in Graphic Design, Interior Design or Multimedia Design

GDC was the first education institution to become members of the Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media; International Council of Graphic Designers, and International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers. 

Inscape Education Group

Established in  1981 by Harry Edmonds and Cherry Whitehead, Inscape Education Group is still the oldest privately owned multi-disciplinary creative institution in South Africa. Inscape Education Group is also accredited by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) and registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

  • Bachelor of Design Degree, specialising in: Graphic Design, Interior Design, Fashion Design and Idea Generation (NQF: 7)
  • Diploma in Interior Design and Diploma in Graphic Design (NQF 6)
  • Higher Certificate in: Design Techniques, Architectural Technology, Interior Decorating and Fashion Design (NQF 5)

Nelson Mandela University

The school has a long and proud history, and has its roots in the country's oldest art school, the PE Art School founded in 1882. Prospective students can choose from a comprehensive range of programmes, from introductory level certificate courses right up to doctoral studies. In all of the programmes on offer, students receive individual tuition from highly skilled staff who are active practitioners in their fields.


Over the years students from the school have been award winners in a wide range of top national and international music, fine art, design and photography competitions. Our graduates have gone on to make valuable cultural contributions in their fields. The School of Music, Art and Design includes departments in Art & Design;Studio Arts and Applied Design  


Open Window Institute (OWI)

The Open Window (OWI) is an accredited private education institution recognized for setting innovative standards in the visual arts and digital sciences. Founded in 1994 with a focus on providing a unique tertiary platform where practice-led tuition links traditional fine art practice with the applied arts, we place emphasis in ongoing innovation to curricula in consideration of the rapidly evolving creative arts industries.

Open Window Institute, is registered as a Private Higher Education Institution by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Open Window (Pty) Ltd courses are accredited by the Council on Higher
Education (CHE) and registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). Open Window (Pty) Ltd is a SETA provider with provisional accreditation with MICTSETA.

Many of our lecturers, in addition to their academic roles, are...

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Pearson Institute of Higher Education (MGI)

Pearson Institute of Higher Education, previously known as Midrand Graduate Institute (MGI) was established in 1989 as a private university-level, degree-conferring institution – one of the first of its kind in Southern Africa. We offer 16 undergraduate degrees, lecture-based support for UNISA's Bachelor of Laws degree, three honours degrees and one masters degree within six faculties. All courses are externally examined and moderated by well-qualified academics, public higher institutions, and industry practitioners. All our degrees are registered and accredited.

Every student who enrolls for a 1st year MGI degree or Pre-degree Foundation programme receives a tablet PC, including all course material and electronic textbooks, as part of their course fee. The benefits of TEL include: managing and organising learning easily, access to electronic textbooks (ebooks), being able to...

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Red & Yellow

We believe our drive and our energy stand out from the rest. We're taking logic & magic to new heights with our new BA in Visual Communications. Craft your creative career with Graphic Design, Art Direction, Illustration, Digital Design & Photography.

We’re dynamic, constantly growing and very much in tune with the advertising and marketing industry’s needs. We attribute this to our close relationship with the industry, which gives us access to the latest trends and research, and highlights the skills and expertise that will soon be in demand.

We offer Full Time Learning, Online Learning and Bespoke Corporate Training.

Tshwane University of Technology

The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) is truly an institution in service of the Southern African community. It also aims at making a significant contribution to creating sustainable economic growth that will impact on the standard of living of all of the region's people.TUT strives to be a leading institution, viewing the diversity of its staff, students and other stakeholders as a strength to be nurtured in service of the country and the African continent.

The education offered at TUT, with its entrepreneurial focus, opens up unlimited opportunities for students to become job creators and entrepreneurs by stimulating innovation and creative thinking.

University of Johannesburg

The Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at University of Johannesburg offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, expanding these fields beyond their traditional boundaries through internal and external collaborations. It has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education. Equipped with state-of-the art, custom-built facilities, the Faculty is staffed by highly regarded academics, artists and designers.

The Faculty is home to approximately 1 300 students who study and work in the custom-built FADA Building on the Bunting Road Campus. 

Many of our graduates are employed in South Africa or internationally in diverse areas of industry, or work as freelance designers, architects or independent artists. Whatever their...

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Vaal University of Technology

Based in southern Gauteng, Vaal University of Technology draws students from all regions of the country as well as 25 other countries. It is one of the largest universities of technology in South Africa, with an annual enrolment of about 21 000 students. The University is well positioned to make a substantial contribution to the development of human capital in the southern Gauteng region, the country and the continent.

The Visual Arts and Design (VAD) Department comprises four disciplines: Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Photography and Fine Art.

Vega School

Vega is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), SA’s leading provider.  Qualifications ranging from higher certificates to masters degrees in design, brand communication and management are delivered at our four campuses in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban

The following qualifications fall within Vega’s design portfolio:

  • Graphic Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Interior Design
  • Multimedia Design
  • Game Design and Development
  • Copywriting
  • Photography

Vega’s approach to learning focuses on creating an academic environment that is based on experiential learning, and consists of interactive lectures, small lecture groups, the use of technology to enhance the educational space and lecturers who are passionate about their work and industries.

All campuses are equipped...

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DEFSA conferences

DEFSA promotes relevant research with the focus on design + education through its biennial conferences, to promote professionalism, accountability and ethics in the education of young designers

Design Educators of South Africa...

With your support & active membership, the Design Educators Forum of Southern Africa can positively influence the young designer's formative training and promote all facets of design across Africa