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.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology is at the heart of technology education and innovation in Africa. An internationally acclaimed institution, it is the only university of technology in the Western Cape and is the largest university in the region with an enrolment of more than 30 000 students.

The university has six faculties offering a wide range of accredited undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the fields of Applied Sciences, Business, Education and Social Sciences, Engineering, Informatics and Design as well as Health and Wellness Sciences.

Cape Town Creative Academy

The Cape Town Creative Academy is an independent, progressive school of art and design that offers transdisciplinary degree programmes shaped by the complex demands of the contemporary information economy. Located in the hub of creative development in Woodstock on the eastern fringe of Cape Town’s city centre, The CTCA is part of a dynamic, creative community that includes some of South Africa’s top design studios, advertising agencies, publishing houses and internationally esteemed galleries and art dealers.

We offer degree courses in

  • Communication Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Motion Design
  • Contemporary Art

CTU Training Solutions

CTU Training Solutions is an award-winning private tertiary education provider developing skilled professionals since 1987. We offer training solutions for full-time and part-time students. Our national qualifications and international vendor-related certifications are updated regularly according to industry standards and pave the road to success for our graduates entering future jobs introduced by the 4th Industrial Revolution.

CTU Training Solutions offers several design-orientated vocational and higher education qualifications. The higher education programmes, Higher Certificate in Graphic Design and Diploma in Visual Communication, are set up to provide ample opportunity for students to develop conceptual ability, artistic sensibility, and technical skills. All practical projects are set up to simulate industry practice ensuring that our graduates are prepared for the...

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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 Department of Visual Arts is part of the School of Visual and Performing Arts in the Faculty of Humanities at Nelson Mandela University. As the oldest art school in South Africa, established in 1882, we have a rich and proud history.

A comprehensive selection of programmes is offered, including a Bachelor of Visual Arts, Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours, a Master of Visual Arts, and a PhD in Visual Arts. All our courses offer a blend of theoretical studies, practical studio-based skills, and entrepreneurial practices.

The following Bachelor of Visual Arts degree majors are available:

  • Ceramics
  • Fashion and Textile Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture

Visual Arts Postgraduate Studies:

Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours

Our Honours programme...

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Oakfields College

Oakfields College offers skills-based qualifications that fall within the Occupational Qualification Framework (OQF). We are registered as a private FET (Further Education and Training) college with the Department of Education and is accredited by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).

Oakfields College has campuses in Pretoria and Edenvale in Gauteng and Somerset West in the Western Cape.   A large part of our success has been built on the fact that our courses are extremely practical and our lecturers are experienced industry professionals. Our classes are small, offering individual attention and the different faculties integrate with each other in order to simulate real life experiences in class.


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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At STADIO, we believe in the future of our nation. We want to make a difference by offering greater access to higher education, so that every South African has the opportunity to become the most empowered version of themselves.

We have brought together four highly prestigious institutions – Southern Business School, Embury Institute for Higher Education, LISOF and Prestige Academy – with a collective experience of over 100 years in providing quality, affordable higher education. And we are proud to offer over 50 accredited qualifications via contact, distance and blended learning, across ten campuses, to over 20 000 students.

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

UJ is a vibrant and cosmopolitan university, anchored in Africa and driven by a powerful strategy focused on attaining global excellence and stature. With an emphasis on independent thinking, sustainable development and multiple partnerships, UJ is an international university of choice. The University is guided by the Vice-Chancellor’s vision of “Positioning UJ in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) within the context of the changing social, political and economic fortunes of Africa.” In the context of FADA, this is framed in terms of ‘Society 4.0’ which recognises the dynamic potential of a multi-disciplinary, creative environment in finding socially responsible, creative solutions to the challenges of our time.

The Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at University of Johannesburg offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, expanding these fields beyond...

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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...

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Villioti Fashion Institute


Villioti Fashion Institute is an accredited tertiary institution that takes pride in making the ordinary extraordinary. Led by Spero Villioti, who has run a successful fashion brand for more than 30 years, we are extraordinary in the details, which is what will set you apart and secure your future in fashion. International affiliations with Parsons New York, FIT (NY) and London College of Fashion enable us to internationally benchmark our courses to ensure international alignment. We also offer students exposure to our vast network within the fashion industry, ensuring that you stay at the forefront of the fast changing world of fashion.


We educate, train and guide young visionaries to grow into fashion industry leaders. We offer students a well- rounded education that covers everything from business and entrepreneurial theory to fashion...

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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. Our next conference is a hybrid event. See above for details.

Critical skills endorsement

Professional Members in good standing can receive a certificate of membership, but DEFSA cannot provide confirmation or endorsement of skills whatsoever. DEFSA only confirm membership of DEFSA which is a NPO for Design Education in South Africa (