A National Diploma in Architectural Technology is a 3-year programme according to legislation.
Have you ever wondered what SAQA, NQF levels, credits are? Has this academic jargon ever given you sleepless nights worrying about how it would assist or carry influence your decision to study? In this article we will try and debunk some of the common terms and correlate how it will relate to the qualification you want to study. From our experience, to earn a reputable qualification you will need the 4C’s: Courage to take up the challenge, Clarity to what you want to study, Commitment to your study path and CAD4ALL as your training partner.
What exactly is a Diploma?
A diploma is a course of study which requires an individual to undergo extensive exposure to theoretical knowledge at a high level of engagement with practical application. During this period of development, an individual becomes proficient in performing tasks and duties in the work environment which are specifically related to their field of study.
How do I obtain a Diploma?
In order to obtain a diploma, one needs to enroll in a course at a recognised Institute of Technology, Technikon or Institute of Higher of Education. It is mandatory that the Institute must be registered with the Department of Higher Education and must be accredited with a relevant body that has reviewed and approved course content.
What is the duration of a Diploma course?
Courses are generally over a 3-year programme which consists of a theoretical campus-based component and a practical work-integrated component. In the programme subjects, called modules, are required to be completed which lead to a specific outcome ensuring competency of a student. These modules are completed through a specified duration which is broken into learning hours.
Learning hours or notional hours compose of contact sessions which can be viewed as lectures, assignments and independent self-study. In the tertiary education sector, learning hours are called credits. Each credit is 10 hours. In effect, a 20-credit course equates to 200 learning hours. This can be further understood as follows:
Total credits x 10 = notional hours
120 credits x 10 = 1200 notional hours
1200 notional hours/28 weeks = ± 40 hours per week = ±8 hours per day
Based on the above, tertiary studying can be likened to a full-time job. Two things can be deduced from here:
- 8 hours a day of study time is realistic and manageable.
- This would equate to a full 40-hour work week which leaves a considerable amount of time for other commitments and recreational activities.
But how long would this take to achieve? The minimum duration for a 120-credit course can then be seen as 12 months, 240 credit courses as 2 years and 360 credits as 3 years. It would not be logically practical nor healthy to go beyond the recommended amount of credits for a specific duration.
Architectural Technology Qualifications
The Diploma in Architectural Technology requires rigorous theoretical application to practical study. This means in conjunction with lectures, assignments and independent self-study, architectural technology students are required to apply their knowledge in the form of projects through studio time. This is the case with all architectural qualifications. Hence the time spent on projects primarily can be found in the studio environment.
The studio environment is an unstructured research, development and application environment which progresses far beyond the prescribed time apportioned to the credits for this course. Due to the nature of this being a process of self-discovery and realization, this amount of time exists out of the scope of the contact sessions.
A National Diploma in Architectural Technology should take at minimum 3 years to complete which would include campus-based and work-integrated learning. The HEQSF state that a National Diploma consists of 360 credits, of which a minimum of 120 credits is required per NQF Level. Each NQF level generally takes approximately 1 year to complete.
Akheel Naicker, Architectural Lecturer
Mario Hugo, ETQA Manager
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- Colleges.co.za. n.d. What Is the Difference Between a Certificate, Diploma, and Degree?
- [ONLINE] Accessed: 27 May 2020. Available at: https://colleges.co.za/what-is-the-difference-between-a-certificate-diploma-and-degree
- UNISA. 2017. Qualifications: credits, modules and NQF levels. [ONLINE] Accessed:27 May 2020, Available at: https://www.unisa.ac.za/sites/corporate/default/Apply-for-admission/Student-fees-and-funding-your-studies/Qualifications:-credits,-modules-and-NQF-levels