Department of Architectural Technology and Design


The Institution NSPA conducted an extensive market survey prior to the designing of the programme where important gap in urban planning and design was identified. The Bachelor Degree with Honour in Architecture programme was designed to fill the gaps identified.

a. Architect: job description:

Architects design new buildings and suggest alterations to existing buildings.
Architects create designs for new projects, alterations and redevelopments. They use their specialist construction knowledge and high level drawing skills to design buildings that are functional, safe, sustainable and aesthetically pleasing.

Architects stay involved throughout the construction process, adapting their plans according to budget constraints, environmental factors or client needs. As such, they operate as part of an overall project team; they work closely with a range of construction professionals from quantity surveyors to building services engineers.

b. Typical work activities of an architect include:

• Creating building designs and highly detailed drawings both by hand and by using specialist computer-aided design (CAD) applications;
• Liaising with construction professionals about the feasibility of potential projects;
• Working around constraining factors such as town planning legislation, environmental impact and project budget;
• Working closely with a team of other professionals such as building service engineers, construction managers, quantity surveyors and architectural technologists;
• Applying for planning permission and advice from governmental new build and legal departments;
• Writing and presenting reports, proposals, applications and contracts;
• Choosing the materials to be used and specifying the requirements for the project;
• Adapting plans according to circumstances and resolving any problems that may arise during construction;
• Making sure the project is running according to schedule and budget;
• Playing a part in project and team management;
• Travelling regularly to building sites, proposed locations and client meetings.

c. Key skills for architects

• Excellent communication skills, both written and oral;
• High levels of creativity, imagination and vision;
• A keen interest in the built environment and the dedication to see projects to their conclusion;
• Willingness to work long hours, under time and budget pressure;
• Excellent design and drafting skills and proficiency with computer-aided design (CAD);
• Strong mathematical skills;
• A keen eye for the detail of specific tasks, combined with an understanding of how such specifics fit in with the project as a whole;
• Organisational, project management and planning skills, including the ability to juggle multiple tasks;
• An analytical mind with excellent problem-solving ability;
• Leadership skills as well as the ability to work well within a team of other professionals.

1.1. AIMS

The Bachelor in Architecture at Nile Source Polytechnic of Applied Arts refers to code 6201 of Unesco Nomenclature. It offers a range of approaches to theoretical, critical, practical and creative work in architectures and design, which are relevant to students’ futures in their artistic and technical works. Students engage with the analysis, theory, develop the practical, technical and conceptual skills involved in the making of actual design products and intellectual or administrative duty and are given the opportunity to initiate, negotiate and deliver practical projects.
The primary mission of the architectures program is to provide a comprehensive education in design, history and theory, technology and practice. The architectures program is dedicated to the education of future architects who are intellectually aware and who critically understand social, political, and global conditions that influence our built environment.
The program of The Bachelor in Architecture aims to make Nile Source Polytechnic of Applied Arts a beacon for practice in architecture in Rwanda by using an integrated approach, with practice informed by theory and theory illuminated by practice. In initiating this program, the Nile Source Polytechnic of Applied Arts has a particular interest in vernacular creativity via design.

Engagement is also a key part of what it aims to do and it’s linked closely with the cultural sector in the town of Butare, in Rwanda and in the region.
Through its programme in architecture, the NSPA has a notable achievement of having introduced new and attractive programme in Rwanda in the field of applied arts. Especially, it is training professionals in that field for a unique B.A in architecture in Rwanda.

1.2. Admission requirements

As architecture education and practice has two important parts: technical and artistic, there are no specific criteria to meet to be admitted into the programme; any interested student who has successfully completed secondary school can be accepted, but the HEC regulations for being admitted in high education institutions have to be respected.
In some case candidates bearing an Advanced Diploma are likely to be admitted in level 3, therefore complete curriculum in two years.

Mid Way Admission

NSPA is providing a Bachelor degree in Architecture (Department of Architectural Technology and Design). According to the National High Education framework the Bachelor degree is taught in four years comprising five levels.
NSPA registers students who hold an “Advanced Diploma in Construction Technology” directly in year 3, level 3, therefore considering they have the skills of a student ending second year in NSPA. This registration in level 3, make them save up to 40% of the courses.
The registrar of NSPA will make sure the candidate hold credits equivalent to two years in NSPA learned in the previous institution.

In their first semester year 3(level 3) at NSPA the students coming from a Technical School will receive an intense course focusing in specific architectural design method and processes, enabling him to fill the gap in term of architecture and later join the students with normal curriculum.
The rest of the courses studied by the students coming from a Technical Schools will focus on specific architecture techniques and issues: the architectural design process, the history and the theory of architecture, the social, cultural, and political issues of architecture.

1.3. Course structure and mode of delivery

The programme comprises 4 years. Each year comprises at least 6 modules to be evenly spread across two semesters on a full-time basis, i.e, 3 modules to be taught in semester 1 and 3 modules for semester 2. The total of credits for every year is 120 credits.

2. PROGRAMME LEARNING OUTCOMES (include modules not bearing credit)

Knowledge and Understanding
At the end of the programme students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
1. Design: The practice of design and the understanding of its theories and methods;
2. Cultural History and Theory: The understanding of cultural and historical forces shaping the built world;

3. Technology and Environment: The understanding of materials and methods, building technologies, and environmental issues and systems critical to the making of architecture;
4. Visual and Digital Media: The use of creative and analytical tools and techniques;
5. Urbanism and Landscape: urbanism and landscape and the organization of natural and human ecologies;
6. The needs and aspirations of building users.

Cognitive/Intellectual skills/Application of Knowledge
At the end of the programme students should be able to:
1. Prepare and present building design projects of diverse scale, complexity, and type in a variety of contexts, using a range of media, and in response to a brief;
2. Develop a conceptual and critical approach to architectural design that integrates and satisfies the aesthetic aspects of a building and the technical requirements of its construction and the needs of the user;
3. Understand the constructional and structural systems, the environmental strategies and the regulatory requirements that apply to the design and construction of a comprehensive design project;
4. Understand the relationship between people and buildings, and between buildings and their environment, and the need to relate buildings and the spaces between them to human needs and scale;
5. Demonstrate critical skills of analysis, interpretation and evaluation in Architecture;
6. Show a capacity to innovate and experiment and to be adaptable, creative and self-reflexive in their work.

Communication/ICT/Numeracy/Analytic Techniques/Practical Skills
At the end of the programme students should be able to:
1. Pay attention to detail and accuracy;
2. Have a good business sense;
3. Have a strong drawing skills;
4. Have an excellent sense of design;
5. Show solid technical abilities;
6. Demonstrate a good problem-solving skills;
7. Demonstrate a good communication skills;
8. Use paintbrush, paintbox/fill with colour, spray can/airbrush, eraser;
9. Use line properties - thickness/colour;
10. Use fillpattern/colours/shading;
11. Understand the purpose/structure of a spreadsheet;
12. Use computer-based technologies to locate, access, evaluate, store and retrieve information.

General transferable skills
At the end of the programme students should be able to:
1. Utilize computer software (specify programs);
2. Demonstrate the capacity of planning, setting and attaining goals, supervising and team-building;
3. Present written material and present material orally;
4. Resolve conflicts;
5. Motivate people and be a team player;
6. Build or construct design buildings, furniture, etc.
7. Manage finances;
8. Speak a foreign language (specify language)


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Award: Bachelor Degree with Honours in Architecture