IIE BA Honours in Design Leadership

Qualification information
  • COURSE: Honours; Postgraduate Degree
  • MODE: Full-Time
  • DURATION: 1 year
  • NQF LEVEL: 8
  • CREDITS: 120
  • SAQA ID: 118641


The IIE Bachelor of Arts Honours in Design Leadership is where design, creativity and innovation meet. Equipping graduates with the theory and practical knowledge to make a real impact as Creative Directors, Senior Designers, Design Entrepreneurs and Design Leads.

The magic of design lies in collaboration where students engage in a number of creative projects, individually as well as part of interdisciplinary teams. With sound research and high-level conceptual problem solving, graduates develop a portfolio which illustrates solutions which add true economic, environmental and social value. Skills which are essential in this world where design, brand, business and technology collide in the most exciting way. Design Leadership graduates learn to sharpen and expand their thinking to be wholly human-centered. With a deeper knowledge of design research and ability to plan and execute complex design solutions, the degree lays a strong foundation for further Master’s studies.

Transforming ideas into solutions which make a genuine difference in peoples’ lives - this is design. Creating and implementing sustainable, desirable and effective solutions. The scope of design careers has widened significantly and graduates with skills to think, question and create to better the human experience are in great demand. The paradigm shift in the role of design has rendered the need for designers with advanced knowledge and skills in the areas of foresight, problem-finding abilities and evidence-based approaches. The IIE currently offers a range of Bachelor degrees in a variety of design disciplines. This BA Honours in Design Leadership provides students with a postgraduate qualification relevant to their design disciplines and opens up a pathway for further postgraduate studies.


  • Design Leadership
  • Design Strategy and Management
  • Solution Design
  • Collaborative Design
  • Design Research

Design Leadership and Design Strategy and Management
These two modules provide the theoretical and applied knowledge that frame the complex interrelationships between design, brand and business, and the processes and skills needed to make evidence-based strategic decisions. These modules also include the planning and management of own enterprises and design projects.

Solution Design and Collaborative Design
The Solution Design module challenges designers to individually and strategically solve complex design problems of own choice. The focus in the Collaborative Design module is on developing teamwork and collaboration skills and approaches. Both modules contribute to a portfolio that shows creative, conceptual, and strategic skills, as well as broader skills in complex project planning, leadership and adaptability.

Design Research 
This module develops students’ knowledge of design research concepts, principles, and practices for academic research and research aimed at informing design solutions. The module exposes students to design research methods and techniques and introduces students to the development of an academic proposal and research report, whilst integrating design theory and discourse. Emphasis is placed on independent and critical thinking, analysis, research design and methods, written and visual communication of findings. 

At the end of this qualification, you will achieve the following Exit Level Outcomes (ELO):

ELO1: Critically engage with advanced inter-disciplinary theories and discourse in the broad fields of design and design leadership.
ELO2: Plan, develop and evaluate strategic, innovative design solutions for complex design problems that are guided by evidence and ethical considerations in multifaceted and diverse contexts.
ELO3: Conduct research that can inform the design process and outcomes as well as explore problems and complex issues pertaining to the broad discipline of design.
ELO4: Learn independently and in a self-critical manner to develop competencies suitable for life-long development in design and design leadership.

Study further with IIE Pathways
The successful completion of the IIE BA Honours in Design Leadership enables you to progress into an appropriate Master’s qualification, subject to meeting the admission requirements.

This qualification is aimed at students who wish to complete full-time face-to-face studies for the duration of their qualification. This means that students are expected to be available throughout the day for class in the academic year depending on how the timetable is structured. Students may also be required to write assessments or submit coursework or assignments outside of normal class time. Students who would like to pursue part time employment opportunities outside of the academic programme must prioritise their studies and avoid committing to work schedules until after they have received their timetables and academic calendar from the institution. Students must also note that timetables remain subject to change throughout the academic year.

Tuition Fees

First year fee for new registrations starting in 2024
R108 000 Full Settlement Total Fee
R115 800 Instalment Total Fee (10 Monthly Instalments)
A *Pre-Registration Fee of R2 500 is included in the Total Fee
*Refundable if admission criteria for the qualification is not met.

Please note:

  • Applications for the 2024 intake are subject to a non-refundable application fee of R700.
  • You will be required to complete a new contract annually which will include fees for that year.
  • Returning students can consult the bill of costs on the website to obtain their 2024 fees based on their basket of modules.

Entry Requirements

Minimum Admission Requirements:

  • An appropriate Bachelor’s Degree with an average of 60% in the final year; 
  • An appropriate Advanced Diploma with an average of 60% in the final year, provided that a 360 credit Diploma or appropriate equivalent has been completed.

Please note:

  • All candidates are required to submit a Design portfolio.
  • Candidates are normally required to have a minimum final year average of 60% in the qualifications final-year (NQF L7) modules. Those with a final year average of 55 - 59% will be admitted if they attained 60% or higher for the designated cognate/core discipline final-year (NQF L7) modules.

Senate Discretionary Admission:

  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): Candidates who fall outside the above criteria, but who can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of The IIE that they have an appropriate, related qualification or work-based learning, which has taken the candidate to the equivalent of an NQF Level 7 equivalent qualification, may be considered for admission into this programme through an RPL process.
  • Where candidates do not satisfy the formal admission requirements for this qualification, The IIE may consider an admission application in terms of the Credit Accumulation and Transfer, Recognition of Prior Learning and Qualification Completion Policy (IIE010).
  • If applicant does not meet minimum admission requirements and there is no alternative (such as completion of NQP modules) but they have relevant experience, the following must be requested:
  1. Certificates for all formal (Accredited Higher Education qualifications) and/or informal qualifications/modules (SLP’s, Microcredentials etc). SAQA certificates must be provided for any international qualifications.
  2. CV to determine whether the following are related to the qualification that the applicant is applying for:
  1. Formal (Accredited Higher Education qualifications) and/or informal qualifications/modules (SLP’s, Microcredentials etc)
  2. Relevant work experience

Additional Notes:

  • Graduates of The IIE who do not meet the admissions requirements for admission to Honours can enrol for and repeat all or some of their NQF 7 modules in order to improve their marks so that they can meet the entry requirements for Honours. These graduate students will then receive an additional transcript after the completion of the repeat module(s), where the repeat module(s) will appear as a second iteration of the module(s) on the transcript. The marks from the second iteration can then be used for admission to Honours in the subsequent academic year. This option is only available to graduates from The IIE and do not apply to graduates from other Higher Education (HE) institutions.

International Admission:

  • A SAQA NQF L7 Evaluation Certificate in an appropriate field and meeting the additional admission requirements.
Jobs in this field:
  • Senior Designers
  • Creative Directors
  • Art Directors
  • Senior Digital Designers
  • Design Entrepreneurs
  • Design Strategists
  • Design Consultants
  • Design Managers