Youth and Community Leadership

Mātātahi tū, hapori ora
When young people are strong, the community thrives

Changing the world through social action and innovation

Youth and Community Leadership (YACL) meets a growing need for innovative leaders who can make an impact on national and global challenges that youth and other communities are encountering. Our YACL programmes are designed for the future of work. Graduates will be equipped with the transferable skills and disciplinary knowledge to thrive in rapidly changing employment contexts. Our qualifications build on UC’s international reputation in youth-led social action, and offers real-world leadership and project experience by way of theoretical study and applied learning.


The Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership (BYCL) is a degree that allows you to customise a programme of study to drive your commitment to social action. It prepares students to cultivate collective leadership to action change, making this an ideal degree for those wanting to create a better world for future generations. The Certificate in Youth and Community Leadership (CertYCL) is available on campus, or by distance study for students studying from beyond Christchurch and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Our Youth and Community Leadership qualifications build professional leadership and entrepreneurial skills for anyone passionate about issues such as sustainability, human rights, social innovation, and humanitarian efforts. It will develop you as a resilient and agile leader in our changing world, qualified to lead yourself and others toward beneficial social change. You will have flexibility to build a degree that fosters your passion and combines leadership skills with content that is relevant to you. When enrolled in this degree, you can also take a minor in a discipline of your choosing.

UC is the ideal university to offer such an innovative degree. The service learning course, CHCH101: Strengthening Communities through Social Innovation, was introduced in 2011 and was inspired by the international acclaim that our UC Student Volunteer Army received for their dedicated work in the Christchurch community post-quake. The BYCL degree builds on this history. Community engagement is central to the degree with opportunities to create group projects and connect with UC’s community in Ōtautahi Christchurch, including marae visits with local iwi, volunteer efforts with the Student Volunteer Army, and work with the Children’s University. You will be learning alongside and working with leaders of social change. Alternatively, you can begin your journey as a leader for change by enrolling in our Certificate in Youth and Community Leadership that is available on campus or online through our virtual learning environment.

As a Youth and Community Leadership graduate you will be equipped for the world of the future. Some of you will create your own work through developing social enterprises; others will make an impact through working with established organisations in social policy, humanitarian work, community development, youth work, politics, advocacy and activism. Those who choose to focus on youth work can gain recognition from Korowai Tupu, the professional body for youth workers in Aotearoa. Whereas once university might have seemed to have nothing to offer those who want to make a difference in the world, this qualification will prepare you for that journey.

Qualifications

In the Certificate in Youth and Community Leadership students will learn about leadership of the self, and leading with others, through exploration and experience of a wide range of contemporary leadership theories, including those that emanate from the unique culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. They will also will study learning: how and why people learn and what this means for leading change. Their final course will be CHCH101, the heritage service learning course that is at the heart of community engagement.

The Certificate in Youth and Community Leadership (CertYCL) is made up of 60 points of compulsory courses. This programme is an especially good option for working professionals and those already in leadership positions, or students who do not want to commit to the full bachelor’s degree. It can be completed in 12 months full-time, or up to 3 years part-time. Studying by distance is also an available option.

The Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership develops professional leadership and entrepreneurial skills for those passionate about issues such as sustainability, human rights, equality, and humanitarian efforts. BYCL builds on UC’s international reputation in social action, and offers real-world leadership and project experience by way of theoretical study and applied learning. 

Planning your BYCL Pathway

The BYCL degree includes compulsory courses in each year and allows you to customise a programme of study from range of course options from other degrees. We recommend you watch our Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership video and work with our Student Advice team to align your passions and plan your own custom pathway.

Compulsory courses

Year 1

The first year of the degree offers introductory courses on developing leadership skills, understanding communities, identifying areas in need of change, and creating group projects.

Plus one of:

Year 2

The second year explores team leadership and training, potential boundaries for change, cultural and political influences, and further project experience.

Plus one of:

Year 3

Final-year students in the BYCL will develop research and management skills, building on their experiences throughout the degree to create meaningful change in their community.

Optional courses

Throughout the degree, students will need to complete at least 105 points of courses from the lists below.

Choose at least three 100-level courses from:

 

Choose at least two 200-level courses from:

 

Choose at least 30 points at 300-level from:

See ‘How do I plan my degree?’ for an example degree structure diagram.

BYCL has a youth work and development pathway by following a particular course pathway you can gain professional youth work accreditation. See youth work and development to find out more.

We offer a minor in Youth and Community Leadership within the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Sport Coaching. If you wish to do a minor, make sure you select your optional courses to meet the minor requirements. The Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership also combines well in a double degree with Arts or Commerce. 

For the Youth and Community Leadership minor you will need to take the following courses throughout your chosen degree:

Plus 30 points chosen from:

What is it like to be a BYCL student?

Hear from Ella one of our Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership students

Want to know more?

Associate Professor Annelies Kamp and Associate Professor Billy O'Steen talk about BYCL

For more information on

Youth and Community Leadership