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. We offer two postgraduate pathways the Postgraduate Certificate in Youth and Community Leadership (PGCertYACL) and the 
Postgraduate Diploma in Youth and Community Leadership (PGDipYACL).

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.

While vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory for enrolment and completion of a Youth and Community Leadership qualification, many opportunities in the community sector include working with vulnerable populations.

We strongly encourage full vaccination to protect yourself, the vulnerable youth and communities we work with and to allow you to access the full range of options available to you during and after your study.

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 part-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.

The degree doesn't have any majors, but there are four identified study pathways. The youth work and development pathway can lead to a professional youth work accreditation.

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 Schedule E: Elective courses. See ‘How do I plan my degree?’ for an example degree structure diagram and a full list of courses.

Download the full regulations for BYCL.

 

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:

The Postgraduate Certificate in Youth and Community Leadership PGCertYACL is a part time qualification made up two compulsory courses. All courses in the programme are studied by distance so that you can complete your Certificate from your own location.

You will develop your own personal leadership identity, gain key action skills, and learn about improving issues faced by youth and community organisations. You will have the opportunity to reflect on and engage with youth and/or community work and leadership in local and global contexts.

You will study part-time for 1 year, beginning in February and have the option to later move into our Postgraduate Diploma Youth and Community Leadership programme.

The two courses in the Certificate include collaborative learning, practical applications, and virtual site visits from local iwi and charitable organisations.

Postgraduate Diploma in Youth and Community Leadership (PGDipYACL) is one of the only postgraduate programmes of its kind in Aotearoa that creates responsive leaders to youth, community, and global needs.

You will develop your leadership skills on top of your previous studies, and also supports current leaders to develop key management and entrepreneurial skills to take back into their communities and organisations. You will have the opportunity to reflect on and engage with youth and/or community work and leadership in local and global contexts.

You can study this pathway full-time for 1 year, or part-time for up to 2 years, and can be started in either February or July. Depending on your course selection you can complete your Diploma completely by distance at your own location, or a blend of distance and on-campus study. (Please note that some courses might only be offered online or face-to-face.)

You can customise your Diploma by selecting courses to an area of your choosing, so you can work towards a career path that interests you. The Diploma is made up of a total of 120 points, including two compulsory courses and a selection of optional courses.

Compulsory courses:

Plus choose at least 30 points from the following options:

The remaining 30 points can be chosen from the list above, or from any postgraduate courses at UC.

BYCL Pathways

BYCL offers flexibility to align your passions and design your own pathway. The degree doesn't have majors, however there are four identified study pathways. You can also customise a programme of study from range of course options.

Youth work and development

This study pathway leads to professional youth work roles.

Humanitarian pathway

Find out more about humanitarianism and how to plan this pathway.

Hear from our students

What is it like to be a BYCL student?

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

Sam Andrist

'Take every opportunity that comes up. UC is world renowned for its communtiy responsiveness...'

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Youth and Community Leadership