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Bachelor of Leadership for Change


Anywhere in New Zealand, with the expectation that you will attend an intensive each year in either the North or South Island  

Three years full-time (shorter timeframes may be possible depending on your level of previous experience)

Blended learning, customised facilitation and group online webinars 

February and July
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • CapableNZ
    1 January 2021
  • CapableNZ
    1 February 2021
  • CapableNZ
    19 July 2021
  • CapableNZ
    1 January 2021
  • CapableNZ
    1 January 2021

Decide what matters. Build your degree around it.

Bachelor of Leadership for Change is not a standard degree: it's self-directed and action centred. It lets you channel your passion, your drive and your purpose, so you can make a difference where it matters. 

The degree isn't prescriptive. You make it what you want it to be. Leadership for Change guides and supports you to identify a problem, figure out the solution and turn the solution into action. 

You decide what matters.

If you’re already making change and contributing to something important, this degree will crank it up. You'll become a strong, self-aware and capable leader. You'll know who you are, what you want, where you're going and how you'll get there. 

If you want to make a difference in the community, environment, society or the world, study the Bachelor of Leadership for Change. It is a self-directed, project-based degree for people who know there’s a better way to do things and who have the desire and drive to make change happen. 

Sound like you? 

How a self-directed degree works

There’s a lot of freedom in this programme, so you need to be motivated and independent. But you won’t be on your own - our team will help you identify your goal, create your action plan and put your plan into practice.

There are general learning outcomes in the Leadership for Change:

  • You’ll build your own learning toolkit, professional networks and understanding of the problem you want to solve. You’ll develop a personal and professional practice framework to guide everything you do.
  • You’ll work with businesses and organisations in the field where you want to make a difference, or you could start your own business or organisation. 
  • You’ll hone your transferable skills: leadership, communication, self-awareness, planning, time-management, fund sourcing, bi-cultural awareness, and collaboration. 
  • You’ll test and strengthen your personal qualities: self-motivation, drive, perseverance, creativity, innovation, resilience, determination, passion and vision. 

And there are specific learning outcomes that you negotiate with us when you develop your learning toolkit. 

Maybe you want to study some IT or business courses, learn some design skills or combine the Leadership for Change with another study programme, such as Sustainability or Engineering. This programme is what you make it, but we’ll help you figure it out.

How this programme is structured

All learners begin with:

  • Review of Learning: this is where you reflect on what you have learned to date to inform your future. 
  • Development Plan: co-design a plan of learning with our facilitators.  
Year one 

You'll complete the above courses and then move on to:

  • Curated Experience: identify and have experiences to enable learning. 
  • Collaborative Project: learn how to deliver better outcomes with others. 
  • Emergent Professional Framework: articulate the ways you work in your context to deliver best results. 
Year two 

You can start directly in the second year with approximately five years' of experience. 

  • Negotiated Learning 1: identify capabilities and competencies you need to complete your change work and measure their change. 
  • Leadership for Change 2: a research project into the context of change you wish to lead. 
  • Collaborative Project: experience delivering better outcomes with others. 
  • Engagement: design a leadership engagement in your change context.  
  • Negotiated Learning 2: identify gaps in your capabilities before stepping into a major project in Year Three. 
  • Emergent Professional Framework: articulate the ways you work in your context to deliver best results. Redefine success. 
Year three 

You can start directly in the third year with sufficient leadership for change experience and reflective capability. 

  • Leadership for Change Project: lead the design, implementation and evaluation of a transformation change project in a chosen context.
How this programme is assessed

Everything you do in Year one and two builds to your Year three final project. At the end of Year three, you’ll present your project and your practice framework. By the time you finish this programme, you’ll know who you are, what your job is, what your goal is and how you will reach it.

Your assessments could include: 

  • Presentations 
  • Reports 
  • Videos 
  • Portfolios 
  • iamcapable 
Our facilitators 

Your learning will be guided by facilitators from Otago Polytechnic's Capable NZ. The Bachelor of Leadership for Change is a degree based on Capable NZ's highly successful Independent Learning Pathway. To date, more than 1,200 people have learned and graduated with degrees and postgraduate qualifications using this framework. 

Our facilitators are experts in helping you identify and reach your own goals. 

Entry requirements

Academic entry requirements

  • If you are under 20, you must have NCEA Level 3 including: 
  • If you are over 20, you must supply evidence of industry experience and/or alternative relevant qualifications.   

*Due to Covid-19 disruption, if you studied and achieved NCEA Level 3 during 2020 you only need 12 credits per Level 3 subject (i.e. a total of 36 credits). 

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Other requirements 

All learners will also need to undertake an interview to demonstrate:

  • clarity in why, how and where you intend on making a difference 
  • evidence of capability to manage your own learning/learn independently/seek learning opportunities that foster interests and aspirations
  • willingness to, or experience of, making a difference (e.g. have previous experience of service to others such as volunteering)
  • ability to work collaboratively.  
COVID-19 vaccination information
  • As this programme is delivered through distance learning and is based in your workplace, you do not need to provide us with a My Vaccine Pass. Please ensure you follow your workplace vaccination guidelines. 
  • You will need to provide us with a valid My Vaccine Pass if you want to visit an Otago Polytechnic site for any reason while you are studying with us (e.g. meetings, events, presentations) or attend graduation in person at the end of this programme.
  • You do not need to provide a valid My Vaccine Pass if you are attending on campus health services (e.g. student health, Kowhai Centre).
  • In exceptional circumstances, exemptions may be granted to this. You can find out more about this in our vaccination policy. If you think you have grounds to be exempt from our vaccination requirements, please email    

You can find more information about our vaccination requirements here. And, if you still have further questions, please visit our FAQs page which you can find here.

Placement costs 

This qualification is strongly project-based. You will undertake projects within your first, second and third year. These may well be within the local area or within another part of New Zealand. You will be responsible for your own travel, accommodation and living costs during these projects which may span a number of weeks. A big part of making a difference is the ability to seek out and secure funding so we'll make sure this relationship building is covered during your programme.

Student loans and allowances 

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students who have lived in New Zealand for three years. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

For more information 

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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