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BSc in Youth Development Work

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The BSc in Youth Development Work is the first degree programme of its kind in the Commonwealth Caribbean. It was designed by the Undergraduate Programmes Department and the Social Welfare Training Centre (SWTC) of the UWI Open Campus in collaboration with the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) Caribbean Centre to fill a need in Commonwealth Caribbean countries for standardised professional training for youth workers in government service, non-governmental organisations and community groups.  The courses are designed to support student acquisition of a set of regionally agreed Level IV competencies for Youth Work.

The programme’s general objectives are to:

  • Introduce and develop the discipline of Youth Development Work within the Caribbean academy
  • Equip students with the knowledge, attitudes, skills and experiences required for effective youth development work at senior management levels, and 
  • Develop effective and reflective youth development practitioners capable of applying theory to practice when working with youth

The programme will provide specific competencies required for effective youth development work that will enable beginners as well as experienced practitioners to develop and/or refine their skills in Youth Development Work. The graduate of the BSc in Youth Development Work will be competent to operate at the level of a skilled manager or senior supervisor in pursuit of the following main activities:

  • Working directly with youth, individually, in groups and at the community level 
  • Developing and managing projects and programmes as well as human and financial resources, and 
  • Developing, implementing and evaluating policies and plans on behalf of youth to ensure responsiveness to youth needs

Who is this programme for?

The programme is suitable for professional youth workers, including graduates of Diploma or Associate Degree programmes in Youth Work, as well as students with no prior experience who wish to pursue a career in Youth Development Work. The degree is expected to become the standard qualification for youth workers within the public and private sector. Potential students may include:

  1. Graduates of the CYP Diploma interested in further study
  2. Graduates of the Open Campus Diploma in Youth Development Work or those with Diplomas from other regional and international institutions
  3. Experienced and working professionals who do not have a specialised qualification in youth development work
  4. Secondary school graduates pursuing tertiary study for the first time who wish to pursue a career in the field of Youth Development Work

Which careers do graduates pursue?

Graduates are likely to pursue careers in:

  1. Government service
  2. Civil service, including policing and teaching
  3. Community development
  4. Youth camp coordination and management
  5. Youth organisation coordination and management
  6. Youth Policy development and implementation
  7. Project and programme development and planning
  8. Project and programme management and evaluation
  9. Research in youth development
  10. Adviser Youth Development


Programme Structure

The programme design reflects competencies related to both Caribbean imperatives and international demands. The BSc Youth Development Work is designed with a focus on Level IV of the regional competency standards for Youth Development Work. 

The programme is offered in 16 countries across the Commonwealth Caribbean. Using a mix of guided online/web-based instruction, tutorials, seminars and face-to-face discussions as well as fieldwork exercises, it allows participants to interact with youth through professional placement with youth- or youth-serving organisations or via other specially arranged sessions. From the start of the programme, students are exposed to an integrated framework of traditional academic educational tools and professional training tools. The online offering will be designed to be accessible to students from home, office or at UWI centres/sites in each country.

Students will participate in a compulsory orientation to online learning which covers the use of information technology and study techniques (see section on Academic Preparation below). In addition, students may receive face-to-face support from UWI centres/sites, particularly in the first year of study, to ensure a smooth transition for those new to online learning. A virtual academic orientation will be provided for students. Students will be able to meet with other students at UWI centres/sites and/or online for support and to participate in group exercises.

How are course materials accessed?

Course materials will be available to students online for download. Students may, however, be required to obtain reference texts from reserved copies available in the UWI Library and/or University Sites/Centres or by personal purchase. Some courses may require students to purchase essential texts/resources. However, emphasis will be placed on readings from key journals (access provided online via the University or via open source websites) in order to help students keep up to date with research in youth development.

How are students assessed?
Students’ progress towards achievement of competence will be assessed continuously throughout the programme of study. In-course assessment will be the preferred mode of assessment for courses in years two and three rather than traditional final examinations. Individual written and oral assignments as well as performance in group exercises, practical tasks and field placements will be assessed. Students will submit assignments electronically or in oral presentations. The focus on building competence in effective and reflective practice requires that students prepare reflective journals, case studies and research projects which will enable them to critically assess their experiences of learning about and working with youth, youth organisations and other professionals in teams.


When will the programme start?

The programme is offered in August of each Academic Year. Students may complete the degree full time in a minimum of three academic years (over six semesters). Students, however, may pursue the programme part-time according to their capacity to manage their academic and professional responsibilities.


Entry Requirements

New entrants must meet the University’s normal matriculation requirements in order to be accepted into the programme.  They must satisfy the requirements in either (a) or (b) or (c) or (d) below:

(a)     Entrants with CXC-CSEC and GCE qualifications having:

·         An acceptable pass in CXC-CSEC Mathematics or its equivalent; AND

·         An acceptable pass in CXC-CSEC English A; AND

·          One of the following minimum qualifications:

o     either five subjects (at least two GCE ‘A’ Level or CAPE) and the remainder acceptable passes in CXC-CSEC or GCE ‘O’ Level; OR

o     four subjects (at least three GCE ‘A’ Level or CAPE) and the fourth an acceptable pass in the CXC-CSEC or GCE ‘O’ Level

·         Grade requirements for CXC/CSEC subjects are General Proficiency, Grades I or II pre‐1998 and Grades I, II, or III from June 1998.    

(b)     Holders of five (5) CXC-CSEC or GCE ‘O’ Level passes or equivalent, not necessarily obtained at the same sitting.

(c)     Entrants with a Diploma, Certificate or Associate Degree in Youth Development Work from UWI or another approved Caribbean tertiary level institution,having attained a B+ average or a minimum GPA of 2.5.

·         Graduates of the existing CYP or UWI Diploma programmes in Youth Development Work may receive special permission for exemption from degree courses where courses completed in the Diploma are identical or equivalent to Level I degree courses.

·         Graduates of the Associate Degree in Youth Work from the University of Guyana may receive exemption for courses completed, which are identical or equivalent to UWI Level I degree courses. 

(d)     Persons over the age of 21, who have been out of school for at least five years, on the basis of their overall academic and professional attainments.


NOTE:     The same subject cannot be counted at both CXC-CSEC General Proficiency and GCE ‘O’ Level.


English Language Proficiency Examination

The English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) is used to assess whether persons applying to pursue

undergraduate degree programmes at the UWI Open Campus possess a satisfactory level of writing

and reading proficiency in English for university academic purposes. For detailed information on the

ELPT, see English Language Proficiency Test.


Academic Preparation

The following courses do not provide credits for your programme of study but will give you the added benefit of preparing for your academic studies at the UWI Open Campus:

OOL1001     Orientation to Online Learning

IYMS1001    Improving your Math Skills (if applicable)

What are the requirements for the award of the degree?

To qualify for the award of the degree, a student must complete 90 credits as follows:

  • 30 credits from Level I courses, including 9 credits of foundation courses
  • 32 credits from Level II courses at Standard Competency 4
  • 28 credits from Level III courses at Standard Competency 4

To be awarded an undergraduate degree students must achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0

Course of Study
Level 1 
Introduction to Political Institutions and Analysis
Sociology of Youth
Youth Development Work: Introduction to Theory and Practice
Introduction to Psychology: Social, Developmental and Abnormal
Principles of Economics
Introduction to Sociology
Science, Medicine and Technology in Society
English for Academic Purposes
Foundations for Learning Success
Level 2 
Applied Social Research: Youth Research Project (Part 2)
Applied Social Research: Youth Research Project (Part 1)
Developmental Psychology
Youth and Sustainable Development
Youth Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Livelihoods
Health, Safety and Well-Being in Youth Development Work
Management and Leadership Skills for Youth Development Work
Youth Governance and Participation
Contemporary Issues in Youth Development Work
Youth Development Work: Personal and Professional Development
Level 3 
Working with Youth in Community and Organisational Settings (Part 2)
Working with Youth in Community and Organisational Settings (Part 1)
Strategic Planning and Programme Management for Youth Development Work
Peace, Conflict Resolution and Mediation
Supporting Youth in Grief and Trauma
Youth Advocacy: ICTs in Youth Development Work
Youth Advocacy: Principles and Tools
Youth Development Work: Networks, Partnerships and Resources