Youth Development

Graduate Certificate Program Summary


The graduate certificate in Youth Development is a unique online certificate program that focuses solely on Youth Development. The certificate uses an approach that examines people, places, supports, opportunities and services young people need to be happy, healthy and successful, both in theory and practice. Taught through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance for the Human Sciences (Great Plains IDEA), this is the only alliance of public universities to offer it completely online.

Students may complete the certificate in one of two focus areas: Youth Development Specialist or Youth Program Management and Evaluation.

This certificate is aimed at professionals working with youth, including:

  • 4-H and Boys and Girls Clubs
  • Non-profit youth organizations
  • Faith-based groups
  • Community recreation leaders
  • Juvenile corrections professionals
  • Elementary, middle and high school educators
  • Extension educators

Online and Distance Opportunities

All courses are completed online through Great Plains IDEA, a consortium of 20 universities offering courses and programs in the Human Sciences and Agricultural disciplines.


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Other Ways to Connect

On the Web
Child, Youth, and Family Studies

Graduate Chair
Dr. Yan Xia

Great Plains IDEA Campus Coordinator
Lisa King
135 Mabel Lee Hall
Lincoln NE 68588-0236
Phone: 402-472-7787
Fax: 402-472-9170

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Application checklist and deadlines

1. Required by Graduate Studies

Submit these items as part of the standard steps to admission.

2. Required by the department

Application deadline
Students are encouraged to seek admission to begin in the fall semester. Applications will be considered continuously based on available slots.


The certificate requires 12 hours and a one-hour foundations course for a total of 13 credit hours. Some courses listed here require admission to a Child, Youth and Family Studies graduate degree program or permission.

May be applied to either focus

  • CYAF 878: Youth Policy (3 cr, Michigan State University)
  • CYAF 880: Contemporary Youth Issues (Various topics, 3 cr, UNL, Kansas State University, Texas Tech University, or North Dakota State University)

Required for the Youth Development Specialist focus

  • CYAF 861: Foundations of Youth Development (1 cr, at home university)
  • CYAF 864: Community Youth Development (3 cr, Michigan State University)
  • CYAF 868: Adolescents and Their Families (3 cr, UNL or Kansas State University)
  • CYAF 872: Youth Development (3 cr, UNL or North Dakota State University)
  • CYAF 875: Youth in Cultural Contexts (3 cr, Michigan State University)

Required for the Youth Program Management and Evaluation focus

  • CYAF 861: Foundations of Youth Development (1 cr, at home university)
  • CYAF 873: Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation (3 cr, UNL)
  • CYAF 863: Youth Professionals as Consumers of Research (3 cr, UNL)
  • CYAF 869: Administration and Program Management (3 cr, UNL or Kansas State University)

Cost of attendance

Cost differs from one student to another. For details see Tuition, Fees, and Funding or try our Cost Estimator.

More course information

The Course Catalog provides course descriptions and prerequisites, grouped by subject area.

The Schedule of Classes specifies dates, times, locations, and instructors for courses being offered in current and near-future terms.

This summary page is maintained by Graduate Studies.
For additional details check out the dept./program website: Child, Youth, and Family Studies.

Departments: Have an update for this summary? Contact Stacy Dam.