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

Distance education 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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This graduate certificate is offered by the Department of 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

Application checklist and deadlines

Required by the Office of Graduate Studies

See also: steps to admission.

Required by the department for this certificate

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.

Required for both focuses

  • CYAF 861: Foundations of Youth Development (1 cr, at home university)

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 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 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)

More course information

The Course Catalog in the Graduate Bulletin 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.

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

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.