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 opportunitiesAll courses are completed online through Great Plains IDEA, a consortium of 20 universities offering courses and programs in the Human Sciences and Agricultural disciplines.
This graduate certificate is offered by the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies.
Application checklist and deadlines
Required by the Office of Graduate Studies
- Application for Graduate Admission for a graduate certificate objective
- $50 non-refundable application processing fee
- One set of transcripts confirming eligibility for graduate-level study, uploaded to MyRED (see transcript upload requirements)
- If your native language is not English: verification of English proficiency
- If you are not a US citizen and you hold an F1 visa: concurrent admission to a degree program, because a certificate alone is not sufficient for F1 status
See also: steps to admission.
Required by the department for this certificate
- Statement of professional goals
- Intent form
- Three letters of recommendation
- Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 550, Internet TOEFL 79, IELTS 6.5
Application deadlineStudents 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
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