Youth Development


Youth Development Master of Science (M.S.)

The Great Plains IDEA Youth Development master’s degree is designed to provide you with research-based skills and knowledge you can use with youth across multiple settings.

The Great Plains IDEA Youth Development Program has its roots in Positive Youth Development. Rather than focusing solely on corrective measures, a Positive Youth Development approach equips young people in the second decade of life with the skills and opportunities necessary for successful transition into adulthood. This approach promotes positive outcomes for all youth by recognizing their strengths, fostering positive relationships, and providing youth with opportunities to learn, lead, connect and serve.

Students in this program will:

  • Understand, integrate, and be able to apply conceptual approaches to youth development
  • Understand normative pathways to development
  • Understand youth and family cultural issues/contexts and their micro- and macro-influences on positive youth outcomes
  • Understand and apply basic research and evaluation skills to youth development programming through an applied project that serves as a capstone experience under the direction of the candidate's home institution
  • Develop skills in problem-solving with "stakeholders" including funding sources, boards, other agencies, families and other professionals
  • Demonstrate understanding of the development and impact of local, regional, state, federal, and global policies on youth and be able to advocate through policy development for optimal youth outcomes
  • Be able to develop and apply resources (e.g., agency budgeting, grant writing and processing, fundraising) for successful implementation and management of youth-serving organizations
  • Understand the history of the youth development area and advocate for the continued professionalization of the field

There are three people who help you with your program. There are two campus coordinators at UNL: Dr. Yan Ruth Xia is the academic coordinator and Lisa King is the campus logistics coordinator. Your campus advisor is the individual faculty member at UNL that gives you advice, monitors your progress, signs your MOC (your list of approved classes), and works with you on the additional 8 hours needed for the program.

Careers

  • Non-Profit Youth Organizations
  • Faith-Based Groups
  • Community Recreation Leaders
  • Juvenile Corrections Professionals
  • Elementary, Middle or High School Educators
  • Extension Educators

Application to this program

Required materials:

Graduate Studies Application
Unofficial Transcripts
Resume
Statement of Professional Goals
Three Letters of Reference
Other Application Materials
START THE APPLICATION PROCESS AT GRADUATE STUDIES

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science degree in Child, Youth and Family Studies with a specialization in Youth Development includes 36 semester hours of course work. Twenty-eight (28) hours come from courses required by Great Plains IDEA program. These courses include nine 3-credit hour courses and a 1-credit hour foundations course. Students in this specialization may choose from one of three options for the other 8 hours to finish their master's program at UNL.

Option I (Thesis) program of study will include:

  • 28 hours of required Youth Development course work
  • 6 hours of Thesis (CYAF 898)
  • Transfer in coursework OR 2 credit hour of special project or internship
  • 36 total hours required

Option II (Minor) program of study will include:

  • 28 hours required Youth Development course work
  • 6+ hours of transfer in course work related to minor/area of specialization
  • 2 hours additional special project (CYAF 996) or Internship (CYAF 897D)
  • 36 total hours required

Option III (Scholarly Practice and Discover) program of study will include:

  • 28 hours required Youth Development course work
  • 1-6 hours special project (CYAF 996)
  • 1-6 hour internship (CYAF 897D)
  • transfer in course work
  • 36 total hours required

Course Requirements:

Additional Course work related to Option:

*These courses are offered for the Youth Development Specialist Certificate. Students wishing to receive a certificate while pursuing their Master's Degree should speak with their advisor.
^These courses are offered for the Youth Program Management & Evaluation Certificate. Students wishing to receive a certificate while pursuing their Master's Degree should speak with their advisor.

It is important that you work closely with your campus advisor to choose an option and get approval for your courses before each semester begins.

Faculty advising students in this program area include: