Child, Youth & Family Studies: Specialization in Youth Development
M.S., Certificate Degree: Masters Degree: Certificate Program Type: Online Interest: Youth Development

We are one of the few youth development graduate programs that exist, and the only one to be offered 100% online that is part of an alliance of public universities with the Great Plains IDEA program.

We utilize a strengths-based curriculum that helps support youth to make them socially, emotionally and cognitively competent adults. Professionals who understand the strengths-based approach are in demand especially since an estimated 17,000 organizations currently serve more than 30 million young people.

Master’s degree or graduate certificate?

Professionals with a master’s degree can demand a higher wage than those holding a graduate certificate.

The graduate certificate can be used for continuing education credits, to advance your career or to supplement a master’s degree in another field.

The master’s degree and certificate prepare you to:

  • Develop policies with a positive effect
  • Apply basic research and evaluation skills
  • Understand normative pathways to development
  • Work with agencies, boards, families, and other professionals
  • Gain the necessary skills for budgeting, grant writing, and fund-raising
  • Examine the impact of local, state, federal, and global policies on youth
  • Identify how youth and family cultural issues affect positive youth outcomes
  • Apply the primary concepts of youth development

Tuition & Fees For Youth Development

Great Plains IDEA Program »

This program is part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA), a consortium of 11 universities offering fully online graduate programs. Each university brings a unique strength to the multi-institution academic programs.

  • You apply, and are admitted at one university. In this case the University of Nebraska-Lincoln;
  • enroll in your courses at UNL and other Great Plains IDEA member institutions; and,
  • graduate or receive a certificate from UNL.

View GPIDEA Youth Development information.

Certificate: Application & Admission

Graduate: Application & Admission

Program & Courses

Youth Development options include:

  • Master’s degree in Youth Development (36 credit hours)
  • Youth Development Specialist Certificate (13 credit hours)
  • Youth Program Management and Evaluation Certificate (13 credit hours)
View Catalogs & Courses

Transfer Credits

Each degree program within the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is responsible for evaluating transfer credit and determining how the credit will apply to your specific degree program.

The evaluation of transfer credit is based on a review of the comparability of the nature, content and level of the learning experience and its appropriateness to the degree program.

If you're interested in transferring credit, you will need to consult with the UNL academic department associated with your major. In most instances, you will be requested to submit the respective course syllabus.

Transfer credit information for graduate degrees

Career Services

If you’re enrolled as a degree seeking student in a UNL program you’ll have access to the same career services as on-campus students. Don’t live in the immediate area? We’ll come to you by providing phone or Skype consultations.

After you graduate, the Nebraska Alumni Association will continue to help with resources and events for job seekers.

Career Opportunities

If you're interested in a career in one of the following fields you should consider this degree:

  • Professionals working with youth
  • 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
  • Military youth programs


Online courses are taught by the same award-winning professors and researchers who teach on-campus classes.

Faculty advisers will help you choose courses that will define your personal and career goals while completing your degree.

Meet Faculty in Child Youth and Family Studies
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