Youth Development, MS

Master of Science Degree in Youth Development

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

  • Fully Online
  • 36
  • $590.00
  • $590.00

Program Overview

The online Youth Development, MS program examines the people, places, supports, opportunities and services young people need to be healthy and successful.

This program prepares students 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

The Youth Development, MS uses a strengths-based curriculum that supports youth to make them socially, emotionally and cognitively competent adults.

This program is offered by the Great Plains IDEA Youth Development program which is a recognized leader in professional development and advanced degrees in youth development. Rather than focusing solely on corrective measures, the program utilizes Positive Youth Development which equips young people in the second decade of life with the skills and opportunities necessary to transition to adulthood.

Career Outlook: There are an estimated 17,000 organizations that currently serve more than 30 million young people. Professionals who understand the strengths-based approach are in demand.

Career options may include:

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

Admissions and Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A Bachelor's degree

  2. 2.5 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale

  3. Taken the TOEFL or IELTS

    (Only required if English is not your native language)

  4. A written personal statement

  5. letters of recommendation

  6. Official transcripts from all previous schools

  7. A Resume is required

NOTE: If you reside in state(s) , contact a program adviser before applying.

To apply to this program:

  1. Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  2. Pay the non-refundable $50 application processing fee
  3. Submit one set of official transcripts from each college or university you have attended to Office of Graduate Studies
  4. Apply and be admitted to the department

Courses You’ll Take

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
CYAF 878Youth Policy3
Various federal and state policies designed specifically for youth. Existing state and national policies as to whether they contribute to, or act as barriers to, desired developmental outcomes. (Distance education course delivered by Michigan State University.) Prereq: Admission to CYAF graduate program.
CYAF 869Administration and Program Management3
Introduction to the development, administration and management of youth-serving organizations.
CYAF 872Youth Development3
Prereq: 12 hours CYAF or social sciences. Scientific literature concerning the interrelationship of the physiological, psychological and sociological aspects of the adolescent and young adulthood years. Understanding of individuals and their continuous adjustment within the family life cycle as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood.
CYAF 864Community Youth Development3
Prereq: Admission to CYAF graduate program. National emphasis of strength-based or asset approach to community youth development, encompassing individual development and adolescent relationships with environments. Research, theory and practice applied in communities. Existing models, theoretical and applied literature, and current community efforts. (May be offered via distance education by Michigan State University.)
CYAF 875Youth in Cultural Contexts3
Prereq: Admission to CYAF graduate program. Cultural context factors that affect youth from a holistic perspective within and outside the family unit. The cultural heritage of differing family types. Social and educational processes. (Distance education course delivered by Michigan State University.)
CYAF 863Youth Professionals as Consumers of Research3
Prereq: Admission to CYAF graduate program. Research report evaluation skills for youth development professionals. Fundamental quantitative and qualitative research principles guiding disciplined inquiry. Application of research results and theories to practice.
CYAF 873Program Design, Evaluation, & Implementation3
Overview of program development process and outcome evaluation of community children and family programs. Theoretical, methodological and programmatic issues in conducting programs and scholarship. Distance education course delivered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
CYAF 880Contemporary Youth Issues3
Issues faced by youth such as life skills, violence, and appearance. Topics vary.
CYAF 868Adolescents and Their Families3
Prereq: Admission to CYAF graduate program. Adolescent development as related to and intertwined with family development. Reciprocal influences between adolescents and their families. Working with youth vis a vis the family system. (Distance education course delivered by Michigan State University.)
CYAF 861Foundations of Youth Development1
Prereq: Admission to CYAF graduate program. Pass/No Pass only. Fundamentals of youth development and the youth development profession. Ethical, professional and historical elements of youth development as it has evolved toward professionalization.

Tuition & Fees

Nebraska Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours


Out of State Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours

Rochelle Dalla, Ph.D.

Rochelle Dalla is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Human Trafficking (JHT), an international journal devoted to the dissemination of scholarship on all issues related to trafficking in persons—from prevention and intervention to protection, prosecution and partnership. Her professional interests center on marginalized female populations, and her research is aimed at providing these women voice as well as visibility.

Application Deadlines

Rolling admissions. Application review will begin upon receipt of all required application materials.