Youth Development Curricula

The requirements for the Master of Arts Degree Program in Youth Development and the requirements for the Graduate Certificates in Youth Program Management and Evaluation and Youth Development Specialist are listed in the MSU Academic Programs Catalog.

Coursework will be taken through Michigan State University or another institution affiliated with the Great Plains IDEA consortium.  Students will enroll through, pay tuition, and follow the policies and procedures of Michigan State University and meet all requirements of the MSU Graduate School for admission, graduation requirements and good standing. Students will also receive their diploma through Michigan State University after successful completion of their Master of Arts Degree or Graduate Certificate program.

Courses offered by the Youth Development Member Universities

Foundations of Youth Development (1)

This course will examine the fundamentals of youth development and the youth development profession. Through this introduction to the field, students will explore the ethical, professional and historical elements of youth development as it has evolved toward professionalization. This course should be taken your first semester of enrollment!

Administration and Program Management (3)

This course will introduce students to the development, administration and management of youth-serving organizations.

Adolescents and Their Families (3)

This course will cover adolescent development as it is related to and intertwined with family development; reciprocal influences between adolescents and their families are examined. Working with youth vis à vis the family system will be highlighted. 

Community Youth Development (3)

This course focuses on the national emphasis of a strength-based or asset approach to community youth development, encompassing individual development (i.e., positive youth development) and adolescent interrelationships with environments. Emphasis is placed upon research, theory and practice applied in communities throughout the U.S. Students will explore existing models, read theoretical and applied literature and examine current community efforts as a basis for understanding community youth development.  

Contemporary Youth Issues (3)

This course will present issues faced by youth today and associated risk and resiliency factors. A different topic will be presented each year or semester, with the course rotating among participating universities. Past topics have included Youth Violence, Youth and Appearance, Adolescent Health, Global Perspectives and Volunteerism. The course may be taken more than once, as long as the content is different each time. 

Program Design, Evaluation and Implementation (3)

This course will discuss the theoretical, methodological and pragmatic issues involved in conducting programs and scholarship. Included in the course is an overview of the program development process and outcome evaluation of community children and family programs. Modes of outcome scholarship and their implications for community-based programs are discussed. Students will develop knowledge through participating in a community-based project involving the practical application of program design and evaluation methods. 

Youth in Cultural Contexts (3)

This course will examine the cultural context factors that affect youth from a holistic perspective within and outside the family unit. The course will provide an understanding of the cultural heritage of differing family structures and types. Students will explore the social and educational processes experienced by youth through in-depth reading, writing, discussion, critical listening, viewing of contemporary videos and informal interviews with youth. Students will be encouraged to think critically about society and culture, gain further knowledge of how ethnic groups fit historically into society and examine the results of how history has shaped the current cultural climate of the U.S.

Youth Development (3)

This course will introduce students to the developmental period of adolescence. The theory and research of positive youth development will be the lens through which this developmental period is examined. The course will emphasize how the developmental tasks of this life stage are influenced by (and influence) family and home, school, peers and other contextual forces. The course will help students recognize and become familiar with the major issues and transitions adolescents face as they successfully navigate this developmental stage by critically examining the theoretical and research literature.

Youth Professionals as Consumers of Research (3)

This course will help youth development professionals understand and evaluate research reports to reduce anxiety about applying research results and theories to practice. Specific emphasis will be on research and theory reports related to youth development.

Youth Policy (3)

This course examines various federal and state policies designed specifically for youth. Students will examine how and why policies for youth are constructed. A guiding question that will be used to evaluate existing state and national policies is whether they contribute to, or act as, barriers to desired developmental outcomes.


Apply NowContact Us