Online Youth Program Management & Evaluation Graduate Certificate

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Online Youth Program Management & Evaluation Graduate Certificate

The online Youth Program Management and Evaluation Graduate Certificate prepares individuals to become leaders in youth programs and activities. Management and evaluation of youth programs is an emerging professional field. It has a positive orientation, meaning its focus is on activities that promote the positive development of youth. It is an applied field, with professionals who put developmental research and theory into practice in structuring and implementing programs and services for adolescents.

A graduate certificate in youth program management and evaluation prepares students for management careers in organizations such as 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, non-profits, faith based groups, community recreation, juvenile justice facilities, middle and high school programs, extension services, and military youth programs.

If you currently work in youth programming, or would like to someday, this online Youth Program Management and Evaluation Graduate Certificate will equip you with the knowledge of best practices in providing programs for youth. In some cases, K-12 educators may benefit by honing their skills in using data to develop high-quality programs for youth.

Information Session Video

Learn more about the online youth development graduate certificate and master's programs.

Program Description

The online Youth Program Management and Evaluation Graduate Certificate is a collaborative, inter-institutional program offered by Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GP IDEA), a web-based distance education program. The program requires 13 credits.

Earning a Youth Program Managment and Evaluation Graduate Certificate indicates to employers that you have studied a cohesive set of classes in youth program management. A graduate certificate provides you with advanced credentials faster than a full master's degree in youth development. Once you have completed your online graduate certificate in youth program management you can transfer all credits earned into the online M.S. in HDFS: Youth Development program.

You may also be interested in ouronline Youth Development Graduate Certificate.

Sample Plan of Study

Required Course:
Elective Courses:

Select one course from the following list.

Total Credits: 12

Careers and Outlook


Well-developed and data-driven learning opportunities for youth, outside of the school environment, are important for developing their interests, skills, and passions. According to, "The demand for afterschool programs is strong, with nearly 10.2 million children and youth who participate in afterschool programs annually,1 across 10 million in summer camps and 6 million in 4-H programs, alone.2

Zippia states that "between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 11% and produce 81,200 job opportunities across the U.S.", which indicates the need for professionals in youth programming. Furthermore, only 11 percent of individuals employed in youth development have earned a master's degree. Earning a graduate certificate in youth program management and evaluation places you on track to complete a master's degree and to become a leader in this growing field.


An online graduate certificate in youth program management and evaluation prepares students for management careers in organizations such as 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, non-profits, faith-based groups, community recreation, juvenile justice facilities, middle and high-school programs, extension services, and military youth programs.

Graduate Faculty

A list of graduate faculty for the Youth Program Management Graduate Certificate as well as their current research interests is available on the NDSU catalog page. In addition to faculty information, you can find more information about the program in the catalog.

Tuition and Fees

The tuition and fee structure for this program is set by the GP IDEA consortium. Classes you take are charged at the same tuition rate regardless of which university is your home university. Books and supplies are not included in the tuition and fees. Since a certificate is not a degree track, federal Title IV student financial assistance and tuition waivers will not be available for certificate students. Please note that courses offered through GP IDEA are not eligible for NDSU tuition waivers.

Admission Requirements

To apply for this graduate certificate program, click the link below to start the application process. You will be required to fill out a request for information form which sets up your login information to complete the application form. The application fee is $35.

The deadline to apply is one month before the beginning of the semester you choose to begin. 

Fall Semester = Begins the third week in August.
Spring Semester = Begins the second week in January.
Summer Semester = Begins the second week in May.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the Graduate School’s required application requirements, submit a statement of purpose indicating reasons for pursuing graduate study, specifying your special interests within your chosen discipline and including your background preparation in that area. Mention any relevant skills or experience you have acquired. In addition, be sure to address the following, in 500 words or less:

  • How your interest in this field developed.
  • Why you chose our program at NDSU.
  • The experiences you have had (e.g. informal, academic, employment, volunteer) that you see as related to this graduate program or your professional goals.
  • What your professional goals are and how this graduate program will help you accomplish your professional goals.

Contact Information

NDSU College of Human Sciences & Education  |  Youth Development Program
Phone: (701) 231-8269

NDSU GP IDEA Coordinator

NDSU Graduate School
Phone: (701) 231-5945


Frequently Asked Questions

How long are the Youth Development Graduate Certificate programs?
In either of the certificate programs, a student can finish in two semesters.

Are students required to come to campus during the program?
No, the program is completely online.

Is a practicum or thesis required for this program?
Students enrolled in the certificate options have no practicum or thesis requirements.

Which university will I receive my graduate certificate from?
If you apply and are admitted to NDSU, you will receive your certificate from NDSU even though some of your courses will be taught by professors from other institutions.

What is the difference between earning a graduate certificate and earning a master’s degree in youth development?
A certificate is a way of showing that you have completed a coherent set of courses within a certain field. Both the Youth Development and the Youth Program Management and Evaluation Graduate Certificates cover a subset of courses that are in the master’s program. If you are interested in the certificate program and decide to continue on to the master’s program the courses you take for the certificate program will apply.

Can I transfer previous graduate coursework into this program?
You can transfer up to nine credits into the youth development master’s program if they are relevant to the program. The syllabus of those courses will need to be provided to the Department of Human Development and Family Science graduate program in order to determine if the coursework is relevant.

I am employed full time and have a family. How many credits would you recommend I take each semester?
For students with family and employment obligations we recommend taking one course (the 3-credit Foundations course) the first semester. Then students are able to see how it works with their schedule and can determine how many courses they are able to take each semester.

Can I take some youth development classes without being admitted to the program?
You can be admitted to the graduate school as a non-degree student and take youth development classes without being in the program. Class sizes are very limited and students who are in the program are able to register first. The instructor needs to agree to allow non-degree students into their class. If you want to register as a non-degree student you have to contact Melissa Selders Ortez from NDSU’s Graduate School. Non-degree students cannot be registered until a couple weeks before the semester in order to allow students in the program to register.

Is the program accredited? 
There is no accreditation in the youth development field. Online degrees and classes offered through NDSU Distance and Continuing Education are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and are approved through the academic departments and colleges at NDSU.

Why go into the youth development field?
There is an increasing demand for employees of youth-serving organizations to obtain graduate degrees, certificates, and/or licensure. Students completing an online graduate certificate program in youth development or youth program management and evaluation will be qualified to work with various youth-serving organizations, such as: 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, non-profit organizations, faith-based groups, community recreation, correctional facilities, and Cooperative Extension. A master’s degree in youth development will benefit elementary, middle, and high school educators; extension educators; and military youth specialists.

Is there a required degree to be admitted into the program?
There is not a required undergraduate degree to be admitted. Some experience as an undergraduate with social science courses (e.g. psychology, sociology) would be helpful.

What is the application process for the youth development program?
To be admitted to the program applicants must meet the Graduate School admission and application requirements.

What do I do after I am admitted to the program?
Students admitted by NDSU into the program will be contacted via email by NDSU's Great Plains IDEA Coordinator. You will need work with your advisor to identify the classes you should register for and then register for those classes as soon as possible since class sizes are limited. 

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