Youth Development Programs

Program Options

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.

A master's degree in youth development prepares students for 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.

Master's Degree. Youth development professionals with a master’s degree are qualified to work in a wide variety of settings, both in direct practice and in program management. A master’s degree is often required for professional youth work.  Those with a master’s degree generally demand a higher wage than those without a degree. Many of our students seek the master’s degree as an important step on the career ladder in their current organization.

Graduate Certificates. Certificates available in Youth Development Specialist or Youth Development Management & Evaluation.  A graduate certificate can complement a master’s degree in a related field such as education, social work, or other human services, or provide working professionals with additional skills needed to advance their career.

Apply Online - Click Here

You will be linked to the graduate school application procedure. 

Select one of the program options:

Human Development and Family Science - Youth Development (Master's Degree)

Youth Development Certificate

Youth Program Management and Evaluation Certificate

Details and Program Specifics

The NDSU Bulletin has the most current information on admission requirements and lists of required and elective courses in the certificate and master’s programs.

Great Plains IDEA Website on Youth Development has the most current information on:

  • Costs
  • Course Planner and Program Summary
  • What you will learn in the program
  • How this program advances your career
  • Student handbook

Visit with us.

Learn more about NDSU, GPIDEA, the program, how to apply, what to expect, and how to find funding by visiting with our faculty. We love visiting with students - this is a big decision and we are here to help, every step of the way!

The faculty contact for the Youth Development online programs is: Dr. Joel Hektner | 701-231-8269 |

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