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Youth Development

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Interinstitutional Graduate Program

Iowa State University offers a Master's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with a specialization in Youth Development. This is an interinstitutional online program offered through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (or GPIDEA). The student selects a home institution (Iowa State), which ultimately grants the degree. After admission to Iowa State, the student takes courses from Iowa State and the other participating institutions: Michigan State University, North Dakota State University, Texas Tech University, University of Missouri, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Master of Family and Consumer Sciences with Youth Development specialization is an online degree available focusing on developing knowledge and skills to serve today’s youth. Students become immersed in a strengths-based curriculum and learn a methodology that supports youth, enabling them to grow socially, emotionally, and cognitively. The program has its roots in positive youth development. Rather than focusing solely on corrective measures, a positive youth development approach equips individuals in the second decade of life with the skillset necessary for a successful transition into adulthood.

The masters degree consists of 36 credits, 27 required credits, 6 elective credits, and 3 or more credits of creative component and/or internship. This program does not require a thesis.

Youth Development Certificates

The Youth Development certificates are offered completely online through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (or GPIDEA). The student selects a home institution (Iowa State), which ultimately grants the certificate. After admission to Iowa State, the student takes courses from Iowa State and the other participating institutions: Michigan State University, North Dakota State University, Texas Tech University, University of Missouri, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Both are stand-alone graduate certificates available to any student with a bachelor's degree. 

  • 12-credit Youth Development Specialist Graduate Certificate 
  • 12-credit Youth Program Management and Evaluation Graduate Certificate 

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Courses

Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduates:

(1-0) Cr. 1. F.S.SS.


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.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.


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.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.


Focus 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.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.


Examination of 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.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.


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.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.


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.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Repeatable. F.S.SS.


Issues faced by youth today and associated risk and resiliency factors. A different topic will be presented each year, 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.

Cr. 3. Repeatable. Alt. SS., offered odd-numbered years.


Understand optimal mental health in youth and how it can be promoted. Current theories and research related to optimal mental health and how promoting positive development is both similar to and different from preventing negative outcomes. Learn to assess a given youth development program in terms of its potential to promote positive mental health.

Cr. 3. Repeatable. Alt. SS., offered odd-numbered years.


Examines cognitive, self, and social transitions during adolescence. Topics include issues of identity, society's understanding of adolescents, and how adolescents and their parents, siblings, peers, teachers, and society interact.

Cr. 3. Repeatable. F.


Explores the etiology of adolescent deviance using a positive, cross-national/crosscultural perspective. Includes implications of theory, empirical research, current prevention programs and needs assessments. Offers a look at deviance from different perspectives as well as a comparison of normative and non-normative development of youth.

Cr. 3. Repeatable. Alt. SS., offered odd-numbered years.


Understand the interconnectedness of technology and youth/family. Formulate constructive and realistic strategies to enrich the life of a family or a youth in a society heavily dependent on technology. Topics of the course include identity formation, privacy, race, class, gender, subculture, risky behavior, policing, education, globalization, health, and policies.

Cr. 3. Repeatable. Alt. SS., offered even-numbered years.


Examination of how sports and society helps us better understand what we value, how we become who we are, and how we may be able to realize social justice in a larger social context.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.


Introduction to the development, administration and management of youth-serving organizations.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.


Theoretical, methodological, and pragmatic issues involved in conducting programs and scholarship. Overview of the program development process and outcome evaluation of 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.

Cr. 3.


Grant-getting process and an overview of what happens after a project is funded. The following topics will be covered: researching funding sources, generating cutting edge ideas, assessing needs, planning a project, establishing credibility, formulating a sustainable budget, designing an evaluation plan, managing the funded project, and disseminating project results.

Cr. arr. Repeatable. F.S.SS.


Nonthesis students creative component (e.g., a special report, capstone course, integrated field experience, annotated bibliography, research project, design, or other creative endeavor). A minimum of five credits of independent work is required on the programs of study (POS). Creative component format determined cooperation with the POS committee. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

Courses for graduate students:

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.


Introduction 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.

Cr. arr. Repeatable. F.S.SS.

Prereq: Permission of instructor.
Advanced topics.

Cr. arr. Repeatable. F.S.SS.

Prereq: Permission of instructor.
Supervised practice and experience in college teaching, research, professional experience. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.