Texas Tech University

Online Youth Development Master's Degree and Graduate Certificate

Youth Development Online Degree Texas Tech

Online Youth Development Master's Degree and Certificates 

About the Youth Development Programs

The youth development program at Texas Tech is the only online degree that focuses solely on youth development. Students will become immersed in a strengths-based curriculum, an approach in high demand nationwide, and learn a methodology that supports youth, enabling them to become socially, emotionally, and cognitively competent adults.

We will prepare you to work with youth representing every race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, to design and administer effective youth programs and advocate for youth issues and pro-youth policies.

The online youth development master's degree 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 a 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.

Master's in Youth Development Program Learning Objectives

  • To interact effectively and positively with youth to promote supportive relationships, youth engagement, and youth leadership.
  • To navigate the multiple systems (e.g., family, school, community, policy) that influence youths' lives, appreciate the diversity of these systems, and engage with these systems to promote positive youth development.
  • To design, manage, implement and evaluate programs to enhance and support positive outcomes for children.

To understand theory, research and policy about youth and youth programming and to use this research-based knowledge in a variety of ways (e.g., funding proposals, program design, policy/advocacy efforts, etc).

Benefits of online learning also include:

  • Advance your career
  • Increase your earning potential
  • Maintain work and family commitments
  • Interact with instructors and classmates from across the nation

Master's in Youth Development Courses

The format of online courses is flexible and convenient and allows distance education students the opportunity to take courses that fit into their work and home schedules. Instructors will include interactive learning experiences, such as e-mail, online chats, and threaded discussions. 

Online Master's Degree Curriculum and Requirements:

  • 27 credit hours core courses:
    • Youth Policy
    • Adolescents and Their Families
    • Program Management and Administration
    • Contemporary Youth Issues
    • Youth in Cultural Contexts
    • Community Youth Development
    • Youth Professionals as Consumers of Research
    • Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation
    • Youth Development
  • 1 credit hour foundations seminar
  • 3 credit hours practicum, thesis, or an elective course
  • 5 credit hours portfolio

Graduate Certificates

Online graduate certificates in Youth Development offer convenient professional development training from Texas Tech. This online certificate option is ideal for increasing skills or knowledge as a working professional in children and adolescent community organization settings.

These programs typically only take one to two semesters, if attending full time. Graduate certificates can provide opportunities for career advancement and may also provide the skills necessary to transition to a new field of work.

Youth Development Specialist Certificate

This certificate option covers adolescent development as it relates to and intertwines with family development; it examines reciprocal influences between children adolescents and their families. The study highlights working with youth in relation to the family system.

12 Credit Hours Core Courses

1 Credit Hour Foundations Seminar


  • Youth Policy
  • Adolescents and Their Families
  • Contemporary Youth Issues
  • Youth in Cultural Contexts
  • Community Youth Development

View the course planner tool

Youth Program Management and Evaluation Certificate

This graduate certificate in youth program management introduces you to youth-serving organizations' development, administration, and management.

12 Credit Hours Core Courses

1 Credit Hour Foundations Seminar


  • Youth Policy
  • Administration and Program Management
  • Contemporary Youth Issues
  • Youth Professionals as Consumers of Research
  • Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation

View the course planner tool

Note: Degree, certificate, and course titles vary by institution. Consult each institution for the title as it will appear on the diploma.

Meaningful Careers in Youth Development

The demand for youth development specialists is expected to increase as more organizations recognize the importance of youth programs and services in their communities.The Youth Development program prepares you for a career in organizations such as:

  • 4-H and Boys and Girls Clubs of America
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Faith-based groups
  • Community recreation
  • Infant, toddler, and Early Head Start programs
  • After school and summer child care programs
  • Juvenile justice facilities
  • Middle and high school programs
  • Extension services
  • Military youth programs

Benefits of Studying Online Through Great Plains IDEA

Great Plains IDEA is a consortium of reputable universities which offer online, flexible, affordable programs for a virtual community of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Each university brings a unique strength in faculty and curriculum to the multi-institution program. Students choose a home university where they apply, are admitted, register for courses, and receive their degree.

You will receive your degree or certificate from Texas Tech University, with courses taught by faculty across the nation through the Great Plains IDEA partnership. The youth development master's degree and certificate programs are designed to provide you with research-based skills and knowledge you can use with youth across multiple settings.

Online courses are taught by the best faculty in each discipline from several universities. Students pay one common price per credit hour regardless of which university is their degree-granting institution.


Learn More About the Online Youth Development Graduate Programs

Whether you are interested in pursuing the Master's Degree in Youth Development Program or want to increase your skill set through the graduate certificates in Youth Program Management and Evaluation or the Youth Development Specialist certificate option, you will be able to complete your courses online from Texas Tech at your a flexible pace.

Apply Now

Application Requirements & Process

Texas Tech University reviews applications to the program on an ongoing basis. If you select TTU as your home/degree-granting institution, you must take the following steps to be admitted:

  1. Apply for admission to the Texas Tech Graduate School. For information on how to apply online, visit TTU Graduate Admissions.
  2. Contact the Youth Development Graduate Advisor (Ali.J.Luempert@ttu.edu) to determine additional application materials that may be required by the department.
  3. Work with the Youth Development Graduate Advisor to develop a certification plan and program of study.

If you have further questions please contact the Great Plains IDEA campus coordinator (ashlee.murden@ttu.edu), or the Youth Development Advisor (Ali.J.Luempert@ttu.edu).

Student Resources


Youth Development Course Planner

More Program Information


Financial Aid

All graduate students must be enrolled as full-time students in the fall, spring, (6 hours) and summer semesters (5 hours) to qualify for financial aid.

FAFSA forms must be filled out for all government loan programs. This form uses last year's income. If you've had a change in circumstances (i.e., quit work to go to school, have large moving or medical expenses) contact the Texas Tech Financial Aid Office. They may be able to adjust your aid package based on this information which could not be conveyed on the forms.

You may also reach the Financial Aid Office at (806) 742-3681 or by email: finaid.advisor@ttu.edu. The fax number is (806) 742-0880.


Students admitted to the youth development graduate program enroll at Texas Tech for all courses, whether they are taught at TTU or by a participating university. All courses will have a common price. There is no in-state or out-of-state tuition. This price will cover all course costs except textbook or course packet purchases.

Calculate your cost

*Common tuition rate set by Great Plains IDEA Board of Directors in connection and cooperation with participating institutions.

Course Registration

Students enroll for all courses through their home institution by contacting the Great Plains IDEA Coordinator. Students will have only one enrollment process to complete and one check to write. All coursework completed will be recorded on your home institution's transcript.

Students who have not been admitted to the Great Plains IDEA program may enroll in a course if space is available. Each course has a maximum enrollment, and those who have been admitted to a degree program at one of the participating universities will be given preference. 

Technical Requirements

Requirements are similar among the institutions. Since different platforms are used for course delivery, compatibility with the web browser is most important, although if you are using an older computer with limited memory, or a slow dial-up modem, you may wish to upgrade your equipment. Courses do require the use of a computer, access to the Internet and e-mail.

In order to access classes, you must set up an e-mail address using the email system at each teaching institution. For example, if you take a course taught at Iowa State, the faculty member will send email to your Iowa State email account, not to your Texas Tech (called: "e-Raider") address or to a local Internet service provide account (i.e. AOL, Yahoo, or Gmail).

Contact Us

Youth Development Program Director

Dr. Ali Luempert
Email: Ali.J.Luempert@ttu.edu 

Great Plains IDEA Campus Coordinator

Ashlee Murden 
Email: ashlee.murden@ttu.edu
Phone: (806) 834.4140