Texas Tech University

Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance

Youth Development Online Degree Texas Tech

Youth Development Online Major

About the Program

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

The Great Plains IDEA 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.

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

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.

The Youth Development program prepares students 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 Head Start programs
  • After school and summer child care programs
  • Juvenile justice facilities
  • Middle and high school programs
  • Extension services
  • Military youth programs

In this program you will learn:

  • 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, to appreciate the diversity of these systems, and to engage with these systems to promote positive youth development.
  • To design, manage, implement and evaluate programs to enhance and support positive outcomes for youth.
  • 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). This video explains how the youth policy course empowers students to engage policymakers.

Benefits of Online 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. 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

Student Resources

Youth Development Specialist

This course covers adolescent development as it relates to and intertwines with family development; it examines reciprocal influences between 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

Youth Program Management
and Evaluation

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

  • 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

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

Master's Degree Requirements

  • 27 credit hours core Courses
  • One credit hour foundations seminar
  • Three credit hours practicum, thesis, or an
  • elective course
  • Five credit hours portfolio


  • 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

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 (elizabeth.trejos@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 (tristin.campbell@ttu.edu), or the Youth Development Advisor (elizabeth.trejos@ttu.edu).


Financial Aid

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

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.

Tuition and Fees

Students admitted to the program at Texas Tech University enroll at TTU for all courses, whether they are taught at TTU or by a participating university. All courses will have a common price of $580 per credit hour for graduate courses and $415 per credit hour for undergraduate courses*. There is no in-state or out-of-state tuition. This price will cover all course costs except textbook or course packet purchases.

*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. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo
Email: elizabeth.trejos@ttu.edu 
Phone: (806) 834-6080

Great Plains IDEA Campus Coordinator

Tristin Campbell
Email: tristin.campbell@ttu.edu
Phone: (806) 834.0269