Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Youth Development Leadership M.Ed.

School of Social Work
College of Education and Human Development
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, 182 Peters Hall, 1404 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108 (612-624-8785)
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2021
  • Length of program in credits: 30
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • N/A
  • Degree: Master of Education
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
Youth development leadership (YDL) understands leadership as a practice everyone does every day, regardless of age. You will be invited to reflect on your own leadership experiences within a learning community that includes fellow students, community practitioners, and faculty. You will learn about your own leadership, deepen your understanding of the young people you work with, and expand your connection within the larger youth work community both locally and globally. You will be invited to think critically about how communities often understand and respond to young people and work to create innovative interventions for young people in schools, community organizations, and the workplace that challenge these typical understandings and create opportunities for young people to fully flourish. How can we collaborate with young people when responding to the most pressing current issues and needs? What organizational structures and strategies support and sustain young people's authentic and meaningful involvement in inclusive, socially just, and equitable opportunities? How can organizations, schools, and communities transform to provide developmentally rich and meaningful opportunities for young people? Utilizing the most current understanding of youth development joined to issues of inclusion, equity, and social justice, you will graduate with the necessary knowledge and skills to work collaboratively, think critically, and act intentionally to create sustainable opportunities for young people and their communities. By the time you graduate, you will know what it takes to effectively partner with young people and to transform youth-serving organizations to better respond to all young people and the communities they live in. The YDL M.Ed. emphasizes: • A community-based model of positive youth development; • Experiential learning models; • Leadership and community building by encouraging consultation among faculty, professional youth workers, fellow students, and young people; • Diverse, flexible, and interdisciplinary faculty and curriculum that provide an informed understanding of practices, policies, and ethics of youth development work; • Positive professional development; • Collaborative approach to learning; • Interdisciplinary curriculum; • Cohort of other youth work professionals, for supportive learning environment; • Diverse faculty dedicated to healthy youth development and committed to helping students develop a course of study that meets their professional and personal needs and interests.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 2.80.
A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
At least two years of experience working with youth.
Special Application Requirements:
All applicants must upload the following items to their online application in Apply Yourself: - Résumé - Personal statement describing career goals and rationale for interest in the M.Ed. program (limit two pages) - Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended or are currently attending, including the University of Minnesota - Letters of recommendation from at least two persons (e.g., administrators, colleagues, instructors) familiar with the applicant's performance who can attest to his or her capacity for youth development leadership - Application fee, charged when the online application is submitted. Fee must be paid with a credit card. Applications are accepted on a year-round basis.
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • Final score: 80
The preferred English language test is Test of English as Foreign Language.
Key to test abbreviations (TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan C: Plan C requires 21 major credits and 9 credits outside the major. There is no final exam. A capstone project is required.
Capstone Project: The portfolio is a demonstration and personal assessment of individual learning and leadership in youth development work and in the YDL program. Successful completion of the portfolio presentation to the student's faculty committee of two or more faculty is the final requirement of the YDL program.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
Required Coursework
NOTE: Students must take a total two credits of YOST 5960, in one credit increments, during their time in the program.
YOST 5951 - Ways of Knowing in Youth Development Leadership: Using Research and Evlauation to Support Community (3.0 cr)
YOST 5952 - Everyday Lives of Youth (3.0 cr)
YOST 5954 - Experiential Learning: Pedagogy for Community and Classroom (3.0 cr)
YOST 5956 - Organizational Approaches to Youth Development (3.0 cr)
YOST 5958 - Community: Context for Youth Development Leadership (3.0 cr)
YOST 5960 - Seminar in Youth Development Leadership (1.0 cr)
YOST 5962 - Leadership Field Experience: Youth Development (4.0 cr)
Elective Credits
9 or more 5xxx level elective credits must be selected with approval of faculty adviser.
More program views..
View college catalog(s):
· College of Education and Human Development

View future requirement(s):
· Fall 2022

View sample plan(s):
· Youth Dev Leadership M.Ed. Sample Plan
View PDF Version:
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YOST 5951 - Ways of Knowing in Youth Development Leadership: Using Research and Evlauation to Support Community
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course aims to stimulate students to think critically about youth development and youth work through exploring different ways of knowing. These paradigms each construct different understandings of young people and offer evidence to support diverse youth development practice and programs. Students will leave with a broad perspective of how youth development and youth work empirical evidence is constructed and used to support healthy youth development.
YOST 5952 - Everyday Lives of Youth
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Youth as idea/lived-reality in scholarship, public discourse, and professional practice. Building practice of work with or on behalf of youth.
YOST 5954 - Experiential Learning: Pedagogy for Community and Classroom
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Relationship between experience and learning in community and school settings. Emphasizes intentional application of experiential learning theory/practice to educational program development.
YOST 5956 - Organizational Approaches to Youth Development
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Historical contexts, theoretical frameworks, organizational practices, and public policies that shape nonformal educational experiences of youth in community-based or school-linked settings.
YOST 5958 - Community: Context for Youth Development Leadership
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Issues/policies in family, school, and community that drive the professional practice of community-based youth work. Practical projects explore what it means to be local, to build social capital for youth, and to involve youth in community change.
YOST 5960 - Seminar in Youth Development Leadership
Credits: 1.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Group study of topics/issues. Course proposal, educational program development. Students participate in co-created learning experience with a group of peers. Four-course sequence. prereq: YDL student or instr consent
YOST 5962 - Leadership Field Experience: Youth Development
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: YDL student
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Demonstration of leadership in practice. Project on youth, experiential pedagogy, and community/program settings. Focuses on public policy, advocacy, evaluation, pedagogical issues, program design, curriculum development, or applied research. prereq: YDL student