Curriculum

Graduate Certificate - Youth Program Management & Evaluation

Great Plains IDEA's Youth Program Management & Evaluation Certificate is a 12-credit hour curriculum that is offered completely online. Build your own certificate to maximize the impact your learning can have on your career goals.

Explore the graduate certificate curriculum below and learn more about the research-based skills and knowledge of how to work effectively with youth.

Youth Development Graduate Programs Overview

Student Handbook   Course Planner

Required Courses

There are three required core courses for this graduate certificate. The courses can be taken in any order, with the exception of Foundations of Youth Development, a three-credit hour course that should be taken in your first semester. Foundations of Youth Development is offered every semester so you can start the program anytime.

This course provides an introduction to the field of positive youth development (PYD) including an overview of key theory and practice principles that enhance the profession of youth work. This course is designed to provide a foundation of basic knowledge and skills that students will need to be successful in any course in the IDEA Youth Development programs.
The course will discuss the principles and methods of program design, implementation, and evaluation of youth programs. This course will focus on hands-on tools of conducting evidence-based planning and evaluating the performance and delivery process of a program. Students will develop knowledge through participating in a community-based project involving the practical application of program design and evaluation methods. The goal is to prepare students for research supported planning and evaluation of programs that aim at positive youth development.
This course introduces students to the development, administration and management of youth programs and youth-serving organizations with special focus being on the roles and responsibilities of administrators and managers.

Select One Course

Choose one course from the list below to complete the graduate certificate. No course is a prerequisite for any other course so you may take this course at any time. Note that CYI stands for Contemporary Youth Issues which are a set of courses about modern-day challenges that youth in your community face. Consult your academic advisor to learn more.

Review the course planner to find out when each course is offered and plan out a prospective course sequence.

This course examines various federal and state policies that affect developmental opportunities for youth. Students will examine how and why such policies are constructed. We will explore how various policies contribute to or undermine positive youth development outcomes.
This course uses a strength-based or asset-based approach to community youth development and encompasses individual development (i.e. positive youth development) and adolescents’ interrelationships with their environments. Emphasis is placed on research, theory, and practice applied to 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.
This is a basic grant development and management course that introduces students to the grant-getting process and provides an overview of what happens after a project is funded. The following topics are part of the course: 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. Course objectives are to establish grant development basics, to identify sources of funding information, examine the essential components of a proposal, increase comfort with grant proposal writing, and explore best practices for program management.
Development of technology in the last century has changed our geographical and physical perception of the world, challenged our ideas about social norms, affected the process of our identity formation, and altered our social location and interaction with others. Focusing particularly on the family and the youth both in the U.S. and outside, this course aims to help graduate students better understand the interconnectedness of technology and youth/family. The class debunks many common myths (for instance, that youth today have no sense of privacy online or the traditional idea that the family is negatively affected by digital technology) while helping students understand the relationship between the human and technology. Designed both for theorists and practitioners, this approach ultimately allows enrolled students to 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. The class offers basic technical skills for future practitioners, including using Twitter for professional purposes, assessing a Google resume, editing a video clip, and creating a personal website.
This course helps youth development professionals understand what optimal mental health in youth is and how it can be promoted. Students learn about current theories and research related to optimal mental health and how promoting positive development is both similar to and different from preventing negative outcomes. Students learn to assess a given youth development program in terms of its potential to promote positive mental health.
This course explores the etiology of adolescent deviance using a positive, cross-national/crosscultural perspective. Course content includes implications of theory, empirical research, current prevention programs and needs assessments. The course offers a look at deviance from different perspectives as well as a comparison of normative and non-normative development of youth.
This course helps youth development professionals understand and evaluate research reports to reduce anxiety about applying research results and theories to practice. Specific emphasis is on research and theory reports related to youth development.
Program Summary
Cost per credit hour:

2023-2024: $600
2024-2025: $610
Learn more about Tuition and Cost

Average time to complete:
Master's degree: 23 months
Graduate certificates: 17 months

36 Hours


12 Hours


12 Hours

University Contact
These campus coordinators can help you navigate Great Plains IDEA. Click on the university name to learn more about how Great Plains IDEA works at that campus. Iowa State Online
Meagan Rau
Stacy Duffield
Ashlee Murden
Janice Clawson
Mel Sedlacek
University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

Wearbon_Kristen_Headshot_for_Website1.pngThe online Family and Community Services Program is teaching me to observe, evaluate, and assist families using a strengths-based approach. In my previous role as alumni advisor, one of my responsibilities was speaking with parents from various backgrounds to prepare them for their scholar's graduation and matriculation. Using what I learned in Resilience in Families and Family Resource Management I was able to highlight families' assets and internal resources to help them help their scholar succeed, in addition to providing them with new information and external resources. All of my courses have contributed in some way to how I now approach my work and interact with those close to me. I am a better employee, sister, daughter, friend, and mentor because of the online Family and Community Services program!

– – Kristen Wearbon, Family and Community Services Student,
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