Skip to main content

Program Overview

The Great Plains IDEA youth development program has its roots inPositive 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.

Program Outcomes

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.).

Career Outlook

When youth professionals take part in higher education and ongoing learning, research shows that youth program quality improves. You will learn to use more effective practices and feel more confident about your work, all of which will benefit youth.
Our graduates work with various youth-serving organizations:
Boys and Girls Club
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
Cooperative Extension services, 4-H programs
Missouri State Correctional Office
Girls, Inc.
21st Century Community Learning Centers
Administration for Native Americans
Family and Youth Services Bureau
Federal Youth Court Program
Learn and Serve America
National Guard Youth Challenge Program
Neighborhood Networks
Passport in Time
Preserve America Stewards
Promise Neighborhoods



  • HDFS 860/YD 823Youth Policy3 Credits
  • HDFS 864Foundations of Youth Development1 Credit

    Theories, concepts and terminology of youth development. Ethical, professional, and historical elements of youth development in social, economic, ethnic and political contexts.

  • HDFS 892Contemporary Youth Issues: Youth, Families & Technology2 Credits
  • HDFS 892Contemporary Youth Issues: Youth, Sport and Society3 Credits
  • YD 800Contemporary Youth Issues: Understanding Normative Behavior in Immigrant and Minority Youth.3 Credits
  • YD 800Contemporary Youth Issues: Working with Adolescents with Difficulties3 Credits
  • YD 806Contemporary Youth Issues: Mental Health3 Credits
  • YD 820Contemporary Youth Issues: Grant Development and Management3 Credits
  • YD 826Contemporary Youth Issues: Adolescent Sexuality, Pregnancy & Parenthood3 Credits


  • YD 804Program Design Evaluation and Implementation3 Credits
  • YD 807Youth Professionals as Consumers of Research3 Credits
  • YD 808 Administration and Program Management3 Credits

Admissions and Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A bachelor's degree

  2. Previous work experience


  3. Taken the GRE
  4. Taken the TOEFL

    (Only required if English is not your native language)

  5. 3 letters of recommendation

    Three letters of recommendation are required. All applicants should include at least one academic reference. Please ask former professors, work supervisors, or others who can best assess your academic experience and potential.

  6. Official transcripts from all previous schools

To apply to this program:

  1. Complete a university graduate application (program code: 7693)
  2. GRE scores are not required if you are a U.S. resident applying to the Master’s Plan B (professional track) program. International applicants must submit GRE scores for the Plan A and Plan B Master’s Program.
  3. Send the GRE scores directly to the University. The code for Michigan State University is 1465. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) taken within the last 2 years. The code for Michigan State University is 1465.
Apply Now

Key Dates

Fall 2021

Application Deadline

June 1, 2021

Spring 2021

Application Deadline

October 1, 2020

Summer 2021

Application Deadline

February 1, 2021

Tuition & Fees

In State Tuition

  • $590
  • Per Credit Hour

Out of State Tuition

  • $590
  • Per Credit Hour


As one of the top research universities in the world, Michigan State University has advanced the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years.

MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community.