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School of Social Work

M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership (YDL)

Working with and on behalf of youth demands continual learning and professional growth. To create space for what’s possible and keep up with the challenges facing today’s youth, leaders must have a grounding in current research as well as hands-on work and learning.

graduate student in theater class

YDL student Rebecca participates in Theater Activities, a day-long class that included graduate, undergraduate and high school students.

I chose the YDL program for the flexibility it offered. YDL is really about reshaping how to approach and think about youthwork, and giving us the skills we need to affect change on behalf of and with young people in our communities.

Andréa Carroll-Franck,
Med in Youth Development Leadership and Certificate in Nonprofit Management 2013

What Is YDL?

YDL - What is YDL? from CEHD on Vimeo.

You can learn more about YDL by watching these videos:

Program Highlights

Diverse experience in a cohort model. Small class sizes with your cohort forge strong bonds that sustain through your studies and continue long past graduation.

A career-building degree for youth work professionals at all levels. Armed with both academic and practical knowledge, our students and graduates demonstrate leadership through action. This program strengthens both those beginning their career as well as seasoned professionals looking for the next step in their careers.

Interdisciplinary study and faculty support. All students take four core courses in our program, and then have the freedom to customize their degree with credits from across the University. Dive deep into a specialty, or gain a broad working knowledge of your field, all backed by the only high-level research institution in Minnesota.

Experiential learning and professional development. Examine your own learning process and learn how experience is used in education. Put your learning to work in the countless settings and scenarios offered by the vibrant backdrop of the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Program Outline

The M.Ed. program is 30 credits. Our core curriculum has five 3-credit classes providing a foundation in youth development leadership:

Two 1-credit seminar classes, taught by both YDL faculty and your fellow students, further enrich and build a diverse understanding of our field, the youth we serve, and each other.

Work with your adviser to choose 9 credits of electives from across the University to broaden your scope of study or further develop a specialization. 4 credits of customizable field experience have you putting your studies into practice. At the end of the program, each student presents a portfolio to demonstrate their studies and work in youth development leadership. More specifics of the program are in the M.Ed. Student Handbook, which will be complete by mid-September.

Learn More & Apply

how to apply

How to apply to the YDL program: an overview of application materials, what we're looking for in our applicants, and how to use Apply Yourself, the University of Minnesota's online application system.

Program Contacts

Cindy Pavlowski
Senior Academic Advisor
140 Peters Hall

Ross VeLure Roholt, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Associate Professor, Youth Studies. Director, Youth Development Leadership Program
105 Peters Hall
Preferred contact method: email