What is Youth Studies?

Youth Studies (YoSt) is an undergraduate program that focuses on the interdisciplinary study of young people. Our courses explore definitions of youth, the everyday lives of young people, diverse histories and philosophies of youth, and the theories, approaches and professional practices of youth work.

In the YoSt program, we strive to know one another, to “shrink the university” and to create a nurturing, diverse and critical learning community. Our courses are community-engaged, dialogic, experiential and ideally fun spaces where we work together to create a just world for and with ALL young people!

Learn more about the Youth Studies major.

Youth Studies students celebrate graduation.
Youth Studies students celebrate graduation.


We also offer three minors, which are open to all current University of Minnesota undergraduates: Family Violence Prevention, Social Justice, and Youth Studies.

Contact us with questions, we're happy to help you.

If you have questions about undergraduate studies in the School of Social Work, contact Deborah Moore, Interim Undergraduate Director, by email at ddm2@umn.edu.

Deborah Moore, Interim Undergraduate Director

What our student have to say:

Samara Eltahir photo
The Youth Studies program, through the School of Social Work, has greatly challenged, evolved, and shaped my perceptions of young people and how I as a youth worker can best impact their lives.

Samara Eltahir '20
Youth Studies
Minors in Interdisciplinary Design and Spanish
Carl F. and Ruth Carter Warmington Scholarship in Social Work recipient

Learn more about YoSt

Careers in youth studies

All of our programs have internships or service learning components that reflect our commitment to engaging with the community in learning, research and service. Youth studies also provides a strong foundation for advanced study in areas such as youth development leadership, social work, education, and public policy.

Job titles and employers of alumni

  • Youth organizer
  • Community recreation worker
  • Teacher
  • Out-of-School Time (OST) coordinator
  • Case manager
  • Outdoor education facilitator
  • Youth policy advocate
  • Public health worker

View more career opportunities in Youth Studies.