Youth Development Leadership


Accepting students for Fall 2022 semester.


The Master of Science in Youth Development Leadership is a unique program designed to prepare new professionals, building skills to lead youth organizations, and address career changes for practicing professionals in youth serving positions. Utilizing an integrated strategy of education and collaboration, the program will equip you with the competencies, knowledge and skills necessary to help young people develop into healthy, competent, coping and contributing citizens.

Students use this degree and the knowledge they gain in the program to prepare them for many opportunities. They may take positions of leadership in youth development organizations, agencies, and institutions such as schools, 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, non- profit organizations, faith-based organizations, recreation/community agencies, land grant extension services/programs, and many others. They may be supervisors of youth development staff including education and social service work environments, faith-based advocates for youth well-being, program evaluators, fundraisers and grantwriters, administrators, and supervisors.

In addition to the master degree, a five-course graduate certificate is also offered online.


The following requirements must be met to be considered for admission to the online Master of Science in Youth Development Leadership:

  • Proof of a baccalaureate degree with a minimum grade-point ratio of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale
  • A GRE score is not required but is recommended for those who believe it will strengthen their application
  • A personal statement and two letters of reference
  • Resume
  • Undergraduate degree transcripts
  • Experience in the field of youth development is preferred


Courses in the Master of Science Youth Development Leadership program are offered in an accelerated format and are delivered through synchronous distance education technologies.

Each cohort begins the first course, Theories of Youth Development, during a three-day on-campus orientation. Students then take one course at a time for seven weeks, allowing working professionals to focus on one course at a time, but still finish within the standard master’s degree timeline, two years.

36 semester hours of required coursework from the following:

  • YDP 8000 Theories of Youth Development: An Applied Perspective (3)
  • YDP 8010 Child and Adolescent Development (3)
  • YDP 8020 Youth Development Programming in a Contemporary Society (3)
  • YDP 8030 Creative and Ethical Leadership in a Changing Society (3)
  • YDP 8040 Assessment and Evaluation of Youth Programs (3)
  • YDP 8050 Youth Development in the Context of Family (3)
  • YDP 8060 Youth Development in the Context of a Global and Diverse Society (3)
  • YDP 8080 Grantsmanship (3)
  • YDP 8090 Management of Staff and Volunteers (3)
  • YDP 8880 Special Topics in Youth Development Leadership (3)
  • YDP 8890 Independent Study in Youth Development (1-6) (elective)
  • YDP 8900 The Profession of Youth Development Leadership (3)
  • PADM 8410 Public Data Analysis (3)

South Carolina is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and Clemson University (CU) is an approved SARA institution, which means we adhere to established standards for offering post-secondary e-learning programs in all member states. Please review our state authorizations to see if this program is offered in your state and our process for student complaints against the university.


For more information about this online program, please visit the Master of Science in Youth Development Leadership webpage, or contact Barry A Garst, Ph.D., Professor and Program Director

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per credit hour

The Clemson Masters in Youth Development Leadership online program is assessed as a Tier Four Online Graduate Program. Please check the Student Financial Services Page for the most accurate tuition rates.

Program contact

Barry A Garst, Ph.D., Professor and Program Director