Inspire a generation

Kearsten Peoples

As a former collegiate athlete, Kearsten knows the importance of leadership in lives of youth. As an adult, she wants to be a vital influence in her community. She earned a master of arts in youth development online from the University of Missouri. With the goal of working at a non-profit, Kearsten learned about agency budgeting, fundraising, grant writing and other essential skills that will enable her to have a impactful career.

Penny Kittle

Master of Arts in Human Development and Family Science `18

Penny Kittle was looking for an opportunity to advance her career by earning her master's — what she found was so much more. Through the University of Missouri and the Great Plains IDEA program, she had the unique opportunity to share experiences with people across the world. Most importantly, she proved to herself and her family that she could overcome any obstacle that stood in her path along the way.


This program is 100 percent online: no campus visits are required.

Successful completion of the program requires 36 credit hours; 9 required courses plus 11 additional credit hours that may include electives, an internship or both.

Courses are offered by multiple public universities in the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, and some may have varying start and finish dates. Once you’re a Mizzou student in the program, you will register each semester through Mizzou regardless of the institution offering the course.

The chart below shows when the courses are traditionally offered. Courses are 3 credit hours each, unless stated otherwise. The University reserves the right to change or cancel courses as needed.

Core courses (25 credit hours)

H_D_FS 7231 Foundations of Youth Development
1 credit hour
H_D_FS 8232 Youth Professionals as Consumers of ResearchXX 
H_D_FS 8234 Adolescents and their FamiliesXX 
H_D_FS 8235 Administration and Program ManagementXX 
H_D_FS 8236 Federal and State Policies that Impact Youth DevelopmentXX 
H_D_FS 8237 Youth Cultures and the Cultures of YouthXX 
H_D_FS 8238 Program Design, Implementation and EvaluationXX 
H_D_FS 8239 Community Youth DevelopmentXX 
H_D_FS 8240 Youth DevelopmentXX 

Elective courses (9-11 credit hours)

Suggested course topics.  Topics vary by semester. Not all topics taught each year.

H_D_FS 7001 Topics in Human Development and Family Studies
Youth, Sport, & Society
H_D_FS 7001 Topics in Human Development and Family Studies
Mental Health
H_D_FS 7001 Topics in Human Development and Family Studies
Youth Families & Technology
H_D_FS 7001 Topics in Human Development and Family Studies
Work w/Adolscents w/Difficult
H_D_FS 7001 Topics in Human Development and Family Studies
Serving Youth from Small Towns to Big Cities
H_D_FS 7233 Basic Grant Development and Management XX
H_D_FS 8087 Improve the Health of Adolescents    
H_D_FS 8087 Contemporary Youth Issues: Understanding Normative Behavior in Immigrant & Minority Youth X  
H_D_FS 8087 Adolescent Sexuality, Pregnancy & Parenthood   X
ESC_PS 7575 MU Youth Development Academy: Positive Youth Development in Practice   

You may select other electives in consultation with your advisor.


You may choose to complete either a comprehensive exam or an internship (H_D_FS 8972). No course credit is assigned to the exam option.

H_D_FS 8972 Internship in Human Development and Family Science
2 credit hours
Comprehensive Exam
0 credit hours

Note For courses that require a course consent request form, please visit for permission.


You may choose to complete either a comprehensive exam or an internship (H_D_FS 8972). No course credit is assigned to the exam option.


The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

State authorization

States require that the University of Missouri be authorized to deliver university-level distance/online education to their residents. Each state handles this process differently.

Please see our state authorization page.

How to apply

  1. Fulfill the admission requirements:

    • Completed bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
    • Minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate education.
    • If English is not your native language, please submit a TOEFL score of at least 80 (internet-based test), an IELTS score of at least 6.5, a Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of at least 59 or a Cambridge C1 Advanced score of at least 180.
    • GRE scores are not required.
  2. Mark your calendar

  3. This program accepts rolling admissions, so you can apply at any time. We require you submit your application at least six weeks before the beginning of the term in which you wish to start your course work.

    Application dates

    To start classes in Apply by Classes begin
    Fall July 15 August
    Spring Nov. 15 January
    Summer April 15 June
  4. Gather your papers

  5. Applying will be easier and faster if you gather these required documents beforehand:

    • Transcripts of all previous college or university education. Upload unofficial transcripts in your online application. If you are accepted, you will be asked to provide official transcripts.
    • Three letters of recommendation. In the online application, you will need to supply names and contact details of three professionals who can attest to your critical thinking, analytical and writing skills, demonstrating your potential as a graduate student and professional. The Graduate School will contact your references with instructions regarding the letters.
    • Résumé or CV.
    • Statement of purpose outlining your career goals.
    • TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or C1 Advanced score reports for applicants whose native language is not English. For information on sending test scores, visit the Grad School website.
  6. Complete the online application

  7. Carefully follow the instructions on the application site.

    • Upload the above documents in the online application
    • Degree/Delivery: Masters- Distance (Online/Remote Site/etc.)
    • Academic Program: Human Development and Family Science/Youth Development-Distance (MA)

    Apply Here

This program is administered by the Department of Human Development and Family Science.

Program contact: