Youth and Community Development (B.S.)

students standing in a hallway

Bachelor of Science

Program highlights

The B.S. in Youth and Community Development is a course of professional development for youth workers in afterschool and out-of-school time programs, and informal learning environments. It is based on theoretical perspectives in childhood, adolescent, and family development, best pedagogical practices and grounded in an ethic of family engagement and social action. It prepares change agents to transform communities through an intentional investment in youth with interdisciplinary coursework and community-based experiences.

Industry highlights

"Employment of community and social service occupations is projected to grow 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations."Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Program overview

The B.S. in Youth and Community Development prepares youth development professionals to take roles in diverse youth-serving, family and community settings. It is part of the larger movement to elevate and professionalize the field of youth development and encourages thriving communities by building quality and capacity in youth-serving settings.

Why youth and community development at Western Michigan University

  • Students benefit from interdisciplinary coursework and community-based experiences.
  • The B.S. in Youth and Community Development is designed to build the skills and knowledge outlined in the National AfterSchool Association’s Core Knowledge and Competencies for afterschool and youth development professionals.
  • Graduates of this program may seek provisional status as a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) by the National Council on Family Relations.

Who should apply

The B.S. in Youth and Community Development is designed for high school graduates, returning students and current youth workers who seek

  • to develop understandings and competencies in organizing effective learning environments and experiences to promote human flourishing
  • to assume leadership roles in youth-serving settings

Career opportunities

Graduates may pursue careers in

  • out-of-school, community service and youth activism programs
  • public and private human services organizations and agencies
  • dropout prevention and alternative education
  • juvenile justice

Graduates may also assume positions in informal learning environments such as

  • museums
  • nature centers
  • environmental education
  • outdoor and adventure programs

Program curriculum

Many courses are delivered online or in a hybrid format (online and in-person).

View the program curriculum.