Youth Development and Social Justice, Minor

Program Code: YDVSJ_UMNR

Program Description

The 19-credit minor was designated to help you understand the unique challenges facing adolescents and youth in our rapidly changing world. The Youth Development and Social Justice program offers an interdisciplinary minor open to all PSU BW students. Students enter our program with the desire to support adolescents, youth, and their communities; they graduate with the skills, experience, and knowledge to do so effectively. Students will acquire tools to work with individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, teamwork, and flexibility, as well as greater persistence and communications abilities - valuable assets that employers seek.

The Youth Development and Social Justice minor is offered for students who wish to add sociopolitical analysis skill and practical experience working with diverse youth to their undergraduate major.

The minor is flexible so that students can tailor their course choices to accommodate individual interests and match the resources at each campus. Students should seek the advice of the minor adviser for course selection. The provided supporting course list is a list of possibilities that each campus can adapt to best fit their unique context.

What is Youth Development and Social Justice?

The Youth Development and Social Justice program focuses on the promotion of positive youth development within the context of social justice. The YDSJ framework views young people as assets and active change agents with the capacity to transform their communities for the better.

The program provides an overview of the interconnectedness between youth development and youth resistance to social injustice. Students in the YDSJ minor will: 1) analyze issues of equity and oppression in relation to youth development, 2) work directly with youth in the community, and 3) apply theory to practice to build on the strengths of communities and youth.

The program is experiential in nature and students learn by doing in youth-led workshops and community settings. Students will acquire tools to work with individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, develop creative mindsets, as well as greater persistence and communication skills – valuable assets that employers seek.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You are interested in youth empowerment and social change
  • You want to study big questions, such as: 'what does equitable education look like?' and 'how does youth organizing translate to social policy?'.
  • You want to make a difference in the lives of youth and communities
  • You want to learn about the impact of discrimination and oppression on youth development
  • You want to pursue a career in behavioral health, social work, education, advocacy, nonprofit administration, community development, public policy, community organizing, or criminal justice.

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 19

Requirements for the Minor

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Some prerequisites may be required to meet the requirements for this minor.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
HDFS 175NIntroduction to Youth Development and Arts-based Social Justice Keystone/General Education Course3
HDFS 400Youth Development and Social Justice Capstone Seminar4
HDFS 239Adolescent Development Keystone/General Education Course3
Supporting Courses
Supporting Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits from the following courses (One of the supporting courses must be 400-level):6
Intercultural Communication Theory and Research
Juvenile Delinquency Keystone/General Education Course
Gangs and Gang Behavior
The Juvenile Justice System
Environmental Factors and Their Effect on Your Food Supply
Values and Ethics in Health and Human Development Professions
Communities and Families
The Helping Relationship
Resolving Human Development and Family Problems
Developmental Problems in Childhood and Adolescence
Developmental Transition to Adulthood
HDFS 468
Peace and Conflict Studies Seminar
Introduction to the Psychology of Gender Keystone/General Education Course
Applied Social Psychology
Multicultural Psychology in America
Health Psychology
The Psychology of Gender
Social Problems Keystone/General Education Course

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


Please note, the University also offers an undergraduate certificate in Youth Development and Social Justice.


Marinda Harrell-Levy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
52 Yearsley Mill Road
Media, PA 19063

Career Paths

The Youth Development and Social Justice certificate will support a multitude of careers in youth development and justice work, including adolescent behavioral health, education, and corrections. Additional career examples include the following: Advocate, Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), Community Health Worker, Community Specialist, Government Programs Employee, Specialist, Mental Health Counselor, Political Analyst, Social Services Director, Social Worker, Community Organizer, Youth Corrections, and Restorative Justice Programmer.



25 Yearsley Mill Road
Media, PA 19063