Youth and Community Studies

A young woman discusses a painting in the Blanton Museum with several youths.

Program Benefits

Small Class Sizes

Experiential Learning

Study Abroad Options

Professional Concentration Options

Multiple Career Paths

Youth and Community Studies (YCS) prepares you to work with people of all ages in a variety of settings that do not require teacher certification. If you are interested in teaching, there are options to prepare for Texas certification in middle school and high school English language arts or social studies, as well as all-level physical education teacher certification.

When you major in YCS, you will prepare for a variety of careers:

  • 7th – 12th-grade teacher certification in English language arts
  • 7th – 12th-grade teacher certification in social studies
  • youth sports programs
  • parks and recreation departments
  • child development centers or after-school programs
  • assisted living communities
  • government agencies
  • non-profit organizations related to criminal justice and advocacy programs

Courses in This Major

As a Youth and Community Studies major, you will take 24 hours of courses that focus on individual differences, cultural and linguistic diversity, human learning in multilingual and multicultural context, social concerns, children’s cognitive, social and emotional developmental theories, motivational value of play, effective physical education, health education and social justice.

  • ALD 320 Cognition, Human Learning, & Motivation
  • ALD 321 Play in Early Childhood Development
  • EDC 350G Adolescent Development
  • ALD 322 Individual Differences
  • ALD 327 Sociocultural Influences on Learning
  • ALD 329 Acquisition of Language & Literacies
  • ALD 331 Restorative Practices
  • HED 329K Child & Adolescent Health

Professional Concentrations

You will choose courses that fit with one of the following concentrations:

  • Early Childhood – Coursework deals primarily with child and adolescent development and family relationships.
  • Special Populations – Coursework comes from such areas as communication science disorders, kinesiology, and social work, and provides an overview of communication disorders, increasing cultural awareness, and developing systems for individuals with disabilities.
  • Coaching – Coursework covers fundamentals of coaching, theory, and practice as well as physiological and psychological aspects of sport.
  • Urban Teachers – Prepares you to obtain secondary teacher certification in English Language Arts or social studies. 
  • Youth and Social Services–Required courses cover topics in substance abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment. Elective topics range from the psychosocial aspects of aging to juvenile delinquency and criminal justice.

Check the 2020-2022 degree plan for a list of courses eligible for each concentration.

7th – 12th Grade English Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher Certification

In addition to the YCS coursework, you will need to complete the UT Urban Teachers Program Professional Development Sequence. This is a teacher preparation program that includes coursework, fieldwork and observations, and student teaching.

Certificates, Minors, and Specializations

Certificates and Minors

In addition to the YCS major, you can complete a minor or certificate program that complements your studies.

These are the most common certificates and minors:


If you are interested in furthering your education in kinesiology and health, you are encouraged to choose a specialization. The Department of Kinesiology and Health Education offers seven specializations. For details, please visit our KHE Specializations page.

How to Apply