Youth and Emerging Adult… | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
Department of Christian Ministries
Youth and Emerging Adult Studies
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Department of Christian Ministries

Youth and Emerging Adult Studies


  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Undergraduate

125 credits

required for program

Minor Available

PSEO/Early college online classes

125 credits

125 credits

required for program

Minor Available

PSEO/Early college online classes

Ignite a fire inside the hearts of young people for Jesus Christ. Learn how to connect with them and share the truth that they are part of God’s family and will never be alone. The youth and emerging adult studies major equips you to work in ministry for youth and emerging adults in local church, parachurch, and community organizations. You’ll also be prepared for seminary or further graduate study.

Youth and emerging adult studies may be the right degree for you if you

  • feel called to work with young adults in a local church or community organization
  • want to lead the next generation to Christ
  • are interested in developing your leadership and relational skills

Why do youth and emerging adult studies at Northwestern?

You have the opportunity to spread the Gospel to the next generation of young people. You will have the privilege of making an impact in local churches and communities.

There are many concentrations available in youth and emerging adult ministry including:

  • social justice
  • non-profit leadership
  • worship and creative arts
  • camp and conference center administration

The concentration track in this major is flexible and designed for students hoping to double major. You’ll be equipped for a career in youth ministry or non-profit youth work when you graduate, because you’ll spend 200 hours ministering during required internships.

You can also train as a ministry leader at the Forest Springs Camp & Conference Center. Since its founding in 1958, Forest Springs has been committed to developing Christian leaders. The camp's Leadership, Training, and Development (LTD) program equips leaders for global ministry.

What degree concentrations are offered in Youth and Emerging Adult Studies?

Accelerated M.A. in Ministry Leadership

Students can apply through the ministry department to combine an undergraduate degree in Youth and Emerging Adult Studies with an accelerated M.A. degree in Ministry Leadership. Youth and Emerging Adult Studies majors complete up to 16 credits of the M.A. degree during their undergraduate program and the remaining 20 credits during a fifth year of study. The fifth year can be completed on site or through online learning. This option saves students time and expenses as they add a graduate degree.

Considering a double major?

A degree in Youth and Emerging Adult Studies works well as a double major with a Music degree with an emphasis in Music Ministry. See the Chair of the Department of Christian Ministries for details and advising.

Careers in youth and emerging adult studies

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in youth and emerging adult studies.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Campus ministry
  • Christian education
  • Curriculum development (church/para-church)
  • Early adult ministry coordinator
  • Pastoral roles to young adults
  • Parachurch ministry worker
  • Social/human services worker or case manager
  • Camp administrator
  • Fund development
  • Disaster/aid relief worker
  • Program administration or development
  • Dorm parent/international school or residential treatment facility
  • Missions or tent making ministry
  • Residence life or student development
  • Job development or life skills coaching

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Christian colleges
  • Local churches and denominational offices
  • Mission agencies
  • Parachurch organizations
  • Social and human services organizations
  • Educational programs (non-licensure)
  • Curriculum publishing companies
  • Residential treatment programs
  • Parks and recreation programs
  • Community services agencies/programs
  • National and international humanitarian aid organizations

Strategies for success:

  • Pursue mentoring relationships with ministry leaders you respect.
  • Obtain part-time, Summer, internship or volunteer experiences in churches as well as hospitals, camps, or overseas programs, or in advocacy or service-oriented programs addressing alcoholism, drug abuse, family violence, aging, poverty, disabilities, etc.
  • Serve as a peer mentor, resident assistant, or student advisor to cultivate leadership and program development skills.
  • Keep your finger on the pulse of pop culture and the pressures young adults face. Know the trends that will affect your ministry.
  • Early in your career, you may need to supplement ministry income with other work.
View Career Guide
96%

of seniors believe the faculty are genuinely interested in their welfare

99%

of seniors are able to discuss their major through a biblical worldview

100%

of Northwestern’s youth and emerging adult studies graduates felt professionally prepared by their education

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