Youth and Emerging Adult… | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
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Department of Christian Ministries
Youth and Emerging Adult Studies
Students in group conversation outside
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.

Why do youth and emerging adult studies at Northwestern?

You have the opportunity to spread the Gospel to the next generation of young people and prepare them to make an impact in their local churches and communities. You can choose a concentration in youth and emerging adult ministry, social justice, nonprofit leadership, worship and creative arts, or camp and conference center administration. The concentration track in this major is also flexibly designed for students hoping to double major. You’ll be equipped for a career in youth ministry or nonprofit youth work when you graduate because you’ll have spent 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 LTD (Leadership, Training, and Development) program is one tool that God has been using to equip leaders for ministry around the world.

If you feel called to work with young adults in local church ministry or through a community organization, this might be the right degree for you.

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

Accelerated M.A. in Ministry Leadership

Students may apply through the Ministry department to combine an undergraduate degree in Youth and Emerging Adult Studies with an accelerated Master of Arts 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 pathway saves students time and tuition expense as they add a graduate degree to their portfolio.

Considering a double major?

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


of seniors believe the faculty are genuinely interested in their welfare


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


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

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
View Career Guide

Preparing for a Career

College graduation rates continue to increase each year making competition for jobs even greater. Set yourself apart from the crowd with the following strategies for getting started, networking, and gaining experience.

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.

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