Youth Development and Leadership Concentration

This concentration provides a strong foundation in the sociology and public policy issues that affect positive youth development and leadership.

Youth development and leadership is a growing field of interest. Students choosing this concentration will receive a solid grounding in curriculum, assessment, and developmental and abnormal psychology, as well as a variety of topics that impact student success such as substance abuse, family dynamics, contexts of ethnicity, class, and gender, and public policy.

Degree Requirements

Educational Studies (a non-licensure major)

The educational studies major at Saint Mary's University provides opportunities for students to study education theory and examine the processes involved in teaching and learning. The program emphasizes the study of social and cultural factors that affect education institutions and the ways education processes are used in other settings. Students completing this major will connect education coursework to social advocacy by choosing a concentration in adult education contexts; child and family contexts; religious education; or youth development and leadership.

Many occupations in the areas of human services, psychology, sociology and theology include a need to understand education. The educational studies major prepares students to work in fields related to social and behavioral science, to pursue employment in the area of educational policy, to do graduate study in Education or a related field, and to enter the teaching profession in settings that do not require state licensure. (These include adult basic or adult ELL education, community education, environmental or outdoor education, Head Start, long-term volunteering, Montessori or Waldorf training, museum education, religious education and youth leadership.) The major is also appropriate for students whose special interest in law or business requires a deep understanding of educational issues.

Although the educational studies major does not lead to teacher licensure, it is possible to "cross over" during the undergraduate program from this major into an education major that does lead to certification. The major is also designed to support students who may be interested in pursuing a teacher licensure program at a later date. One way this can be accomplished is through an undergraduate completion program. Students following this path are encouraged to meet with School of Education advisors early in their course of study to identify which courses meet undergraduate general education requirements and also are needed for teacher licensure.

The educational studies major is a creative partnership between the departments of education, social science and theology based on their shared dedication to preparing undergraduates to provide educational services in diverse and rapidly changing settings. Guided by Saint Mary's mission, this major prepares students to make ethical decisions and to be effective advocates for those who are vulnerable in society. Each student declaring the educational studies major will have two academic advisors – one in education, and a second in social science (for concentrations in adult education contexts, child and family contexts or youth development and leadership) or in theology (for the religious education concentration).


Adult education contexts (e.g., behavioral and mental health, recreation or program development)

Child and family contexts (e.g., school readiness and developmental intervention programs)

Religious education (e.g., schools, parishes and curriculum development)

Youth development and leadership (e.g., behavioral and mental health, mentoring and recreation)

A. Educational Studies Core

(20 credits)

ED250 Human Relations, Cultural Diversity and Indian Cultures (2 cr.)

This course provides a general introduction to human relations, cultural diversity and Indian cultures as these concepts relate to teaching and learning in the K–12 classroom. Emphasis is placed on providing the students with additional knowledge, expertise or skills in creating a classroom learning climate conducive to supporting differences in cultural, ethnic, racial and gender backgrounds. Special emphasis is placed on gaining an understanding of Minnesota and Wisconsin Indian cultures.

ED306 Learning and Development (5 cr.)

In this course, the concept of learning is examined through the cognitive, social-emotional, moral and physical developmental stages of learners.  Principles of teaching and learning are developed in the context of learning theory, teacher effectiveness, learner differences, and building a positive classroom climate.  Students engage in the central question:  What do highly effective teacher leaders know, think and do with respect to learning, development, and learner differences?  Students also participate in a significant clinical experience.

ED307 Educational Technology (1 cr.)

This course is designed to prepare future teachers to utilize 21st century technology tools in and out of the classroom to improve student-learning opportunities.  Pre-service teachers will learn how to engage with current technologies for instruction, identify multi-media tools to support student learning, and become familiar with tools of technology that can be used to communicate effectively with parents and students. An electronic portfolio will be used to demonstrate learning.

ES298 Field Experience (1-9 cr.)

Exploring the field of Educational Studies.

ES496 Integrative Internship Experience (1-12 cr.)


PY111 General Psychology (3 cr.)

General Psychology provides an overview of the methods, fundamental principles, and major perspectives which define the discipline of psychology. Intrapersonal and/ or interpersonal psychological processes involved in the biological basis of behavior, sleeping and dreaming, conditioning and learning, cognition, lifespan human development, abnormal psychology, and psychological treatment. Classical and contemporary research and perspectives including the biological, cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic, sociocultural and evolutionary perspectives are explored. Students are actively involved through application, interactive exercises, simulations, and projects.

B. All of the following

(24 credits)

Students may take ED360 Reading: Grades 5-12 or HS211 Interviewing and Assessment.

Students may take ED370 Educational Measurement and Assessment or S250 Logic of Analysis or PY235 Quantitative Analysis for Psychological Science.

CJ352 Drugs in American Society (3 cr.)

The primary objective of this course is to provide a comprehensive survey of the use and/or abuse of drugs in the United States and their impact on the criminal justice system. Special attention is given to the historical and sociological contexts in which drug laws have evolved and the implication of those laws on drug prevention policies.

ED301 School and Society (5 cr.)

The initial focus of this course emphasizes historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations of education.  Students examine connections between theory and practice on topics within these contexts. Topics include today's students, teachers, school, teacher effectiveness, current issues, school reform, and professionalism. A second focus of the course is an extensive field experience where students observe and participate in elementary, middle, and secondary classrooms. Throughout the course an emphasis is placed on developing skills in human resources and the use of reflective practice in teaching.

ED302 Substance Abuse Prevention and Community Health (1 cr.)

This course is a general introduction to the effects of substance abuse and provides basic familiarization with chemical and public health education programs in the school and community. The course is designed to meet the Minnesota statue for obtaining a teaching license.

ED350 Curriculum and Instruction: Grades 5–12 (4 cr.)

This course is designed to prepare 5-12 pre-service teachers and educational specialists to incorporate current research-based instructional strategies into their classrooms and learn how to effectively build a positive classroom climate at the middle/high school level.  Students will learn how to work effectively at incorporating standards into unit development, design daily lesson plans that align with the standards, and construct assignments that support the diverse needs of learners. An emphasis is placed on developmentally appropriate practices and the diverse needs of learners.  Students participate in a guided clinical experience.

ED360 Reading: Grades 5–12 (2 cr.)

This course is based on the premise that every teacher is a reading teacher, and that teaching students how to learn from textbooks is as important as teaching them what to learn in specific disciplines. Major objectives of the course include using data to diagnose literacy difficulties, remediation of reading/writing deficits, effective instructional strategies for developing strategic readers and competent writers in content areas, and planning processes necessary to meet the literacy needs of students.

ED370 Educational Measurement and Assessment (2 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to help students understand and apply assessment theory to real-world situations. Appropriate practices for the construction, analysis, and interpretation of teacher-made and standardized assessment instruments are examined. Methods of monitoring student progress, evaluating student work and grading are practiced through a variety of student activities.

HS211 Interviewing and Assessment (3 cr.)

Students practice and demonstrate skills for intentional attending, development of therapeutic rapport, culturally competent interviewing and assessment, and solution-focused intervention planning.

PY211 Developmental Psychology (3 cr.)

This course explores the study of growth and development across the life span. Students are introduced to the reciprocal nature of biological, cognitive, social and cultural factors on the developing person. This is a research based introduction to understanding the expression of development in everyday life as it extends to family, friendship, youth ministry, school, neighborhood, sports, health care, and social services.

PY220 Abnormal Psychology (4 cr.)

This course investigates the dynamics of abnormal behavior. Disorders manifested in childhood and adolescence, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, somatoform disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, substance abuse, sexual disorder, and dependence, violence and abuse, and personality disorders are studied. Etiology, diagnosis, prognosis, research, prevention and therapy are considered. The interactions among biological, psychological, social and cultural factors are emphasized.

PY235 Quantitative Analysis for Psychological Science (3 cr.)

This course introduces students to statistical procedures relevant to the science of psychology.  Students will examine the theoretical bases and practical applications of descriptive and inferential statistics such as measures of central tendency, analysis of variance, correlation, and regression.  The course will emphasize the numerical and visual representations of data through the use of analysis programs such as SPSS and Excel.  Students will also attend a weekly laboratory session focused on the utilization of statistical analysis software. 

S250 Logic of Analysis (4 cr.)

This course examines the major sociological perspectives in conjunction with an instruction in the logic and procedures of gathering information about social phenomena. The course covers topics such as: the logic of the scientific method, research design, hypotheses formation, theory and methods of scaling, and research analysis.

C: Any three of the following

(9 – 10 credits)

Students may take CJ425 Ethnicity, Class and Gender or S425 Ethnicity, Class and Gender.

Students may take HS352 Public Policy or PS370 Public Policy.

CJ425 Ethnicity, Class and Gender (3 cr.)

This course provides numerous theoretical perspectives on ethnicity, class and gender along with a variety of activities which ensure each student an opportunity for developing an experience base with members of various ethnic, social class and gender communities.

CJ452 Victimology (3 cr.)

This course examines the multifaceted problem of criminal victimization. The historical and emerging roles of victimology as a field of study are examined and special attention is paid to the theoretical and policy aspects of the field.

HS352 Public Policy (4 cr.)

This course is devoted to a thorough review, analysis and evaluation of public welfare policy and at least one other topic. These topics may include but are not limited to the following: health care; environmental regulations; energy; consolidation of federal programs; affirmative action, etc. Special emphasis is given to the formulation, adoption, implementation, impact, and evaluation of public policy.

HS466 Non-profit Management (3 cr.)


PS370 Public Policy (4 cr.)

This course is devoted to a thorough review, analysis and evaluation of public welfare policy and at least one other topic. These topics may include but are not limited to the following: health care, environmental regulations, energy; consolidation of federal programs; affirmative action, etc. Special emphasis is given to the formulation, adoption, implementation, impact, and evaluation of public policy.

PY341 Health Psychology (3 cr.)

Health psychology examines theories pertaining to the relationship between health cognitions and behaviors, with special emphasis on the physiological impact of psychological processes such as stress.  It will explore both the biological and psychological components of health, focusing on classic theories and current research to foster an understanding of factors that contribute to physical and mental health and illness.

S406 Environmental Sociology (3 cr.)

This seminar course examines the enduring conflict that exists between the biophysical realm and humanly produced environments. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the social construction of environmental problems, the treadmill of production and nature, rationalization and environmental problems, and environmental justice.

S425 Ethnicity, Class and Gender (3 cr.)

This course provides numerous theoretical perspectives on ethnicity, class and gender along with a variety of activities which ensure each student an opportunity for developing an experience base with members of various ethnic, social class and gender communities.

S443 Sociology of the Family (3 cr.)

A comprehensive study of the family and associated institutions, theories and research in American family structure and function, cross-cultural comparisons, family interaction dynamics, disorganization, and change is included.