Graduate Certificate in Child & Youth Policy

This four-course (14-credit) credit-bearing graduate certificate focuses on developing skills and knowledge needed for child and youth policy and/or advocacy. It is intended for those interested in working on behalf of children (ages 0–12) and adolescents (ages 13–20) being served in education, health, or juvenile justice settings. Courses examine issues in education policy, child policy (beyond education contexts), juvenile justice, and the policymaking process. This certificate will provide the theoretical, empirical, and practical knowledge necessary to understand applied developmental science research, to disseminate such research to policymakers, to network and communicate with policymakers, and to describe the history and current facts behind policies affecting children.

Learning Outcomes

Students who have completed the Graduate Certificate in Child & Youth Policy will have achieved the following learning outcomes:

  • Understand how research knowledge of child and youth development and education can be used to inform policy
  • Understand the field of public policy and the process and cycles of policymaking.
  • Synthesize and summarize historical and current policies affecting children, youth, and their families.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate and network with policy stakeholders via oral and written communication and how to disseminate this knowledge via policy networks.


Students must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and be enrolled either full- or part-time in a master’s or doctoral degree program at Boston University.

There are also prerequisite foundational courses from Wheelock, the School of Social Work, or the School of Public Health that students must have taken prior to enrollment in the certificate program. These prerequisite courses can be substituted for equivalent courses with the permission of the Program Director.

Prerequisite Courses

Developmental/Educational Courses (must have taken one of the following)

  • SED AP 523 Family & Community Engagement (2 cr)
  • SED CE 705 Lifespan Development (4 cr)
  • SED DS 504 Adolescent Development (3 cr)
  • SED EC 605 Topics in Child Development & Education (4 cr)
  • SED SE 504 Introduction to Early Childhood Disabilities (2 cr)
  • SED SE 706 Introduction to Special Education (4 cr)
  • SPH MC 725 Women, Children, and Adolescents: A Public Health Approach (4 cr)
  • SPH MC 770 Children with Special Health Care Needs (4 cr)
  • SPH MC 795 The Health of Adolescents and Emerging Adults (4 cr)
  • SSW CP 782 Stress and Trauma in The Early Years: Interventions with Young Children and Families (4 cr)

Research Method Courses (must have taken one of the following)

  • SED RS 600 Introduction to Research (4 cr)
  • SED RS 652 Qualitative Research Methods (4 cr)
  • SED RS 653 Quantitative Research Methods (4 cr)
  • SPH MC 776 Advanced Practice and Research Methods for Public Health Equity (4 cr)
  • SSW SR 743 Introduction to Social Work Research I (4 cr)

Required Courses for the Certificate

  • SED AP 631 Child Policy (4 cr)
  • SED AP 632 Child and Youth Advocacy (2 cr)
  • SED AP 753 Education Policy (4 cr) or SED AP 680 Education Policy and International Perspective (4 cr)
  • SED HD 511 Social and Policy Perspectives in Positive Youth Development (4 cr)

For more information, contact the Program Director.