Adolescent Development (Graduate Certificate)

Adolescent Development (Graduate Certificate)
Young adolescents

Why get a graduate certificate in adolescent development?

A certificate in adolescent development will help you advance your career and gain the training you need for work in fields that support the health and well-being of adolescents. You’ll learn to tailor programs, policies and other interventions to meet the developmental needs of your clients in a range of applications, from therapeutic recreation programs and camps to clinical settings. Your coursework will include research and theory related to fundamental topics such as human sexuality, race, class, gender and families, substance use, violence, and adolescence and the law.

Why get your adolescent development certificate at UNH?

You can acquire expertise in adolescent development efficiently and affordably at UNH—the certificate may be completed in one year and costs less than a two-year master's degree program. Many courses are offered at times that give working students flexibility in scheduling. If you’re considering continuing your studies, up to 12 credits may be applied to the human development and family studies child or adolescent development. Mentorship is provided by nationally recognized faculty.

Potential careers

  • Advocate
  • Community center administrator
  • Family social worker
  • Guidance counselor
  • Healthcare provider
  • Juvenile parole officer
  • Marriage and family therapist
  • Researcher
  • Social worker
  • Teacher

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Curriculum & Requirements

Beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year, the Graduate Certificate in Adolescent Development will no longer be accepting new students. Current students will continue to have access to the same high-quality education and resources until they graduate.

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of New Hampshire offers a one-year, minimum 15-credit, multidisciplinary program of study leading to a graduate certificate in adolescent development.

The certificate program is intended for individuals who may be working in the field but lack specific knowledge about adolescent development such as professionals employed by social-service agencies, juvenille justice facilities and child welfare programs, educational institutions, and independent programs that provide pogramming and services to adolescents.  A certificate in Adolescent Development is ideal for professionals in a variety of youth-related fields.

The certificate program builds general competence in understanding and applying theory and research regarding adolescent development with particular emphasis on the influences of family and communities.  The program is grounded in an ecological approach that focuses on supporting the health and well-being of all adolescents, with special attention to using a developmental perspective to develop programs, policies, and other interventions that address contemporary risk and protective factors.

A certificate in adolescent development is awarded upon successful completion of 14-15 credits.
Other human development and family studies or multidisciplinary electives may be selected with advisor approval.

Core Required Courses
HDFS #950Contemporary Issues in Adolescent Development4
HDFS 995Seminar and Special Problems4
Electives 1
HDFS Electives (select at least one)
HDFS 846
Human Sexuality
HDFS 857
Race, Class, Gender, and Families
HDFS 876
Children, Adolescents and the Law
HDFS 897
Special Topics
HDFS 991
Professional Issues for Family Specialists
HDFS 993
Theoretical Approaches to Human Development and Family Studies
Multidisciplinary Electives
SOC 815
Criminological Theory
SOC 820
Sociology of Drug Use
SOC 840
Sociology of Mental Health
SOC 975
Sociology of the Family
SW 805
Child and Adolescent Risks and Resiliency: Program, Policy and Practice
SW 815
Affirming Practice with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ People
RMP 805
Management and Policy in Therapeutic Recreation

One elective must be fulfilled with a Human Development and Family Studies course.

Grade Policy

A graduate student who fails a course must immediately attend a mandatory meeting with the instructor of the course, the Human Development and Family Studies Graduate Coordinator, and, if desired, the student's adviser. If a graduate student receives grades below "B-­" in two or more courses, the Human Development and Family Studies Graduate Coordinator will make a recommendation to the Graduate School that the student be dismissed from the Human Development and Family Studies Graduate program.

Apply now


 Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Suspended program effective spring 2023
  • Spring: Suspended program effective spring 2023
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $25

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of Recommendation: 2 Required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Additional Department Requirements

In addition to the regular graduate school requirements, a personal interview may be required.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Explore Program Details

The certificate program may be completed in one year.

The certificate program costs less than a two-year master's program, providing an efficient, affordable avenue for students to acquire expertise in adolescent development.

Many of the suggested courses are offered once per week in a three-hour block, and/or are offered in the late afternoon or evening, and one of the two core courses is an independent study that gives working students flexibility in scheduling.

Up to 12 credits may be applied to the Human Development and Family Studies master of science program in Adolescent Development or Child Development.

Take the Next Step

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Thompson Hall
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