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Explore how youth use and apply technology and learn how to promote digital literacy with the online Youth Informatics Certificate (YIC) program from the University of Tennessee School of Information Sciences. The program provides valuable information, leadership training, and credentialing to any professional engaged or interested in youth services and interactions, such as school or public librarians, MakerSpace coordinators, teachers, researchers, education administrators, youth group leaders, and more!

Professor Dania Bilal


“Youth Informatics focuses on understanding today’s “digital youth” information needs, behaviors, formal and informal learning, and use of digital information technologies. The Certificate program provides a unique opportunity to develop deep understanding of the cognitive, psychological, political, and technological processes that are shaping youth’s digital learning, practices, and engagement.”

DANIA BILAL, Professor, SIS Coordinator of Youth Informatics

How Can the Youth Informatics Certificate be Applied?

The digital age is quickly changing the way young people learn, seek information, and communicate. It’s important to gain the skills to adapt and respond to their needs, challenges, and social issues in an evolving digital landscape. The YIC program approaches the personal, organizational, and holistic level of how youth interact with technology and information which can be applied to many settings and initiatives, including:

  • Public Libraries
  • Digital Learning Spaces
  • Product Design & Development
  • Youth Service Development
  • Youth Technology Training
  • Digital Literacy Education
  • Youth Research & Development
  • Youth Social Services
  • Community Building Programs
  • Youth Mentorship Programs
  • Youth Social Media Education

Explore the Curriculum

The 12-credit-hour YIC certificate program consists of 3 core classes on youth and social informatics, and one class covering children in contemporary society or developmental psychology.

Required Courses (3 credit hours each, 9 total)

INSC 583: Introduction to Youth Informatics

3 Credit Hours
“Introduces the study of youth informatics. Presents essential concepts of the study of youth and informatics. Explores the connection between youth, technology, and community. Project driven with intensive experiential learning components.” (SIS Graduate Student Handbook) This course is beneficial to anyone interested in working with youth up to age 21, in any type of community organization or institution. By learning about information behavior, community engagement, youth development, social justice, and technology as tools – specifically as these things relate to youth – you will become a much more effective (and much more engaged) practitioner. Because of the advances of technology and changes in the way we think about youth, it is important for adolescents and teens to have knowledgeable adults as partners as they share, use, evaluate, manage, and create (or co-create) their own information sources and services.

INSC 593: Seminar in Youth Informatics

3 Credit Hours
Explores key areas in youth informatics. Seminar includes discussion of basic, applied, and evaluative research and projects at the national and international levels.  Covers research trends in youth informatics. Provides a forum for presentation and criticism of past and current research by students.

INSC 542: Social Informatics

3 Credit Hours
Social consequences of information and communication technologies (ICT) at micro-(e.g., personal level), meso-(e.g., organizational level) and at macro-level (e.g., information society studies), and applications of ICT for businesses, government, and society are covered by the umbrella term “social informatics.” It is a highly multi-disciplinary area worth exploring, since it will expose you to a range of contemporary global issues and phenomena shaped by ICT-mediated information.

Choose from one of the following (3 credit hours total), or propose an equivalent course from the graduate catalog:

CFS 515 – Children in Contemporary Society

3 Credit Hours
Theory and research on environmental and developmental issues in contemporary family situations and educational environments for children from infancy through middle childhood. Implications for programs and policy.

PSYC 511 – Developmental Psychology

3 Credit Hours
Normal processes of human socialization; physical, cognitive, and emotional development from conception through infancy, childhood, and adolescence.

*Continuing education (CWS) credit available

Youth on Computer

Online Courses, Hands-on Learning

Our class space is intended to be a safe, intellectually stimulating, and collaborative for learning, where respect of everyone’s thoughts, voice, and experiences are important. Classes involve experiential learning, including practice- and situation-based problem solving that lead to understanding and using reflective thought to augment learning.


Online graduate courses at the University of Tennessee School of Information Sciences are among the most affordable nationwide. According to the 2019-2020 UT Schedule of Maintenance, Tuition & Fees for online students that are TN, AR, DE, VA, and WV residents pay $700 per credit hour, and out of state students pay $775 per credit hour.

➡️ View Graduate Tuition Rates in Detail (PDF)

Application Requirements

The Youth Informatics Certificate program is open to any practitioner with a graduate degree and/or any graduate student currently enrolled in a graduate program. The certificate application process varies depending on individual circumstances:

  1. Visit the Graduate School application website.
  2. Create/Log in your account.
  3. In the “Program Selection” section, in the bar titled “Search for a Program Name”, type “Youth Informatics”. This will generate two options:
    • To apply for the on-campus program, select the option under “Communication and Information”
    • To apply for the distance education (online) program, select the option under “Distance Education (Online Programs)”

➡️ Start Your Application to the Certificate Program

All current University of Tennessee graduate students can earn the certificate by completing the required courses. MSIS students can earn the certificate as part of their Master’s degree coursework.


Request More Information about the Youth Informatics Certificate Program