All students must complete a minimum of 60 units (ECTS) of course work. The programme regards six courses (30 ECTS) and an internship/research component (30 ECTS). The programme starts in September and consists of :

The programme starts with an introduction to Youth Studies, with contributions from both the behavioural sciences and the social sciences. The most important theoretical and empirical principles for studying youth issues will be discussed and elaborated.

Key to this course, and to the Youth Studies Master’s programme as a whole, is that the attitudes, emotions and behaviours of young people must be understood as the outcome of complex interactions between individual risk and protective factors (e.g. psychopathology, temperament, intelligence), and factors located in the broader social and societal environment of young people (e.g. family, peer and neighbourhood characteristics, (digital) media, class, ethnicity).

How can we intervene in adolescents’ increase in perceived stress? What can we do to support parents to guide and buffer their children’s risk behaviour? Youth issues such as these can be addressed by developing interventions. Drawing on principles of systematic programme planning, different approaches for the development of social policies and interventions are presented, with a focus on a systematic intervention planning approach.

Throughout the course it is emphasized that the development of social policies and interventions does not take place in a social and policy vacuum. Researchers, scholars, professionals and affected individuals and communities each contribute to the development of social policies and interventions aiming at youth issues.

To illustrate these fascinating processes, examples will be provided regarding issues such as youth mental health and wellbeing, youth risk behaviours (e.g. alcohol and excessive smartphone use), externalizing problems, and social inequality among youth.

In this course, students study a topic and formulate a stimulating research question, based on a state-of-the-art review of existing theories and empirical research.

Students are invited to answer their research question from an interdisciplinary perspective. This involves combining concepts and methods from both the behavioural and social sciences into a unified theoretical explanatory model.

The literature review and formulation of a research question will result in a written Introduction similar to those in academic research articles in either Dutch or English. This paper will also form a foundation for the Master’s project in Youth Studies.

How can policy measures and interventions best be implemented? And how can one determine whether interventions and policy programmes achieve the intended effects? This course provides students with insight into various methods of implementation and evaluation research, with explicit attention to conclusions that can or cannot be derived from different types of evaluation research.

Contexts in which implementation and evaluation processes take place are discussed, and, in addition, attention is paid to the choices implementers have to make in sometimes complex or difficult circumstances, and to the role of a social scientist in research with a practical aim.

The Academic Professional course helps students to develop a professional identity and prepare them for the labour market. Important skills to be trained include critical reflection, academic integrity, ethical professional practice, entrepreneurial talents and lifelong learning. The course also focuses on practical skills, essential in finding employment.

Ethical dilemmas are studied in various parts of the course (lectures, assignment). Guest lecturers, that is, alumni and professionals in the field of Youth Studies, encourage students to learn about their future field of work and the labour market.

Students start to develop their own professional identity. For example, students can participate in training courses and/or conduct networking meetings. These activities may be linked to their internship at an organisation addressing youth issues.

Elective course

The elective course is intended to further develop an individually tuned graduation profile.

Master's project

The Master’s project consists of an internship and a Master’s thesis. Students can choose between two variants of the Master’s project: a combined research internship and thesis track (RIT), or a track including a practical internship and a separate thesis on basis of existing data provided by Youth Studies researchers (TED).

For students in the RIT track, the final products consist of a research internship report (10 ECTS) and a thesis based on data collected by the student during the internship (20 ECTS).

Students do a research internship at an organisation involved in youth issues. In the course ‘Key issues in Youth Studies’, students identify an issue that is relevant for the internship organisation, describe relevant research questions and design a research plan. During the internship, this research plan will be carried out and data will be collected in order to answer the research questions.

The analysis of research data and reporting on these analyses result in an academic article written in Dutch or English. Writing their Master’s thesis, students build on the Introduction that they wrote during the course ‘Key issues in Youth Studies’. The thesis has to be written individually.

For students in the TED track, the final products consist of a practical internship report (15 ECTS) and a thesis based on existing data (15 ECTS) provided by Youth Studies researchers or by the internship organisation.

In a practical internship, students work in an organisation that is involved in youth issues. The internship entails independently carrying out activities that are part of the job description of an academic professional active in the field of youth. This can vary from performing support activities in the development or implementation of policy and interventions, to supporting and conducting social scientific research at the service of the internship organisation.

Writing their Master’s thesis, students build on the Introduction that they wrote during the course ‘Key issues in Youth Studies’. In the Master’s thesis, students answer the research questions that they posed in their research plans. In doing so, they use existing data of ongoing research projects being conducted by the Youth Studies research (e.g. TRAILS, HBSC, Digital Youth Project, SNARE) or existing data from the internship organisation.

The analysis of research data and reporting on these analyses result in an academic article written in Dutch or English. The thesis has to be written individually. In addition, students in the TED track will work 60 hours in ongoing research projects of Youth Studies staff to compensate for the fact that they were provided with free, professional quality data for their thesis.