The programme consists of courses totalling 30 credits and an internship/research component amounting to 30 credits. The programme begins in September and consists of the following components:

The programme begins with an introduction to Youth Studies, with contributions from the perspectives of both the behavioural sciences and the social sciences. Here the most important theoretical and empirical principles for studying issues concerning youth are covered.

The most important theoretical principle of the Master’s programme is that the behaviour of young people should be understood as the outcome of complex interactions between individual vulnerability factors (e.g. psychopathology, temperament, intelligence), as well as risk and protective factors, and the broader social and societal environment.

In addition to addressing the direct social environment of young people (family, peers, youth culture), the programme addresses current societal developments (e.g. individualisation, increasing differentiation of household structures, the digitalisation of the youth world).

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, and implementation issues are addressed.

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

To illustrate these fascinating and important processes, examples will be provided in lectures and seminars from domains such as youth mental health and wellbeing, youth risk behaviours (e.g. alcohol and excessive smartphone use) and 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 overview of existing theory and empirical research on the theme.

The social topic in which a student is interested is approached from an interdisciplinary perspective. This involves using a combination of concepts from the behavioural and social sciences, which are combined into a single theoretical explanatory model.

The end product is the Introduction to an academic research article in either Dutch or English, in which students demonstrate their ability to provide empirical and theoretical justification for their research questions. This end product will also form the foundation for the Master’s project in Youth Studies.

The central focus of this course is on how to determine whether interventions and social policy programmes achieve the intended effects. This course provides students with insight into various methods of evaluation research, with explicit attention to the conclusions that can and cannot be derived on basis of particular types of evaluation research.

Attention is also devoted to circumstances under which evaluation research often takes place, the choices that have to be made in such circumstances and the role of the social scientist in research for practice.

The Academic Professional course helps students to develop a professional identity in preparation for the labour market. Important components include critical reflection, academic integrity, ethical professional practice, and entrepreneurial and lifelong learning. The course also focuses on practical skills that will prove essential in finding employment in the job market.

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

There is also plenty of opportunity for students to develop their own professional identity. For example, students can participate in training courses and/or conduct networking meetings. Where possible, these activities are linked to the practical internship.

Elective course

The elective course is intended to further develop your expertise and graduation profile.

Master's project

The Master’s project consists of an internship and a Master’s thesis. Students may choose between two variants for carrying out the Master’s project: a combined research internship and thesis (RIT) track, or a track including a practical internship and a separate thesis on basis of existing data (TED).

For students opting for the RIT track, the end product is a research internship report (10 ECTS) and a thesis based on data collected by the student during the internship (20 ECTS), possibly in combination with data from Interdisciplinary Social Science (ISS) or the internship organisation.

Students conduct a research internship at an organisation that is involved with youth issues. The internship consists of an individual study of policy and intervention practices (e.g. conducting an empirically-substantiated policy or intervention analysis, or developing a policy recommendation or intervention strategy) from an interdisciplinary social science perspective.

During the course ‘Key issues in Youth Studies’, each student identifies an issue that is relevant to the internship organisation and the professional field and writes a research plan for it. During the internship, this research plan will be carried out and data will be collected in order to develop an answer to the research questions.

The analysis of research data and reporting on these analyses result in an academic article written in Dutch or English. The article is an individual product.

For students opting for the TED track, the end product is a practical internship report (15 ECTS) and a thesis based on existing data (15 ECTS) provided by ISS or by the internship organisation.

In a practical internship, students fulfil an external internship with 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, execution, or implementation of policy and interventions to supporting and conducting social scientific research (or parts thereof).

When writing the Master’s thesis, students build upon the Introduction of the academic research article 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 research group on Youth in a Changing Cultural Context (YCCC) (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 article is an individual product. In addition, students using existing data will perform 60 hours of activities for ongoing research being conducted within the disciplinary group.