Adolescent Development


About this course

The lectures in this course focus on the intra- and interpersonal changes that occur during the adolescent period, including changes related to biological, socio-emotional, cognitive and moral development) as well as changes in the social context (including changes in family relations and peer relations and the larger society). Lectures focus on traditional and new theoretical perspectives on adolescent development, contemporary research that tests and informs these theories, and how theory and research relate to policy and practice.

The seminars focus on applying adolescent research. For the practical assignment, each student will invite an adolescent for an interview and to complete questionnaires. This will result in a large dataset, which will be analyzed, interpreted, and reported.

The final grade for the course will be based on grades from the exams and written assignments.

Assumed knowledge
For international students interested in taking the course Adolescent Development, it is highly recommended that they have successfully completed an Introductory Psychology course and a Developmental Psychology course and have at least a basic knowledge of statistics and research methods. Students should be second or third year students who are studying psychology or a related field in their home university.

Note: The entire course will be taught in English. This also includes assignments and exams.

Learning outcomes

All lectures and course material will be given in English. Students will be required to complete all examinations and assignments in English too. The interview with an adolescent can be done in Dutch.

This advanced course is particularly useful for those aspiring to work with youth and/or adults. Adolescence is a life period that is characterized with many psychological changes and specific needs. Knowledge about typical and atypical development during adolescence is necessary to understand future clients.

The general goal of this course is twofold: 1) have students gain knowledge concerning the important theories, concepts, issues and research in the field of adolescent development; 2) have students engage in adolescent research by interviewing an adolescent, collecting data, and writing a research report based on a large dataset.

After completing this course students will be able to:

  1. Identify the biological, psychological and social developmental processes and changes that occur during adolescence

  2. Interpret how these processes and changes in relation to current theories on adolescent development.

  3.   Identify and analyze the major societal, physical, and mental health issues affecting adolescents.  
  4.   Demonstrate knowledge of how scientific methodology is applied to the study of adolescent development.  
  5.   Execute adolescent research using multiple methodologies common to the field.  
  6. Formulate a research question and analyze and interpret the findings in terms of major developmental theories and current adolescent research.

  7. Write a research report of the study

Relation between assessment and objective
The exams are designed to examine whether the students have mastered the first four learning aims of the course. The practical assignments are designed to have students demonstrate their ability to conduct research focusing on adolescents (aim 5) and analyze, interpret, and report findings in line with the literature (aims 6,7).

Required prior knowledge

You must meet the following requirements

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Utrecht University.


  • Start date

    3 February 2025

    • Ends
      18 April 2025
    • Term *
      Period 3
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    Enrolment starts in 159 days
For guests registration, this course is handled by Utrecht University