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Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate

Learn more about Teenagers and how they develop.

This course is suitable for teachers, parents, carers, foster carers, social workers, teaching assistants and anyone working with teenagers.

The Teenage years are a time of massive changes.  How a teenager thinks and develops during the adolescent period is an interesting area to learn about.  This certificate level course helps you to understand more about teenagers and how they change.

There are three Core Modules (compulsory):-

  • Adolescent Psychology
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health
  • Developmental, Learning and Behavioural Conditions in Children and Adolescents
  • Plus three Elective Modules which you select from a list of options.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the CERTIFICATE IN ADOLESCENT STUDIES VPS031
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 6 modules.

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Study the psychology and behaviour of adolescents

  • Learn about how teenagers grow and develop during the adolescent period.

  • A course for anyone interested in the psychology of adolescents, such as teachers, parents, fosters carers, carers, teaching assistants, coaches and so on.

Course Duration: 600 hours of self paced study.

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.

The Certificate In Adolescent Studies requires successful completion of three Core Modules plus three Elective Modules.  Within each module are a number of lessons.  Each of these culminates in an assignment for submission to the school. The assignment is marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments and, where appropriate, extra reading.

Theories of Moral Development
There are a number of important theories of moral development. Two of the important theories are Piaget's and Erikson's.

Erikson’s Psycho-Social Stages
Erik Erikson was born in Germany in 1902. He is a post-Freudian or Freudian ego-psychologist. This means that he accepts Freud’s ideas as basically correct and other ideas on the ego added by other Freudians e.g. Anna Freud and Heinz Hartmann.  However, Erikson is more culture and society oriented than most Freudians.  He based his theory on the recognition that we are social beings, so our psychological attributes cannot be treated as isolated phenomena.  Erikson is most famous for refining and expanding Freud’s theory of stages.  He argued that development functioned by the epigenetic principle.  This principle is that we developed through a predetermined unfolding of our personalities in eight stages.  We progress from each stage depending on our success or lack of it in previous stages.  We develop at a certain time in a certain order which is determined through genetics. If we interfere with this natural order of development, we will ruin our development.  Imagine our development as a flower – genetically, the flower will develop at a certain time in a certain order. But imagine that we try to make the flower grow a petal before it is ready, the flower may be ruined. The same can be said of our personalities and development.  Try and make a baby walk before they are ready and we could cause physical harm.

In his view, therefore, each stage of a person’s psychological development involves an aspect of relating to others, and the way in which we cope with each theme has a profound effect on our general social being for the rest of our lives. Unlike Piaget’s and Freud’s stages, Erikson’s eight stages extend from the cradle to the grave. For each of Erikson’s stages, there is a dominant social theme or psycho-social crisis which the individual is challenged to resolve, before continuing a healthy pattern of development.

Each stage involves developmental tasks that are psychosocial in nature.  Erikson calls these tasks crises.  For example, a child at senior school has to learn to be industrious and this industriousness is learned through the social interactions of the family and school.   The tasks are usually referred to by two terms. For example, infants have a task called “trust-mistrust”. They must learn trust and not trust.  This is a balance we must learn.

At each stage there is an optimal time.  It is useless to try to rush children towards adulthood, which can happen.  Also, it is not advisable to slow down their progress to protect them from the demands of life. There is a time when each task is optimal.  If a stage is well managed, we will carry away from that stage a virtue or social strength.  If we do not do so well, we may develop malignancies or maladaptations, which can endanger our future development.  A malignancy is the worst of the two and involves too little positive and more of the negative of the task, for example, a person who can’t trust others.  A maladaptation involves too much positive and too little negative, for example a person who trusts too much.

Freud argued that a child’s parents influence his/her development dramatically.  Erikson also felt that there was an interaction between generations, which he called mutuality.   Erikson argued that children can influence their parents’ development as well.  When children arrive, this will change a couple/person’s life quite considerable and moves the parent(s) along their developmental path.  Also, we may be influenced by grandparents and great-grandparents and they can be influenced by new additions to the family also.

You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

The Certificate requires around 600 hours of study. This is made up of six 100 hour modules.

To pass the course –

1.    Pass all assignments on the six 100 hour modules. There will be an assignment at the end of each lesson to submit to your tutor for marking and feedback.
2.    Pass six examinations – one on each module. These are usually taken at the end of the module and can be arranged at a time and location to suit you.

If you are not ready to study the full Certificate In Adolescent Studies then you can study each of the Modules as a standalone course.  Course fees are provided on the pages for each of the courses.


  • You can start the course at any time and study at your own pace.
  • Fit your studies around your own busy lifestyle - we provide full tutor support for all the time you are studying.
  • Study where you want to - online studies offer the flexibility for you to determine where and when you study.


  • This detailed and essential course will be of benefit to a wide range of people who want to learn about the development of children and adolescents - how they think and what difficulties they have to contend with through their development.
  • Understand theories of psychology and mental health in adolescents - learn how to approach issues and offer resolutions.
  • A course that will benefit parents, teachers, carers, foster parents and more.
  • Choose from elective modules which allow you to tailor and increase the revelence of the course to you in areas including counselling or education.


Do you have any questions?

Our psychology tutors are more than happy to help with any questions about the Adolescent Psychology course.

Click here to contact a psychology tutor.


Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.
Kate Gibson B.Soc.Sc.15+ years experience in HR, marketing, education & project management. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia.

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