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Justice Studies Diploma: Correctional Studies Specialization

Correctional Studies graduates are currently in high demand across the province. A Justice Studies Diploma with a Correctional Studies Specialization opens doors to diverse opportunities for rewarding careers in correctional institutions, community corrections, probation, and more.

After graduation, you will be prepared to apply your knowledge and skills in an engaging environment where every day presents exciting and unique challenges.

This exciting full-time two-year (four semester) career program begins every fall. Correctional Studies is one possible major of five, for Justice Studies Diploma students (Aboriginal Focus, Correctional Studies, General Justice, Law Enforcement, Youth Justice)

Potential Careers in Correctional Studies

Correctional Peace OfficerCorrectional Service Worker
Probation OfficerCommunity Corrections Officer
Not-for-profit Offender Services WorkerReintegration Worker
Remand/Attendance Centre WorkerSheriff

Justice Studies Instructor Bios

Click here to find out more about our instructors.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Refer to the Program Tuition Fee Chart for an estimate of the cost of completing a Bow Valley College career program. Consider the costs of tuition, additional fees, textbooks, and police information check fees when creating a budget. Attend a Financial Aid Information Session for advice on financing a Bow Valley College education.

Note: All students registered in a Justice Studies Diploma program are required to write the Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) assessment in semester one of their program.

Courses in Program

Curriculum is subject to change.

Click on the course to view the course description.

Common Year 1 - Semester 1

COMM1101 - Interpersonal Relationships and Communication Skills (3 credits, 45 hours)

Learners develop strategies necessary for effective and accurate communication in relationships with others, within a variety of contexts. They explore theories and concepts of interpersonal communication and reflect on their own values, beliefs, attitudes, and experiences. Emphasis is placed on self-awareness, cultural diversity in communication, and conflict management. In addition, it focuses on the development of personal strengths and self-awareness that contribute to the development of communication skills and positive relationships.

JUST1101 - Introduction to the Criminal Justice System (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course is an overview of Canada's Criminal Justice System. The structure and jurisdictions of the three levels of government involved are examined, together with the development, role and functions of the police as well as other agencies and practices: the courts, sentencing philosophies, correctional institutions, community corrections, and alternative sanctions. Also considered are discretion, decision points, and limitations of authority in the justice system.

JUST1401 - Health, Wellness and Fitness (3 credits, 45 hours)

The design of the course lays the foundation for health, wellness, and fitness for the future occupations of Justice Studies learners. The first of two such courses, this course establishes personal fitness levels and then compares those levels of fitness with performance levels demanded of successful candidates in occupations in the field of justice. Consideration is also given to the analysis of fitness as it relates to personal safety and the design of fitness regimes in various environments.

SOCI1101 - Introduction to Sociology (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course provides a comprehensive, introductory overview of sociology as a developing discipline. Topics include human social development, culture, diversity, and social trends, with a focus on where Canada fits in a global society. You will learn how people's positions in society shape their lives, and how people adjust to their social and cultural environments.

ENGL1201 - English: Composition  (3 credits, 45 hours)

ENGL1201: This first-year composition course provides students with a solid grounding in the processes that writers use to communicate clearly in the academic context. By reading and analyzing texts from a broad spectrum of purposes, cultures, historical periods, and disciplines, students develop strategies to communicate their own ideas and integrate them with those of others. Students learn to quote, paraphrase, and summarize the work of other authors, prepare documents according to APA format, and write research papers.

Plus One (1) of the following electives:

JUST1102 - Diversity and Criminal Justice in Canada (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course examines multiculturalism and its relationship to the criminal justice system in Canada.  Among the issues discussed are the recognition, acceptance, and affirmation of ethnic, racial and religious diversity within the framework of Canada's policy of multiculturalism.  Particular emphasis is placed on Aboriginal history and traditions.  Special attention is focused on the application of these issues to policing, corrections, and other aspects of the criminal justice system.  Learners will have the opportunity to develop the sensitivities and skills which will assist them in understanding and working with different cultures, and to be responsive to the needs and expectations of culturally diverse communities.

HMSV2501 - Social Policy (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course is designed to help learners become critically aware of the economic, social, and political environment within which they will eventually work. It will examine the process by which health, social policy, and justice policy, is developed in Canada and encourages reflection upon the ways social policy impacts our lives.


Common Year 1 - Semester 2

JUST1301 - Professional Report Writing and Presentations (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course focuses on report and memorandum writing. Learners will study business writing in the format of email writing and letter writing. Resume writing and job application writing will be examined in depth. Learners will also focus on narrative report writing, occurrence report writing, and notebook writing. Learners will examine how to create and facilitate a workshop. The structure of speech, the sentence, word usage, spelling, punctuation, and grammar will be explored in detail. There will be an emphasis on practice technical reports and practice technical writing.

SOCI1201 - Sociology of the Family (3 Credits, 45 hours)

Pre-requisite: SOCI 1101 - Introduction to Sociology
This course introduces sociology of the family while developing a greater command of sociological imagination from various sociological perspectives. In addition, this course provides learners with a thorough grounding in both the theoretical and substantive issues in the sociological study of families. Issues dealt with include: how changes in the Canadian and global economies impact the definition of family; how the idea of family impacts the society's order; or whether common attitudes and beliefs about families can be proven empirically. As issues arise, learners explore demographic trends; examine how the challenges faced by families are social issues; and weigh common attitudes and stereotypes about families. Learners challenge the social practices, perceptions, and experiences related to families that are often taken for granted as "common sense", inevitable, or natural reality.

PSYC1101 - Introduction to Psychology (3 credits, 45 hours)

This introductory course provides learners with a basic understanding and an overview of the field of psychology. Attention is given to major psychological perspectives and the fundamentals of scientific thinking, biological factors, cognitive processes, social and cultural influences, personality, psychological disorders, and human motivation. Learners will be encouraged to apply what they learn to their own lives and the world around them.

JUST1601 - Criminology (3 credits, 45 hours) [Online Only]

This course provides an introduction to the major historical and contemporary theoretical concepts of crime, criminals, and criminality. The course establishes the theoretical relationship between criminology and other sciences like psychology and sociology. In addition, the course also delves into the use of the physical sciences and explores the effects of their use in criminal matters.

Plus One (1) of the following electives:

FASD1301 - Brain Function and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course introduces Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and its impact on those affected by prenatal alcohol exposure. Topics include terminology, assessment and diagnostic processes, as well as primary and secondary characteristics as they present across the lifespan. Learners explore the components and functions of the brain and the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure on attention, memory, cognition, language, sensory perception, social emotional behaviours and impulsivity. Prevention and education are also explored.

HMSV1501 - Introduction to Counselling (3 credit, 45 hours)

Learners address the theory behind motivational interviewing, narrative therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and solution focused techniques. The course includes entry level discussion on stress, trauma, grief, and loss.


Year 2 - Semester 3

PSYC2401 - Abnormal Psychology (3 credits, 45 hours)

Learners examine the major psychological disorders, focusing on clinical description, causal factors (considering the interaction of biological, psychological, and social influences), treatment, and outcomes. Learners develop a working definition of abnormal behavior using the DSM-5 criteria as a basis for classification.

JUST2501 - Correctional Methods (3 credits, 45 hours)

The course will provide a detailed review of the role of a correctional officer within a correctional centre environment.  Security procedures, offender management skills, and issues confronting correctional officers will be studied, and, where appropriate, practical application will be addressed.

JUST2101 - Introduction to Corrections (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course examines correctional systems in Canadian society. Particular focus falls on the history of corrections, the role of corrections in contemporary society, and the interrelationship between the various components including community-based corrections, correctional centres, and parole. In addition, correctional treatment and after care will be reviewed. Emphasis will be placed on the formal and informal relationships which exist in correctional organizations and the relationships between staff and inmates in correctional centres.

JUST2302 - Crisis Intervention and Communication (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course provides learners with a theoretical foundation in crisis and crisis intervention. This theoretical foundation comes into play as learners examine methodologies used to deal with various situations that may create stress and have the potential to become a state of crisis. Focus falls upon techniques of conducting structured interviews to address, intervene, and provide referrals appropriately for those experiencing crisis. This course provides students with tools to effectively communicate with diverse populations including victims of serious crime, victims of abuse, those experiencing disasters, as well as those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and those with long term illness or disability .

Plus One (1) of the following electives:

JUST2601 - Drug Awareness and Consequences (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course provides learners the opportunity to examine how drugs influence behaviours and actions, as well as the current trends of drug use in society. This course provides learners with awareness of drugs and the signs of drugs use. Learners will explore the national and international issues related to drug use and the Criminal Justice System.

ADDC1101 - Introduction to Addictions Studies (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course will increase students' awareness and understanding of the theories, practical skills, and broader issues that guide the work of addictions workers. Learners will be invited to reflect on their beliefs and values to develop a professional practice that draws on and respects the richness and depth of Canada's multicultural society. Participants will begin to explore various types of addictions and their impact on the addiction field. The course will demonstrate the breadth and diversity of addictions treatment theory, and how this is expressed in practice in the current world of addiction treatment.

JUST2301 - Influences of the Media on Justice (3 credit, 45 hours)

This course examines various media and the coverage provided to crime and criminality. Students will review the correlation between media coverage, public opinion, and the justice system. The suggestion that the community has a market-driven appetite for coverage of new stories about crime will be explored in detail.


Year 2 - Semester 4

JUST2201 - Correctional Law (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course covers general aspects of Canadian law as it applies to the field of corrections, as well as Acts and Regulations specific to corrections. Expectations of correctional staff in light of the Charter of Rights and Criminal Code are reviewed, together with the application of common case law to corrections. Specific legislation covered in the course includes the Corrections and Conditional Release Act; the Prison and Reformatories Act; Provincial Corrections Act; Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP); and Victim-related legislation. Current legal issues in corrections will be explored .

JUST2603 - Special Needs Offenders (3 Credits, 45 hours)

This course presents an overview of offender classification as the foundation for opening the examination of the offenders with special needs. The focus is on the identification of offender groups or individuals and the development of responses appropriate to those groups or individuals within the correctional context. Among groups studied are those with mental health challenges, gang members, female populations, visible minorities, and violent offenders.

JUST2604 - Correctional Casework and Counselling (3 Credits, 45 hours)

This course provides a detailed review the role casework and counselling play in dealing effectively with individuals who require intervention due to criminal behavior. The course provides a thorough analysis of the purpose of casework and counselling and the specific procedures involved: learners apply their understanding of these concepts through case studies.

JUST2202 - Criminal Law in Canada (3 Credits, 45 hours)

This course examines the evolution of criminal law and the structure of the Criminal Code. An examination of basic constitutional law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Emphasis is placed on gaining a great deal of familiarity with the Criminal Code as statute law and applicability criminal procedural requirements. Focus is placed upon those parts of the criminal code that graduates will typically encounter during their initial tenure in the workplace.

Plus One (1) of the following electives:

JUST2602 - Aboriginal and Visible Minority Issues within the Criminal Justice System (3 credits, 45 hours)

Aboriginal people experience disproportionately increased rates of victimization and criminal activity. This course examines culturally sensitive approaches to unique Aboriginal needs. Learners analyse pertinent Aboriginal values within the criminal justice system. Additionally, learners examine the relevance of diversion, community justice committees, healing lodges, and sentencing circles. Learners also examine characteristics of violent crimes involving visible minorities. This course focuses on visible minorities' perceptions of safety and of the criminal justice system; racism and the police; racism and the courts; racism and the correctional system; gender and race; and, visible minority youth.

ADDC1301 - Physiology and Processes of Addictions (3 Credits, 45 hours)

This course takes an in-depth look at substances and their impact on body, mind, and behaviour. Learners begin with an introduction to how the relevant body systems work, and then address substances by category and by individual drug to understand their history, appeal, risks, and impact. Emphasis is given to processes of dependence and withdrawal. With knowledge of addiction physiology, support workers have insight into the mechanisms of craving, and are able to promote more effective physical and mental recovery.

JUST2401 - Mental Health and Wellness (3 Credits, 45 Hours)

Building on the analysis of personal fitness, this course emphasizes issues of health and wellness. Leaners will undertake an evaluation of personal life choices including nutrition, activity, and attitude. Considerations of personal health and wellness are included in the design of future learning in support of life/work balance.

JS Dual Credit

Admission Requirements

Academic Requirements

  • High School Diploma with credit in English 30-1 or 65% in English 30-2 or equivalent
  • Successful completion of the General Educational Development test with a standard score of 520 in Language Arts: Reading and Writing


  • Satisfactory results on the BVC Admissions Test


English Language Proficiency Requirements

Note: Future career and volunteer opportunities within justice will be negatively impacted for individuals who have any criminal convictions for which they have not yet received pardon or record suspension, or, have any criminal charges that remain pending or awaiting disposition from the courts. It is unlikely that Justice Studies graduates who have a criminal history will have any advantage when competing for employment. Applicants with further questions are advised to contact the Justice Studies Programs Coordinator.

***IMPORTANT NOTE*** During the program, students will be visiting various facilities (such as correctional facilities). It is important to note that student attendance and participation during these visits are considered when determining overall grades. Some of these agencies and organizations will deny access to anyone who has either been criminally charged, or, has a criminal record


Graduates of this program may be granted credits towards block transfer to: