School of Community Studies-justice studies


Bow Valley College opens doors to university degrees

Community Studies graduates share their transfer credit journeys.

Many people don’t consider the fact that where they start their education does not always have to be where they finish.

Take Emma Mackintosh, for example. She enjoyed working with children and youth and was interested in the justice system. Those interests led her to the Justice Studies Diploma program at Bow Valley College.

Emma knew she wanted to further her education, and while she was in her justice studies program, the opportunity presented itself. A block transfer agreement with Royal Roads University meant Emma could earn her bachelor's degree with credit for the education she earned at Bow Valley College.

“I was excited to find out that some of the work that I had done would be transferrable,” says Mackintosh. “I think this is a great program and a great opportunity for many students. It helped me a lot because I did not have the extra pressure of having to take extra courses.”

There are many advantages to starting an academic journey at Bow Valley College: the cost of tuition is less than other post-secondary institutions, class sizes are smaller, and, for those facing barriers, Bow Valley College offers a learning experience that helps them get across the finish line.

“Many of our students demonstrate resilience, commitment, and motivation to complete their post-secondary journey when at times the end goal seemed very far away,” says Lori Bailey, program chair, Community and Youth, Bow Valley College. “Building their self-confidence, academic writing skills, time-management, and social skills provides our students the belief in their ability to pursue higher levels of post-secondary education.”

Bow Valley College employees and community stakeholders are passionate and motivated to see their students succeed. “There were many times where I didn’t think that I would make it through my diploma due to different mental health struggles. I am so grateful to all my instructors for supporting and guiding me. Without their support and accommodations, I am not sure I would have finished my diploma,” says Mackintosh.

Not only did Mackintosh graduate from her diploma program, but she also went on to get her bachelor’s degree and is now working towards a Master of Arts degree in counselling psychology. She hopes to become a registered psychologist and open her own private practice working with children and youth.

“Bow Valley College has a lot more to give than people may think. Starting at a smaller institution can make transitions easier or smoother. It gives people an opportunity to figure out more about what they may want to do with the option to take advantage of a block transfer program.” Emma goes on to add, “I certainly did not know Bow Valley College would change my life as much as it did.”

Did you know?

Many programs in Bow Valley College’s School of Community Studies offer block transfer opportunities with several universities. Here are some more inspirational stories that show how this option can open doors and open minds:

“I was certain my end goal was a bachelor’s degree. It appeared I would need to upgrade multiple high school level classes to be eligible to apply, which I really wanted to avoid. I was pleasantly surprised to discover I could start working towards my bachelor’s degree immediately and bypass any course upgrading through Bow Valley College’s credit transfer opportunity with Royal Roads University. I completed both my diploma and degree in three short years, one of which was spent on beautiful Vancouver Island while attending RRU! BVC’s courses provided me with foundational reading and writing skills that I would eventually learn are necessary for university-level courses.”Katelynn Collinson

“My Justice Studies Diploma at Bow Valley College specializing in correctional studies definitely prepared me for taking my journey further in education and out in the field of justice. I was fortunate to take my diploma in person at Bow Valley College. I felt like it created the foundation I needed to be confident within my studies at Lethbridge College, where I continued on to complete my Bachelor of Applied Arts in Justice Studies Degree. I went on to my dream position of working for the Correctional Service of Canada as an Institutional Parole Officer. My post-secondary experience has been a truly uplifting and empowering experience. I am grateful for the opportunity the block transfer agreement between Bow Valley College and Lethbridge College provided me.” –Megan Golueke

“When I decided to go back to school, I chose Bow Valley College because it offered the Justice Studies Diploma with the Correctional Studies specialization. Bow Valley College gave me all the knowledge and real-life experience needed to feel prepared to either enter a career in the field of justice or further my education. Thanks to the block transfer agreement, I completed my two-year diploma at Bow Valley College and jumped right into the third year of my Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies at Lethbridge College. I never thought I would go back to school, let alone go on to get my degree. But thanks to the transfer agreement between Bow Valley College and Lethbridge College, the transition was so effortless.” –Brittney Reoch

“I graduated from Bow Valley College in 2018 with a diploma in Disability Studies. Working with individuals with co-occurring developmental and mental health issues shaped my career goal of becoming a registered psychologist. Fortunately, my diploma was fully credited towards an undergraduate degree program at Athabasca University. Within two and a half years, I completed my BPA - Human Services degree, which makes me eligible to apply for a graduate program. My learning experience in Disability Studies prepared me to take on the academic requirements of my undergraduate degree. Now, I am one step closer to achieving my educational and professional goals! Thank you, Bow Valley College and the Disability Studies program team, for creating a path to success for your students.” –Fe San Jose

For more information about the block transfer possibilities in the Community Studies Program, please visit:

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