Criminal Justice, BPA

  • Application Deadline
  • 48 months
  • English (book IELTS)
The Bachelor of Professional Arts: Criminal Justice Major offered by Athabasca University is a four year degree designed for those who already possess a recognized post-secondary diploma credential or have attained a combination of some post-secondary education and/or professional experience and training.


Criminal justice systems are complex and require an understanding of crime as well as the institutions and professionals that operate within these systems. The curriculum offered by Athabasca University's Criminal Justice Program will provide you with a variety of courses that address the operation of the adult and youth justice systems, examination of criminal justice policies, procedures and programs, and the roles of criminal justice professionals (for example, law enforcement) and other stakeholders (such as victims and offenders).

The degree teaches students to think critically about criminal justice policies and practices. Students receive academic training that prepares them for career advancement in the field of criminal justice as well as graduate studies.

As a result of completing this program, students should be able to:

  • critically assess recommendations for improvements.
  • distinguish differences between theories.
  • distinguish and/or categorize types of practice.
  • show advanced understanding of policy and pose questions, issues and dilemmas in policy.
  • divide data and ideas into appropriate categories and show relationships among them.
  • demonstrate understanding of components of effective collaboration and co-operation.
  • take advanced responsibility for action and propose solutions to problems and issues related to criminal justice.
  • make constructive suggestions for criteria of assessment and recognize situations needing assessment.
  • take leadership action role in most instances in relation to criminal justice issues.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the process of self-development, and set goals and, when necessary, attempt to alter own behaviour.
  • exhibit understanding of the importance of the field of criminal justice and an awareness of major issues.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the functioning and importance of criminal justice structures and institutions.
  • mobilize organizational resources to fulfil goals and guidelines of self-identified plan and successfully complete most plans.
  • show good organization and consistency in expression of ideas.
  • acknowledge doubts, dilemmas and issues, recognize need for further learning, and pose new propositions.
  • demonstrate an understand of the implications of diversity issues and initiate discussion and/or action around some of these issues.

This Bachelor of Professional Arts: Criminal Justice program from Athabasca University is intended to attract not only newly graduated diploma students but also those with several years of experience. The general program goals are to:

  • provide graduates with the critical-thinking skills, administrative skills, and advanced education in areas such as community policing, cross-cultural awareness, the environment, organized crime, managing family violence, and law and policing that are needed by police, corrections, security and other enforcement officers.
  • afford increased areas of employment and advancement in the criminal justice field for police officers, corrections officers, court officers and private security officers.
Possible Career Options
  • Police Officer
  • Customs Officer
  • Canadian Intelligence Officer
  • Military Police Officer
  • Correctional Officer
  • Parole Officer
  • Probation Officer
  • Crime Analyst
  • Policy Analyst (provincial and federal solicitor general departments)
  • Private/Corporate Investigator
  • Youth Worker (young offenders)
  • Special Constable (solicitor general/justice/municipal departments)

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 48 months
  • Credits
    120 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode

Programme Structure

Major Courses:
  • Accounting course or
  • Introduction to Management
  • Administrative Law
  • Organizational Culture
  • Sociology and Crime or
  • Sociology of Deviance

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Book IELTS
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

The BPA Criminal Justice major is available to:
  • graduates of an approved two-year criminal justice-related diploma;
  • graduates of a previous undergraduate degree in an unrelated discipline (with at least one year of professional practice relevant to the Criminal Justice major); or,
  • students with a minimum of two years of university level coursework (with at least one year of professional practice relevant to the Criminal Justice major).

Coursework and credentials must have been obtained from a college, university or institute of technology approved by Athabasca University. Individuals who have questions about the eligibility of their previous education for admission are strongly encouraged to contact the program coordinator. The program provides students with two years of Arts and Administrative Studies courses along with specialized senior-level courses in criminal justice.

Becoming an Athabasca University student is easy – our open admission policy means if you’re 16 or older, you will be accepted as a student. Paying a one-time application fee lets you register for more than 750 courses, as long as you meet the prerequisites.

English Language Proficiency Requirements

If your native language is not English, you must demonstrate English Language Proficiency (ELP) to take Athabasca University courses. AU accepts the following as proof of English Language Proficiency.

  • Completion of high school in an English-speaking country.
  • Completion of 15 university credits from a recognized English-speaking university, or 1 year at a non-university post-secondary institution with an overall average of 75% (GPA of 3.0).
  • Minimum score of 6 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
  • Minimum score of 60% on the Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL).
  • Minimum score of 80 on the Michigan English Language Battery (MELAB) test.
  • Minimum score of 59 on the Pearson Test of English (PTE).
  • Minimum score of 213 on the computer- or paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL PBT), with 4.5 on the Test of Written English (TWE).
  • Minimum score of 80 with an essay score of 20 on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT).
  • Successful completion of AU’s English Language Proficiency Program with an overall average of 75% (GPA of 3.0).
You can apply to AU anytime. All undergraduate programs enrol students year round. Your program begins when you apply.

Getting a Student Visa

This is an online programme. You can attend from the comfort of your chair! So you don't need a student visa! (Unless that chair you're sitting on is in a foreign country...)

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    11430 CAD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 45720 CAD for the full programme and a duration of 48 months.
  • National Applies to you

    7960 CAD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 31840 CAD for the full programme and a duration of 48 months.
  • In-State Applies to you

    6670 CAD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 26680 CAD for the full programme and a duration of 48 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.
  • Please note: These costs are estimated. AU can and may increase tuition fees annually. Also, the fees above were determined by using 3-credit courses to find the program total. The program fee would be different if, for example, a 6-credit course is used in the program in place of two 3-credit courses.


StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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