The Aboriginal Justice Studies (AJS) program explores topics related to crime and deviance, the criminal justice system, and the role of law, including Aboriginal conceptions and practices of law and policing. Courses critically examine the various responsibilities of key components of a system that strives to ensure the safety and protection of society. Students will look at the challenges Aboriginal people face in the criminal justice system, and how Aboriginal cultural approaches to corrections, policing, and courts are helping to address the legacy of colonization – which is evident in the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people processed by courts and prisons. A great emphasis is placed upon cultural values and beliefs of the Aboriginal community, and the AJS program utilizes Aboriginal adult educational teaching methodology, experiential learning, and practical application of academic knowledge. The program includes an introductory course in sociology with an emphasis on sociological issues affecting First Nations peoples, and an English course that emphasizes writing proficiency at the college level.

The AJS practicum placement allows students to gain experience working with agencies and organizations related to criminal and social justice. Graduates have entered careers in community justice agencies, policing, courts, customs, social work, and adult and youth corrections (including parole, probation, and supervision). Program credits transfer to colleges and universities for further studies leading to a Diploma or Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, as well as in other social sciences. Students may then further their education to graduate or law school.


This course develops students’ interpersonal communication skills through experiential workshops and participatory learning exercises. Special activities will focus on traditional Aboriginal values and the interpersonal respect that stems from living in small communities and extended families – and students will be presented with larger challenges on how to take these values with them into the workplace and criminal and social justice environments. Topics include: interpersonal communication skills, conflict resolution and negotiation skills, giving useful feedback,professionalism, anger management and trust-building, teamwork, and leadership.

The Canadian criminal justice system’s structure, levels, and operation will be analyzed. Attention will be paid to the historical development and current role of the police, the correctional system, the judiciary and criminal laws. The factors involved in decisions and practices and the role of discretion will be studied for the entire system, including both statutory and voluntary agencies. Students will also examine the various, and at times competing, goals within the system and analyze current trends in Canadian criminal justice policy, such as restorative justice.

This course will look at policing from a critical perspective. Students will trace the organizational development of the police force from a historical perspective to the roles of police in contemporary society. Particular emphasis will be on Aboriginal policing (based on traditional cultural values and practices) and policing within the larger minority communities in Canada. To do this, students will look at police/minority relations in a cross-national/ cultural context. Other topics that will be explored include community policing, police and the use of discretion, police officers as risk assessors, the use of force in policing, organizational structure of policing, recruitment and training, escalating costs of policing, the expanding police role, and professional accountability

This course is designed to give students in the Aboriginal Justice Studies program the lifestyle knowledge and skills to be successful as students and as practicum employees. The course will assist students in making effective career choices given their work attitudes, values, skills, and knowledge; choosing appropriate practicum placement; and developing the job search skills to obtain it. Topics include: self-awareness, goal-setting, career/job research skills, the recruitment process, ethics and confidentiality issues, work environments and cultures, stress management, resume development and production, cover letters, application forms, and the interview process.

This course will present an overview of the concepts, themes, and issues encountered in the discipline of criminology (or the study of crime). The course explains the basic concepts of criminology such as crime, deviance, rehabilitation, and the victim, as well as looking more in-depth at critical theories of race, gender, and class. We will examine the development of criminology through classical and modern theories. The relationships between theory and practice are also examined.

Through working under the supervision of a professional in an area of the criminal justice system or social services sector, students will demonstrate professionalism and time management,communication, teamwork, and networking skills. Specific assignments and an evaluation by both the practicum supervisor and the program coordinator will allow the student to demonstrate readiness for employment or further training.

This course focuses on the history, development, and present day operations of the legal system. It covers: constitutional law, administrative law, civil liberties, the court system, the functions of judges and lawyers. It considers the history of Canadian law and the system of the Canadian courts. The course will consider the nature of legal reasoning, the doctrine of precedent, principles of statutory interpretation and will introduce the fields of contract, torts, administrative law, and family law. It also examines the process of law reform in Canada.

This course will critically examine the history, development, and contemporary social organization of correctional institutions, including experiences of prisoners, victims, families, communities, and administrators. The overrepresentation of Aboriginals in the correctional system will discussed from a historical and contemporary perspective. Students will also survey community-based and restorative alternatives, institutional, educational, and Aboriginal programs, as well as issues of parole, prison education, and re-entry into the community. Trips to correctional institutions in the Lower Mainland will occur throughout the semester.

This course uses the tools of criminology to examine crime and deviance in North America and community responses to this behaviour. Students examine various theories explaining the nature and patterns of Aboriginal crime and delinquency. A critical examination of the First Nations experience with the criminal justice system is included. Innovative First Nations’ justice programs are examined and international comparisons of justice services for indigenous people are discussed. Students will look specifically at a number of criminalized or stigmatized social issues through the lens of moral panic: drugs, homelessness, prostitution, and youth crime. A main question to be asked is: what are the some of the processes that allow phenomena generally outside the realm of crime to become regulated by law?

The intention of this course is to introduce you to the conventions of academic writing. We write to communicate to others- whether they are colleagues, professionals in their fields, or friends. In this class, you will learn to identify the elements of sound writing in written passages, and to compare and contrast oral, written and culturally specific forms of communication. The student is invited to explore, step-by-step, each element of good writing by reviewing and practicing prewriting techniques including developing strong thesis statements, proceeding to paragraphs, and complete essays, and reports using APA citation style.

Learning to write requires writing. It takes practice, and you will be provided with opportunities to write both in the classroom as well as outside. The goal is to give you as students enough practice writing that you will see a strong improvement in the effectiveness of your written communication skills by the end of the course. In addition, you will develop a greater understanding of what you need to focus on in order to continue your development as a writer.

This course examines the political and social realities of being an Aboriginal person in Canada today. Students will study the history and culture of First Nations peoples through anthropology, political science, history, sociology, and legal studies. Issues of law, social policy, land claims, and racism will be discussed. Where possible, the course draws on First Nations’ writings and contrasts First Nations and non-First Nations perspectives. The course prepares students to be active participants in the processes of cultural revitalization, political reorganization, and social change.

Total Credits – 39.0 Credits

Semester I       

  • CRIM 100    Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
  • CRIM 150    Introduction to Criminology
  • ENGL 110   Academic Writing
  • CMNS 125   Interpersonal Communications
  • SOC 110       Introduction to Sociology

Semester II

  • FNST 110    First Nations Studies                                       
  • CRIM 160    The Canadian Legal System
  • CRIM 170    Introduction to Corrections
  • CRIM 180    Sociological Approaches to Crime
  • CRIM 145    Employment Preparation

Semester III

  • CRIM 120    Introduction to Policing
  • CRIM 155    AJS Practicum
  • Completion of Grade 12; C+ or higher English 12
  • CAAT demonstrating grade 12 or higher in Reading Comprehension and Language
  • Writing Assessment Test
  • Criminal Record Check through BC Criminal Record Review Program
  • Mature applicant requirements include 1 page essay demonstrating interest in program and 1 year or more related work experience.

$6,700.00* (Tuition only)

*Full or partial funding may be available for this program. Contact NEC Admissions at 604-873-3761 x328 / for more information.

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Financial assistance is available to students in the form of scholarships and bursaries, loans and other funding options. Contact Admissions for more information.

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For more NEC Program information visit the Admissions section or call

1 (604) 873-3772 ext. 328