Frequently Asked Questions about VIU's Criminology Diploma

For New Students

Criminology is often referred to as the study of "the making of laws, the breaking of laws, and the reaction to the breaking of laws". Law, crime patterns, and the study of offenders make up much of the discipline, and knowledge is drawn from other disciplines such as history, psychology, sociology, economics, and political science.

The making of laws covers the historical and dynamic nature of law in Canada, including the way that judges apply the law to cases which come before them.

Examining law leads us to consider the social forces behind the creation of criminal and regulatory statutes. There are two main views, one of which describes law as the product of social consensus or agreement about what forms of human conduct need to be regulated by the government. Alternatively, some criminologists see law as the outcome of struggle between groups in conflict. The groups with the greatest amount of social and economic power are likely to have their interests protected in law.

Criminology courses which focus on law include:

  • CRIM 135 (Intro to Canadian Law and Legal Institutions: A Criminal Justice Perspective)
  • CRIM 230 (Criminal Law)
  • CRIM 400 (Law and Human Rights)

Descriptions for the upper level law courses can be seen on our VIU Program and Course Calendar.

The breaking of law refers to crime patterns seen from police reports, victimization and self-report studies. Patterns of crime and victimization are not random, and some groups in Canada are more vulnerable to criminal victimization than others. Crime patterns also vary by country, so criminologists are interested in why some countries have fewer (or greater) problems with crime than does Canada.

Much of criminology has focused on offenders, and considerable scientific effort focuses on differences between "normal" people and those become long-term, chronic offenders. Many theories have been proposed to explain criminal behavior and the things associated with it. Most theories lean either towards explanations which focus on the structure of society, or ones which emphasize the processes by which people come to engage in crime and antisocial behaviour. Criminology courses which focus on crime patterns and explanations for crime include:

  • CRIM 101 (Introduction to Criminology),
  • CRIM 204 (Deviance, Crime and Social Control)
  • CRIM 103 (Psycho-social Explanations of Criminality)
  • CRIM 210 (Law, Youth and Young Offenders)
  • CRIM 213 (Gender, Crime and Justice)
  • CRIM 360 (Advanced Criminological Theory)
  • CRIM 480 (Organizational Crime: A Global Perspective)
  • CRIM 470 (Dynamics of Terrorism)

The reaction to the breaking of laws covers our criminal justice system (police, courts and corrections) and criminal justice policy. The criminal justice system and the rules which govern the action of its agents are continually changing with society. Criminology courses which address society's reactions to crime include:

  • CRIM 131 (Intro to the Criminal Justice System)
  • CRIM 200 (Aboriginal Issues in the Criminal Justice System)
  • CRIM 251 (Introduction to Policing)
  • CRIM 241 (Introduction to Corrections)
  • CRIM 290 (Alternative Conflict Resolution in Criminal Justice Systems)
  • CRIM 321 (Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Policy)
  • CRIM 440 (Alternate Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Skills)
  • CRIM 450 (Criminal Justice Systems: An International Perspective)

You will not be coded as a CRIM student in the registration system. This means that you will not be able to claim reserved seats set aside for criminology students. However, you can apply after you have upgraded your math or English requirements. Many students do their upgrading through Career & Academic Preparation Programs. The following question may apply to your situation.

No. Some courses are open to everyone, such as:

You can expect to develop a broad-based education in the liberal arts tradition. This knowledge includes:

  • being open-minded to new thinking on familiar issues,
  • understanding and appreciating the values and workings of the Canadian criminal justice system,
  • understanding and applying theory to real world situations, events and processes,
  • analytical and critical thinking about controversial issues,
  • organizing and interpreting social, economic, and political data,
  • reading and understanding research articles comprehensively and writing effectively,
  • respecting and appreciating cultural and ethnic diversity,
  • separating facts from values,
  • developing an ability to persuade and influence others with rational arguments and evidence.

The skills you can expect to develop are:

  • reading and summarizing legal briefs, case law, and research studies so that they can be understood by non-technical audiences;
  • legal reasoning;
  • the ability to work well under pressure by using good time-management and project planning;
  • library and Internet research skills;
  • advanced word-processing, data analysis using software (SPSS and spreadsheets) for quantitative data and qualitative data gathering and analyses;
  • working cooperatively with others to complete a task or project.

Some of our Diploma students have participated in work-study projects with the local parole office in Nanaimo, the John Howard Society, and the RCMP. Students have also written papers or conducted research for course partial credit.

Any community positions which come available will be posted on the bulletin board outside 356, Office 304.

Upper-level students in the BA program spend at least two days a week in a field placement with a local agency during their final semester (CRIM 475 - Applied Research/Field Placement).

For Current Students

Please do not apply for the Diploma until you have completed all the required courses and the grades have been recorded in your transcript.

Review your transcript and be certain that your course selections for the diploma are completed, and your grade in each course meets the minimum requirements.We have a page where you can check off the courses you need for your Diploma.

When you are confident that you meet the requirements of the Diploma, please apply on-line to receive your Diploma. Application for a Certificate or Diploma.