Honours BA in Policing

Honours BA in Policing

Honours BA in Policing

As a police officer with a rotating shift and a demanding schedule, traditional classroom learning is not an option. The fully online delivery of the BA in Policing program at Wilfrid Laurier University helps eliminate this issue by making class accessible to you online – 24-hours a day, seven days a week.  

Facts About the Program

  • We are the nation’s first and only 100% online BA in Policing program, welcoming students from all over Canada including RCMP, Military Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Peel Regional Police, Toronto Police Service, and many other police services
  • Designed for working and retired officers from a wide range of ranks and backgrounds such as Police Constables, Detectives, Staff Sergeants, and Inspectors
  • Transfer options available, with the opportunity to reduce time and cost of the degree by transferring up to 10 of the 20 total credits required
  • Created for police officers by police officers. The program was created in partnership with law enforcement throughout Canada in order to deliver an engaging curriculum designed to improve your critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as have a better understanding of diverse communities, with the skills to evaluate and apply different perspectives.

What You Will Learn & Experience With Us

  • Communication. You will develop essential communication skills for police officers. Effective communications skills are as necessary to career advancement as technical competence, work experience and academic qualifications.
  • Leadership. Through self-assessments and leadership skills development exercises you will also have the opportunity to gain insights into your own leadership style – the strength of your style and ways to enhance your leadership skills and capacity.
  • Education. Law enforcement leaders across Canada have been instrumental in the development of the curriculum to ensure that the degree is both relevant and helps position you for future leadership positions.
  • Fortitude.You will learn to develop strategies for personal resiliency to assist in your  experiences related to trauma and critical incidents.
  • For more details on the skills you will gain from the online BA in Policing, click on the Program Goal section and for course details, click on the Curriculum section below.

“I have made several attempts to continue my post secondary studies over the years. I have found some programs cost prohibitive while others seemed very traditional and didn't match my needs. Laurier's program seems to be a good fit with a new approach to learning” - Kevin Guest, Retired Toronto Police Staff Sergeant

For more details on the online BA in Policing program, expand the sections below:

Admissions Requirements

The BA in Policing online program is designed for working and retired police officers with at least one year of professional work experience in policing. Proof of a minimum of one year of full-time employment up to and including the time before classes begin for each police officer must be verified by an official letter from the human resources department of the police service(s) from which the officer has been employed.

Transfer options

Transfer credits are offered for previous courses completed at community college, university or via police colleges or academies. After you apply, an admissions coordinator will assess your transcripts to determine how many transfer credits you may receive, up to a maximum of 10 credits, which is half of the required 20 credits you need to graduate with a BA in Policing. Officers who do not have previous postsecondary work may still apply; in addition to the required Laurier BA in Policing courses, more courses from Laurier or another Canadian university to satisfy the graduation requirements of 20 total credits are required.


Each class is 0.5 credits and costs $712 (and $100 incidental fee).  The exact cost of Wilfrid Laurier tuition depends on your situation, individuals with at least one year of education from a university or currently attending university and looking to transfer are eligible for transfer credits. Financial aid through Laurier might also be available.

“I have always wanted to further my education. When I began searching for schools Laurier [online] stood out. The policing world is undergoing incredible changes right now. I enrolled in the  BA in policing program so that I will have a better understanding of those changes. I am confident that the information in this program will help me to develop new and innovative solutions to issues facing policing as I move forward in my career.”  - Sonny Spina, Constable with the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service

Program Goals

The Ministry of Advanced Education & Skills Development recognizes crime and justice as areas of institutional strength for Laurier.  With a program specifically designed for Canadian active and retired police officers, the program was designed so that upon completion of the Laurier BA in Policing, you should be able to:

  • Articulate the major methodological, theoretical and political debates in contemporary criminology and criminal justice.

  • Select appropriate qualitative and quantitative research methods and apply these methods to analyze and interpret data.

  • Use effective communication skills for police officers.

  • Apply criminological and psychological theories and perspectives to interpret and critique contemporary law enforcement issues.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of and appreciation for the complexity of Indigenous justice systems and identify the role of law enforcement officials in First Nations communities.

  • Utilize leadership skills to conduct and evaluate performance assessments for law enforcement personnel.

  • Review and interpret policy surrounding law enforcement program development, implementation and evaluation.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the effects and consequences of experiencing trauma and critical incidents to develop the ability to maintain resiliency in personal and professional relationships.

  • Respond to criticism and feedback respectfully and non-defensively.

  • Recognize the role of social media in law enforcement and use discretion, courtesy and professionalism when using social media platforms.

“This course has had the best content on diversity in policing that I have seen so far in my career. However, the most valuable content I have seen so far has been with regards to evidence based policing. I'm eager to use some of the new ideas learned here at my service.” - Sonny Spina, Constable with the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service

Program Curriculum

“The program has a volunteer advisory board comprised of members representing police services, the legal system, and academics and trainers who offer input into course content. It was designed this way to ensure the offerings are relevant and meaningful to officers in the program.”  – Lauren Eisler, acting dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Human and Social Sciences 

The online Bachelor of Arts in Policing program is made up of 10 credits of required police courses and 10 elective credits. Each course in the Bachelor of Arts in Policing program is six weeks long, with six hours per week of course work. Courses can be taken at any pace to a maximum of three courses per term. (Students may also take a term or more off to accommodate personal schedules.) By completing two to three courses per term, officers can earn their degrees in three to four years.


This course reviews international models of policing to trace the development of modern police response strategies in Canada. The course traces the historical, social and political contexts surrounding the incorporation of police response strategies over time. Students will theorize about how the role and nature of police work differs under each model of policing, and identify solutions to problems that modern strategies face.


This course will provide an introduction to research and theories in the field of Interpersonal Communications and how this information relates to individuals inside and outside of organizations.  Communication skills are probably the single most important skill required to be successful in business and in personal relationships.  Research has shown that effective communications skills are as necessary to career advancement as technical competence, work experience and academic qualifications. In addition, this course focuses on building and enhancing your knowledge in the kinds of communications skills that employers expect.


This course will introduce students to the techniques used to measure and assess police personnel, and deepen their understanding of the on-the-job experiences that can affect the mental health of police personnel.  Students will learn about intelligence and personality testing, the effects of experiencing trauma and compassion fatigue, the importance of stress management, self-care and fit-for-duty assessments.


Intercultural Communication in Policing introduces students to the field of intercultural communication in order to recognize the challenges faced by law enforcement officials in understanding and interpreting the behaviours, actions and attitudes of individuals in conflict within their own communities, within the larger community and with the law. Topics include postmodern theory, cultural studies, critical race theory, race, racism and representation.


Increasingly, leadership skills, capacity and awareness are needed by members of today’s law enforcement organizations. This course provides an overview of the leadership approaches – historical and contemporary, the role of context in determining leadership approaches, the crucial relationship of leadership and followership and leadership strategies for building relationships and motivating others. Self-awareness is a fundamental element to leadership development. Through self-assessments and leadership skills development exercises you will also have the opportunity to gain insights into your own leadership style – the strength of your style and ways to enhance your leadership skills and capacity.


Introduces students to topics to contribute to a working environment that is equitable and free of discrimination, harassment and disruptive of systems of advantage. Students will recognize and welcome the strengths of diversity within the force. Topics include the difference between diversity and inclusion (and the benefits of each), hegemonic masculinity, privilege, intersectionality and allyship.

Prerequisites: A 0.5-credit selected from the following courses: PD100, PD101, PD200, PD201, PD202


This course focuses on developing the principles of logical reasoning and argumentation. Students will be able to identify arguments, analyze their structure and critically assess their validity. By learning the necessary skills to analyze informal reasoning, students will improve their reasoning, cognitive, communication and critical thinking skills, contributing to their ability to present sound arguments.

Prerequisites: A 0.5-credit selected from the following courses: PD100, PD101, PD200, PD201, PD202


This course will apply psychological principles and concepts to law enforcement. Students will increase their competency and understanding of interviewing, interrogation, hostage negotiation, eyewitness testimony and offender profiling.

Prerequisites: A 0.5-credit selected from the following courses: PD100, PD101, PD200, PD201, PD202


An introduction to statistical and geographic research methods, with an emphasis on the understanding and use of these procedures in law enforcement. Students will become familiar with designing research questions, constructing hypotheses, identifying types of variables, assessing reliability and validity, selecting appropriate research methods and understanding elementary quantitative and spatial data analysis.

Prerequisites: A 0.5-credit selected from the following courses: PD100, PD101, PD200, PD201, PD202


Examines key historical and sociopolitical issues in law enforcement practices to recognize their impact on marginalized populations. Students will expand their cultural awareness and improve intercultural communication skills to work more effectively and judiciously in a diverse community. Topics include critical race theory, cultural diversity and sensibility, tactical communication practices and racial profiling.

Prerequisite:  A 0.5-credit selected from the following courses: PD100, PD101, PD200


First Nations Political Structures introduces students to First Nations Peoples’ laws and institutions, and criminal justice systems. In this course, students will gain awareness of the importance of preserving Indigenous justice systems. Students will develop an understanding of the effects of Western judicial systems and the strains they create for First Nations Peoples' relationships with Western governments. Topics include indigenous identities, government policy implications, tensions between law enforcement officers and Indigenous Peoples on and off reserves, self-development and colonialism. 

New Prerequisite: PD100


This course focuses on the interaction between mental health, addiction and crime as faced by officers in the line of duty. This course exposes students to various mental health and substance abuse disorders using real case scenarios alongside the students’ personal experiences. Students will become familiar with risk assessment and management techniques, anti-drug legislation in Canada, the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act and legislative progress made on the War on Drugs. By the end of this course, students will be aware of the victimization/stigma associated with mental health, substance abuse disorders and criminal justice policy.

Prerequisite: One of: PD100, PD101, PD200.


This course provides an in-depth analysis of issues surrounding domestic violence, including gendered power relationships, under the broader framework of the sociology of gender. Students will examine the various manifestations of domestic violence, including physical, sexual, psychological, social and economic abuse of intimate partners, children and elders. The types of interventions used to address domestic violence, as well as their costs, benefits and limitations will be considered.

Prerequisite: One of: PD100, PD101, PD200.

PD305: Media, Social Media, and Crime (0.5 CREDIT)

This course will examine the impacts of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on law enforcement and investigation practices. Students will learn how to effectively communicate with the general public through social media platforms. Students will be exposed to the current policies and legislation dealing with Social Media including the Freedom of Information Act, protection of privacy and delivering sensitive information. Conversely, students will be exposed to cultural criminal theories, critical Marxist theories and Foucauldian theory. In addition, students will identify how real-time virtual public platforms allow law enforcement officials to discover, conduct and analyze evidence in solving online crimes. In turn, law enforcement officials will be able to use social platforms as agents of social control to assist in reducing the amount of online/virtual deviance, i.e., cyberbullying.

Prerequisite:  One of PD101, PD204, PD205.


This course will explore contemporary issues of ethics, corruption and accountability for law enforcement personnel. Specifically, this course will also explore how police institutions, the media, the public and overseeing bodies respond to allegations of unethical or improper conduct by law enforcement. Students will apply relevant criminological theories to understand well-known cases of police corruption, racial profiling, noble cause policing and use of excessive force. Students will understand how the powers afforded to police may be used to both uphold and undermine legitimate police practices.

Prerequisite:  PD202 and one of  PD100, PD101, PD200, PD201.


This course provides students with training in qualitative and legal research methodologies. The content of this course is divided into three sections. The first segment is designed to introduce students to the various epistemological differences between qualitative and quantitative methodology. The second segment exposes students to qualitative research design including research ethics, theoretical grounding, data collection techniques and organization, interpretation and reporting of data findings.  The third section provides students with the opportunity to build on their knowledge, communication and analytical skills to make effective and legally defensible arguments.

Prerequisite: PD300.


This course is designed to allow students to build upon either their work experience and/or previous security training. In this course, students will learn how to apply use of force theory along with the basic physical skills required to de-escalate/escape, mediate or gain control of human crisis situations. Students will use a multidisciplinary theoretical approach to identify the root causes of civil unrest and the importance of social media. Using case studies as examples, students will learn how to communicate, manage and ensure officer safety mechanisms such as principles of riot control that are set in place during periods of citizens/ civil unrest. Topics include the legal provisions for the use of force, the “fleeing felon” rule, police acts and standards and liability of police use of force. By the end of the course, students will have the knowledgeable and transfer skills to control and prevent civil riots using the appropriate force.

Prerequisite: PD204 and one of PD100, PD101.


This course examines historical trauma and its generational impacts on First Nation Peoples. Students will learn from elders to better understand respectful ways of practicing law enforcement in First Nations communities and with Indigenous Peoples. They will learn to engage and acknowledge the varying supports and integral roles law enforcement officers offer in First Nations communities. The goal of this course is for law enforcement officials to gain a diverse understanding of the issues that face First Nations communities. 

New Prerequisite:  PD101 or PD201.


An emphasis will be placed on providing law enforcement officers with the necessary skills to recognize, accept and be mindful of ethnic, racial, gender, religious and other forms of diversity within Canada. Using current case examples, students will be able to understand the importance of collaboration/consultation with community agencies, stakeholders and police chiefs to formulate new tactical approaches to crime within conflict zones. By the end of this course, students will have achieved the necessary skills to identify, address and maintain neutrality to resolve/stabilize external involvement with marginalized populations such as people living in poverty, First Nations and ethnic minorities. Additionally, they will have gained the necessary skills in resolving and stabilizing personal conflict within a multicultural workplace.

Prerequisite:  PD100 and PD301.


This course offers an in-depth exploration of the legal, social and technical issues related to cybercrime within a globalized context. Emerging legal responses to cybercrime will be discussed with reference to challenges facing law enforcement. Applied issues in cybercrime will also be considered, including the collection of digital forensic evidence, the preservation of rights guaranteed under the Charter and the logistics of leading cybercrime investigations across international jurisdictions. Relevant criminological theory will be used to guide discussions of the methods and motivations of cybercriminals.

Prerequisite: PD100 and PD305.