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Faculty of Arts now offers major in police studies

By Janet Harron | June 27, 2008

Students interested in pursuing a major in police studies can now do so right here at Memorial.

The Faculty of Arts has announced it will be offering the program in the 2008/2009 academic year.

Following the success of the Diploma in Police Studies which began in 2004 and has graduated 112 constables to date, the Faculty of Arts and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary have partnered again on this new initiative. 

Police officers today need the problem-solving abilities and critical thinking strategies that an arts education can provide and all those involved agree that a continued connection with the university is of great importance. 

The new major will make it easier for those constables who have already completed the diploma program to go on to finish a BA as they would already have completed 15 courses towards their undergraduate degree.

In order to address the specific needs of the policing community regarding flexibility, much of the coursework will be available online and via distance learning. 

The program also includes an optional internship component with the Department of Justice or the RNC. Several new courses in police studies will also be offered.

Program co-ordinator Anne Morris of the sociology department said many people worked on the initiative, which was approved by Senate on May 13. 

"This is the result of the co-operative efforts from many departments at Memorial University and members of the RNC,” said Ms. Morris. 

“The multi-disciplinary nature of the degree provides a wide variety of perspectives on many important issues related to policing. Students can take courses in psychology, sociology, philosophy, political science, law and society, education, social work, etc., in addition to the police studies courses.

"Having a minor in specific interest areas such as economics and business will enable officers working in specialized areas to enhance their skills and knowledge.”

Whereas the successful completion of the Diploma in Police Studies guarantees employment with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the major in Police Studies is for experienced police officers and for others working within a policing environment who wish to obtain a university degree. It is intended to promote critical thinking about social issues to those working in a policing environment and not as a professional qualification.

“We believe there is a real need for this program. Police departments are increasingly realizing the benefits to their officers of a university degree," said Associate Dean of undergraduate studies, Professor Peter Ayres.

"We have had expressions of interest in this program from police forces in other areas of Canada and from overseas. We also hope that the new major will attract others working in law enforcement, including civilian members of the RNC, RCMP civilian employees, members of the military, researchers, and perhaps those working in corrections.”