The curriculum of online paralegal studies programs is similar to that of a traditional, on-campus program. It should be noted that many paralegals only need an associate's degree to qualify for employment and that these associate's degree programs in paralegal studies are also widely available online.
Bachelor's Degree in Paralegal Studies
Bachelor's programs in paralegal studies can be completed in three or four years and may include an internship or cooperative learning opportunity, which can usually be completed locally.
In addition to general education courses, paralegal students study various types of law as well as techniques for legal writing and research. The following courses are generally included in a paralegal studies bachelor's degree curriculum:
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Civil Litigation
- Torts and Contracts
- Real Estate Law
- Trademark and Copyright Law
- Business Law
- Legal Ethics
- Legal Writing and Analysis
- Legal Research Methods
Professional Skills Development
Students who complete a paralegal studies or legal studies bachelor's degree program typically develop the following skills, which qualify them for paralegal work in a variety of legal settings:
- Preparation and composition of legal documents
- Analysis of client files and legal information
- Implementation of research plans using print and media sources
- Execution of client interviews and depositions
- Application of administrative and organizational software
Distance learning students are often able to study at their own pace, though they may have deadlines for projects and assignments. They typically access course content, lectures, class notes and other communications via a virtual learning platform and may interact with instructors and peers through e-mails or chats as well as participate in live or threaded online discussion forums. Students may need to log in a few times a week in order to meet class attendance requirements.
Overall, bachelor's degree programs in paralegal studies provide the same legal instruction and professional skill-building opportunities as their on-campus counterparts, but with greater scheduling flexibility.