For students with little or no college experience, the recommended path is to pursue the Associate of Arts degree (AA) and then to continue working towards the Bachelor of Arts degree. All coursework for the A.A. rolls forward and applies towards the bachelor’s degree. Students earn their Certificate in Paralegal Studies upon the completion of the requirements for the 60-semester hour Associate of Arts degree.
To receive the Associate of Arts degree with a major in Paralegal Studies, students must complete a total of 60 hours of coursework. Nine paralegal courses plus an internship (which has a classroom component) are required to complete the major. Students begin with the six core paralegal courses (see above). In addition students must complete three advanced elective courses and the internship course. Advanced elective courses are paralegal courses at or above the 400-level, a selection of which are offered on a rotating basis each semester. The core courses must be taken before registering for any of the advanced electives. Generally, the internship course is taken in the last semester of enrollment. To successfully complete this degree, the student must maintain a 2.000 grade point average in all paralegal courses taken as well as a 2.000 grade point average overall.
There is a trend in paralegal employment to prefer a four-year degree. Many graduates of the two-year program are gainfully employed in the field, but students pursuing the two-year Associate of Arts degree should be aware that they may need to complete their bachelor’s degree to advance within the profession.
Requirements for the Associate of Arts, the Bachelor of Arts, and the Certificate in Paralegal Studies include the following sequence of 6 core courses:
Before registering for courses, new students must consult with the Paralegal Studies adviser. It is both important and required that students acquire a grounding in general education courses before enrolling in paralegal coursework. The adviser completes a degree worksheet with each student charting a path for successful completion of the degree.