Paralegal Certificate Program

Earn Your Certificate in Four Months OR One Year With Flexible Program Options

Our ABA-approved, flexible full-time day or part-time evening program options provide students with the education to pursue their professional goals. Experienced instructors, along with an extensive network of regional law offices and a thriving alumni network, ensures student success upon completion of the program.

Why you should take this program:

30 Years of Preparing High-Achieving Paralegals

Since 1986 Villanova University has prepared its students for the highly skilled paralegal profession. Through expert instruction, legal specialization courses, and the availability of Villanova resources, graduates from the Paralegal certificate program are experts in legal terminology, case research, and are prepared to meet the expectations of a legal office. Learn more about how our graduates stand out from the rest. 

Program Requirements & Admission

Please reference the items listed below for requirements to apply for the Full-Time Day program and Part-Time Evening program.

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution (submission of official transcript)
  • Essay - Writing sample of career goals
  • Optional - A letter of recommendation attesting to academic ability, work experience, or character.
  • $50.00 application fee

Interested students should complete the application process at least two months prior to the start of class so the College of Professional Studies has time to review applicant information.

Sample Academic Calendar:

  • Coming Soon: Paralegal Day 2017 Fall Schedule
  • Coming Soon: Paralegal Evening 2017 Summer Schedule
  • Coming Soon: Paralegal Evening 2017 Fall Schedule

Acceptance of Transfer Courses:

  • Villanova University Paralegal program will accept a maximum of four courses as transfers from another ABA approved paralegal program.
  • To request the transfer of courses students must submit proof of satisfactory course completion, a syllabus and description.
  • The Paralegal program coordinator will determine if the transfer course material supplied is accepted and satisfies the Villanova program requirements.
  • In some cases, the transferring student may be asked to take an exam to show competency in a subject area/course being accepted in transfer.
  • Any student completing the Villanova University paralegal program must have completed at least the equivalent of 10 semester credit hours in the traditional classroom setting.
  • The Villanova paralegal program does not accept the transfer of on-line courses from another program.

 

Part-Time Evening Program

Complete Your Paralegal Certificate in One Year

The part-time evening paralegal program was designed with flexibility in mind for students with full-time jobs or other commitments. Classes emphasize legal principles, theories, paralegal procedures and on the job practices. Interested individuals should apply to begin in the Fall Semester and follow the education track to complete the program in 9 months.

All courses emphasize paralegal skills, forms, documents and procedures, as well as legal principles and theories which are pertinent to the paralegal’s performance on the job. Core courses are designed to help students understand basic legal concepts and develop the decision-making abilities needed by paralegals. Specialty courses focus on high demand areas of employment and help students to develop and apply practical and immediately marketable paralegal skills. Each course will require the student to become well versed with all documents necessary to apply the legal knowledge learned, and be proficient in document preparation. Documents will include pleadings, interrogatories, contracts, corporation articles and by-laws, bankruptcy petitions, petitions for custody and child support, trial briefs and memorandums, deeds, agreements of sale, inheritance tax returns, and many others.

Program Highlights:

  • Students can enter the program in the Fall semester.
  • Applications are reviewed in advance as they are submitted. 
  • Classes are held 3 nights a week from 6pm to 9pm.
  • Students are tracked to complete the program in 9 months.
  • Completion of all 15 classes is required for graduation.

Course Curriculum

All students are required to take 15 courses. The curriculum is pre-set each term, and all students will be registered in all 15 courses prior to the start of the semester. 

Course Fees & Schedule

Tuition:
Tuition is payable per semester or per course(s) at the beginning of each term. Per Course tuition rate is $480.

Books and parking are additional.

Registration, Billing/Payments and Cancellation Policy

Please know these dates are subject to change.

Course Name Start Date
Start End End Date
Room
Orientation Saturday, August 19, 2017        
Introduction to the Paralegal Profession & Principles Tuesday, August 22, 2017 6:00 PM 9:00 PM Tuesday, October 3,2017 Vasey Hall 201 A
Civil Procedure and the Litigation Process Wednesday, August 30, 2017 6:00 PM 9:00 PM Wednesday , October 18,2017 Vasey Hall 201 A
Legal Writing Tuesday, September  17, 2017 6:00 PM 9:00 PM Thursday, October 19, 2017 Vasey Hall 201 A
Fall Break          
Legal Research Tuesday, October 17,2017 6:00 PM 9:00 PM Tuesday, December 5, 2017 Vasey Hall 201 A
Paralegal Office Coordination Wednesday, October 25, 2017 6:00 PM 9:00 PM Wednesday, December 6, 2017 Vasey Hall 201 A
Contract Law Thursday, November 2, 2017 6:00 PM 9:00 PM Thursday, December 14, 2017 Vasey Hall 201 A

Full-Time Day Program

The full-time day paralegal program was designed for students committed to earning their 280 hour paralegal certificate in a condensed 4 month, one semester time period.

Program Highlights

  • The program consists of 15 courses equaling 280 class hours.
  • The curriculum is preset at the beginning of each semester and students will be registered for all 15
  • Classes are held 5 days a week with approximately 2 courses per day. Morning sessions are from 9:00 am -12:00 pm and afternoon sessions are held from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm. 
  • Villanova paralegal courses are held on campus.
  • Graduation requires students to complete:
    • All courses with a grade of “C” or above
    • An exit exam
    • An exit questionnaire
    • A portfolio of written work

 

Course Fees & Schedule

The tuition cost for the paralegal day program is $7,200 per semester.
Books and parking permit are additional.

Registration, Billing/Payments and Cancellation Policy

Schedule

Fall 2017 Day Schedule

Course Name
Start Date
End Date
Room
Orientation Tuesday, August, 22, 2017    
Introduction to the Paralegal Profession & Principles Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Friday, September 8, 2017 St. Mary's 126
Civil Procedure and the Litigation Process Thursday, August 24, 2017 Thursday, September 14, 2017 St. Mary's 126
Legal Research Tuesday, August, 29, 2017 Tuesday, September 19, 2017 St. Mary's 126
Legal Writing Wednesday, September 13, 2017 Monday, September, 25, 2017 St. Mary's 129
Contract Law Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Monday, October 2, 2017 St. Mary's 126
Tort and Personal Injury Law Tuesday, September 26, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 St. Mary's 126
Paralegal Office Coordination Wednesday, September 27, 2017 Monday, October, 16, 2017 St. Mary's 126
Business Organizations Tuesday, October, 3, 2017 Thursday, October 26, 2017 St. Mary's 129
Estates & Trusts Friday, October 20, 2017 Wednesday, November 1, 2017 St. Mary's 126
Criminal Law Wednesday, October 25, 2017 Monday, November 6, 2017 St. Mary's 126
Employment Law Thursday, November 2, 2017 Tuesday, November 21, 2017 St. Mary's 126
Ethics Friday, November 3, 2017 Friday, November 17,2017 St. Mary's 129
Family Law Monday, Novemeber 6, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 St. Mary's 126
Intellectual Property Law Tuesday, November 7, 2017 Tuesday, November 28, 2017 St. Mary's 126
Real Estate Law Monday,November 20, 2017 Wednesday, December 6, 2017 St. Mary's 126
         

Course Curriculum

To graduate from the paralegal program and earn a Villanova University certificate of completion, students must earn a grade of ‘C’ or higher in each class, complete a program exit exam, and submit a portfolio of class assignments. 

Core Courses Legal Specialty Courses
  • Intro. to the Paralegal Profession & Principles
  • Civil Procedure & the Litigation Process
  • Legal Research
  • Legal Writing
  • Contract Law
  • Torts and Personal Injury Law
  • Ethics
  • Business Organizations
  • Paralegal Office Coordination
  • Criminal Law
  • Employment Law
  • Estates & Trusts
  • Family Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Real Estate Law

About the Profession

The paralegal plays an important role in today's business and legal arena. The paralegal is charged with assisting attorneys in supporting their clients efficiently, conducting research, and completing casework and documentation. 

The ABA definition of a legal assistant/paralegal is “A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”

Responsibilities of a Paralegal:

  • Preparing and writing court documents, including trial notebooks and jury instructions
  • Conducting client and witness interviews
  • On-site investigation and photos
  • Ensuring all case documents are readily available for a law firm and preparing legal documents for trial
  • Performing research via online portals and reference libraries for evidence in cases

Responsibilities of a paralegal or legal assistant will vary depending on the organization they work for. Students are encouraged to explore their legal specialty so they can become familiar with the industry they would like to work in. See the examples below for more details.

  • Boutique Firm (practices one type of law, i.e. tax, family law)
  • Corporations with in-house counsel (bank, insurance company, medical company)
  • Governmental Agencies (social services, defense)
  • Home-Office (freelance)

Benefits of a paralegal certificate:

According to the American Bar Association, the average cost of a law degree from a private school is $34,300 annually and more than $16,800 at a public school. The median annual salary for a paralegal is $48,350 and allows a professional to work in the legal field without the debt of a law degree. Working as a paralegal also provides a foundation of knowledge and opportunity for advancement in a law firm.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

Industry Statistics

 

The United States Department of Labor provides a foundation of statistics and career search data for professionals to make informed decisions regarding paralegal certification. Be sure to read the statistics below and visit the Department of Labor website to learn more about the paralegal field and industry growth forecast.

Department of Labor Statistics

2014 Median Pay $48,350 per year
Work Experience in Related Occupation None
On-The-Job Training None
Number of jobs in 2014 279,500
Job Outlook, 2014-2024 8% (As fast as average)
Typical Entry-Level Education Associate's Degree

Career Services

Students enrolled in the Paralegal certificate program not only have access to the Villanova Career Center but can also connect with a network of more than 72 law firms and 260+ active alumni. These tools ensure our alumni have access to the resources needed for employment upon graduation. 

The College of Professional Studies (CPS) has cultivated relationships with law firms in the region and has a history of providing competent paralegals to these firms. For this reason, our graduates are routinely recruited and hired. The College of Professional Studies is sent job opportunities by alumni and partners an average of 4-7 times a month, which is then shared with our paralegal certificate alumni.

In addition to program specific resources offered through CPS, students enrolled in the Paralegal certificate also have access to the Villanova University Career Center which includes: 

  • Assisting students with defining academic and career goals
  • Planning your successful job search
  • Personalized resume review
  • Interview coaching
  • Access to the Villanova job bank: HandShake
  • Answering academic and career questions
  • Suggesting Career Center resources to help you move forward

Learn more at the Villanova University Career Center

Financial Aid Opportunities

Scholarship Information

Villanova University's Office of Continuing Studies invites students to submit their names for consideration for the Bisk Education Endowed Scholarship for Part-Time and Continuing Studies.

Established in 2008 by Bisk Education, Inc., the Bisk Education endowed Scholarship for Part-Time and Continuing Studies seeks to recognize non-traditional students who demonstrate both academic potential and financial need.

To qualify: Continuing Studies students must be officially enrolled in a Continuing Studies certificate granting program in either the fall or spring semesters. Scholarship applicants must also demonstrate financial need, as determined by the Office of Financial Assistance.

To apply:  Students must complete and submit the Bisk Education Endowed Scholarship Fall or Spring Application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Although Continuing Studies programs do not qualify for financial assistance, the FAFSA will be used to determine financial need as required by the scholarship criteria.  

Please include a cover letter with your application indicating the Certificate Program and term you have applied/registered for and any other information you wish to share with us.

  • Fall Semester - application deadline is August 15
  • Spring Semester - application deadline is December 5

Financial Aid

Loan options are provided by both Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo. Please select the links below for more information. 

An American Bar Association (ABA) Approved Program

A Message From Our Faculty

Valerie Okonweze - Evening Paralegal Program

Sean McCarthy - Day Paralegal Program