Paralegal Certificate Program

paralegal students at panel event

Earn Your Paralegal Certificate at Villanova University

A career as a paralegal is ideal for professionals who are excited about the legal field and passionate about helping others. 

Villanova's Paralegal Certificate Program is an ABA approved program and has been educating paralegals for more than 30 years.  

Offered in both full-time and part-time formats, graduates of Villanova's Paralegal program are highly sought after by law firms and legal departments in the Philadelphia region. 

Courses are taught by highly experienced lawyers and paralegals, and cover topics such as legal writing, legal research, contract law, family law, business organizations, ethics, and intellectual property law. 

Professional development opportunities are built into the program, and you also can utilize all of the resources of the Villanova University Career Center. 

Finally, you can connect with a network of more than 72 law firms and 260+ active alumni from Villanova's Paralegal program.


The following items must be submitted as part of the application process:

  • Proof of Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution 
    • Note: Unofficial transcript(s) may be submitted at the time of application for review; official transcripts must be submitted upon admission prior to registration.
  • Essay: Writing sample of career goals
  • Resume
  • $50.00 application fee

Applications for the Paralegal Program are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Transfer Courses:

Students may petition for Villanova to accept a transfer course from another ABA Approved Paralegal program.  All policies related to the transfer of courses are found here.


The Paralegal Certificate Program is designed to train qualified individuals in the theory and philosophy of the law and the ethics of legal practice. Students gain the necessary practical skills to enable them to effectively assist lawyers and executives in providing a full range of legal services to corporations, governmental agencies, law firms, and businesses. 

Students complete the following courses:

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

To 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. 

Part-Time Evening Program

The Part-Time Evening Paralegal Program is an ideal flexible option for students with full-time jobs or other daytime commitments. Students complete the full program to earn a Paralegal Certificate in just nine months.

Students enter the program in the Fall semester (late August) and conclude in May. Classes are held three nights a week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) from 6 to 9 pm.

Students completing the Paralegal Certificate Program are recognized each year at the annual CPS Awards Dinner in May.  Families and friends are welcome to attend to share in the celebration.


Fall 2019 Course Schedule

Course Name Course Dates        
Orientation Saturday, Aug. 17 2019  9 - 11 AM
Introduction to the Paralegal Profession & Principles 
Tuesdays, Aug. 27 - Oct. 8 6 - 9 PM
Civil Procedure and the Litigation Process Wednesdays, Aug. 28 - Oct. 9
6 - 9 PM
Contract Law Thursdays, Aug. 29 - Oct. 3
6 - 9 PM
Business Organizations Tuesdays, Oct. 22 - Nov. 27 6 - 9 PM
Legal Research Wednesdays, Oct. 23 - Dec. 11
6 - 9 PM
Legal Writing Thursdays, Oct. 24 - Dec. 5
6 - 9 PM
Paralegal Career and Panel Discussion
Tuesday, October 29 5:30 - 8:30 PM

Full-Time Day Program

The Full-Time Day Paralegal Program is designed for students committed to earning their Paralegal Certificate in a condensed 4 month time period.

The full program consists of 15 courses, taken over the course of one semester.  Classes are held 5 days a week with approximately 2 courses per day. Morning sessions are from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and afternoon sessions are held from 1 to 4:00 pm.  Full-Time Cohorts begin in August and January every year.


Fall 2019 Program Schedule

Course Dates                    Time          
Saturday, Aug. 17 2019  9 - 11 am
Introduction to the Paralegal Profession & Principles   Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays Aug. 26 - Sept. 11
9 am - 12 pm
Civil Procedure and the Litigation Process Tuesdays and Thursdays: Aug. 27 - Sept. 17
9 am - 12 pm
Legal Research Tuesdays and Thursdays: Aug. 29 - Sept. 19
1 - 4 pm
Legal Writing Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: Sept. 16 - Sept. 27 9 am - 12 pm
Contract Law Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: Sept. 16 - Sept. 27
1 - 4 pm
Paralegal Office Coordination Tuesdays and Thursdays: Sept. 24 - Oct. 10
1 - 4pm
Tort and Personal Injury Law Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: Sept. 30 - Oct. 11
9 am - 12 pm
Business Organizations Tuesdays and Thursdays: Oct. 1 - Oct. 24
9 am - 12pm
Fall Break Oct. 14 - Oct. 20  
Estates & Trusts Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: Oct. 21 - Nov. 1 9 am - 12pm
Criminal Law Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: Oct. 23 - Nov. 4 1 - 4pm
Paralegal Career and Panel Discussion
Tuesday, October 29 5:30 - 8: 30pm
Employment Law Tuesdays and Thursdays: Oct. 31 - Nov. 19
1 - 4 pm
Ethics Fridays, Nov. 8 - Nov. 22 9 am - 12 pm
Family Law Mondays and Fridays, Nov. 4 - Dec. 9 9 am - 12 pm
Intellectual Property Law Tuesdays and Thursdays: Nov. 5 - Nov. 21
9 am - 12 pm
Real Estate Law Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: Nov. 18 - Dec. 4
1 - 4 pm

Tuition & Fees

Tuition: $7,800 ($520 per course)

Parking Fee: $25 (Day Program); $50 (Evening Program)

Average Cost of Course Materials: $1,200

Non-Credit Program Payment Plans

CPS students enrolling in the Paralegal Program may participate in a payment plan. Payment plans are offered through Tuition Management System (TMS), and students are encouraged to reach out to TMS directly at:

Please note:

  • Payments must be made over the course of three months.
  • There is an additional $45 payment plan fee for each semester. 

View Financial information, including Cancellation Policies, Billing, and Payments.


Career Services at Villanova

Students enrolled in the Paralegal Certificate Program can connect with a network of more than 72 law firms and 260+ active alumni. Additionally, 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. CPS is regularly sent job opportunities by alumni and partners and shares them through HandShake.

In addition to program specific resources offered through CPS, students enrolled in the Paralegal program 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

About the Profession

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

Legal specialty areas to explore:  

  • 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


IMPORTANT: Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.


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

2017 Median Pay $50,410 per year
Work Experience in Related Occupation None
On-The-Job Training None
Number of jobs in 2016 285,600
Job Outlook, 2016-2026 15% (Much faster than average)
Typical Entry-Level Education Associate's Degree