Paralegal Studies

UC's ABA-approved paralegal program is a practice-oriented course of study designed to prepare students to become paralegals.

At UC, You Can

Voted Best Paralegal Program by Lawyer's Weekly Approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) since 1988, and accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, our Paralegal Studies program signals to employers that you have the necessary skills to be an effective professional.

ABA Approved ProgramWhether you're a practicing paralegal looking to advance or you're looking to join the field, we deliver a program that puts you in the best position to pursue a successful career as a paralegal working with or in legal, corporate, healthcare, nonprofit or government organizations.

We're Here to Help 

At UC, we support you on your individual path. Whether you are just starting out or picking up where you left off, we work with you to accomplish your goals. As you work with our faculty, each respected in their field, you'll build lasting connections that open doors to your success.

You'll receive one-on-one guidance from your advisor each step of the way. You may take advantage of our prior learning assessment, applying transfer credit, trainings and assessments, military experience, work experience, and self-taught skills toward your degree. 

You NeedYou Don't Need
  • A desire to be an essential part of the legal system
  • Official transcripts from high school, college
  • Entrance exam
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Admission essay
  • Application fee

Taught By Sitting Judges and Practicing Lawyers

Their knowledge and experience ensures everything you learn applies to the professional world and stays ahead of industry changes. You won't just study books on how the law works, you will learn it directly from the people who are practicing it.

"I teach my students all sorts of subsets of litigation. I was a litigator as an attorney and now people litigate cases before me. I teach students from my hands-on experience from the start of a case through the ultimate appeal, if necessary,"

Michael Feeney, Judge, Rhode Island Worker's Compensation Court 
His Advice: Get involved, and it opens doors.
More: Teaching As An Extension of Law: Judge Michael Feeney, UC Adjunct Professor

Paralegals work in a variety of law offices. Our students receive education in many different facets of substantive law, including litigation, criminal law, legal databases and alternative dispute resolution in order to develop well-rounded legal professionals capable of succeeding in any field. It should be noted that paralegals are prohibited from the practice of law except when allowed by law or court rule. 

Sample Courses

Legal research
Legal Research & Writing 
Legal law
Emerging Technologies in the Legal Environment 
Criminal law
Criminal Law for the Paralegal

Bachelor & Associate Degree Options

This ABA approved Paralegal Program prepares you to complete any paralegal assignment in a competent, professional, and ethical manner.

Our graduates pursue successful careers as paralegals in legal, corporate, non-profit, or government organizations, and many continue to law school.

    13 required courses
    10 core courses  
      3 paralegal electives
+ 15 electives                  
________________________
     41 courses (121 credits)

See Degree Requirements

The Associate in Paralegal Studies program covers the fundamental skills you'll need to start a career as a professional paralegal working closely with attorneys.

Our graduates pursue successful careers as paralegals in legal, corporate, non-profit, or government organizations, and many continue to law school.

     8 required courses 
     7 core courses
     1 paralegal elective 
+  5 electives                  
________________________
     21 courses (61 credits)

See Degree Requirements

Paralegal Certificates 

These professional certificates are pathways for people with experience in other fields to become paralegals in their area of focus. Take advantage of these fast-track options to get working as a paralegal if you have experience in nursing, healthcare, or another field. 

This professional certificate program is designed to introduce professionals in the healthcare industry to the legal system and the role of the paralegal in the field. You will study specific practice areas where medical knowledge is particularly appropriate. 

It is open to students who have previously earned 60 hours of credit or a baccalaureate or associate degree, and who have at least 4,000 hours of nursing experience. 

This program is designed to allow our graduates to meet the needs of the business employer who requires experience in medical as well as legal issues. These would include law firms, hospitals, insurance companies, consulting firms, government agencies, and health care systems. 

10 required courses = 30 credits

See Certificate Details

This professional certificate program is designed for registered nurses interested in training in performing legal tasks and the application of nursing knowledge to legal services.

It is open to registered nurses who have previously earned 60 hours of credit or a baccalaureate or associate degree, and who have at least 4,000 hours of nursing experience.

      9 required courses 
+  1 nurse paralegal elective                  
________________________
     10 courses (30 credits)

See Certificate Details

This professional certificate program provides specialized legal training that builds on top of a non-legal degree, preparing students for paralegal careers. 

This program is open to students who have previously earned a baccalaureate degree. 

      9 required courses 
+  2 paralegal electives                  
________________________
    11 courses (31 credits)

See Certificate Details

Flexible Options to Suit Your Schedule

The entire Paralegal Studies degree can be completed from anywhere you are. The majority of the courses are available online without specific course meeting times. In accordance with ABA requirements, a minimum of 9 credits (3 courses) of legal specialty courses must be taken in synchronous instruction. That means you will either attend class meetings through your computer at our conveniently located campus in downtown Providence. Your advisor will help you determine the best schedule for you.

Your Career

As the legal industry experiences transformation due to economic and technological changes, opportunities for accomplished and technically-savvy paralegals have increased significantly. These careers are expected to grow by 12 percent in the next 10 years, more than twice as fast as average. Many of our graduates continue on to law school.

While career outlooks depend on candidate experience and specific employer requirements, the table below reflects median salaries for health care administrators in the following potential positions*

ProfessionWhat You'll DoWhat You NeedAverage Salary
Pharmaceutical ParalegalPerform legal tasks to support pharmaceutical companies Bachelor's degree$80,320
Hospital Legal Support WorkerStudy documents and medical records related to claims or law suits, interpret medical terminology and industry jargonBachelor's degree$65,400
Insurance Claims InvestigatorEvaluate insurance claims Bachelor's degree$66,340
Litigation paralegalPerform a variety of tasks to support lawyersAssociate's degree$54,500
Legal SecretaryPrepare legal papers and correspondence Associate's degree$52,410
Title Examiner Search real estate records, examine titles, or summarize pertinent legal or insurance documents.Postsecondary non-degree to Bachelor's $47,130

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook. Job outlook: 2018-2028. Mean salary: 2018

Program Objectives

  • To teach you substantive and procedural law with the objective of preparing you to complete any paralegal assignment in a competent, professional, and ethical manner.
  • image of working toward their paralegal degree in UC's paralegal studies degree progamTo develop your legal writing skills by exercising your critical thinking skills and analytical skills.
  • To give you an understanding of legal research and to develop your ability to locate answers to legal questions.
  • To ensure that you have up-to-date skills in technology, including the use of computers for data and word processing, and legal research.
  • Through practical application, to improve your ability to work cooperatively with others; develop your leadership skills and the ability to assume responsibility; and to improve your ability to follow directions.
  • To maintain good communications with private and public legal services providers to ensure that the paralegal program stays abreast of changes in the legal field in order to provide you with meaningful and current paralegal training.
  • To maintain good relations with national, state, and local bars and paralegal associations and to work collaboratively with these groups to improve and increase the utilization of paralegal services.

Program Outcomes

  • Provide students with knowledge of ethics and professional responsibility to enable them to recognize these values and perform legal services in an ethical manner.
  • Provide each student with tools to develop critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Develop in each student the ability to communicate effectively through training in legal research, writing, listening and speaking skills.
  • Provide each student with the ability to be a competent legal professional by providing legal theory and practical skills utilized in the legal environment.

Individualized Support, More Affordable

At University College, you get the individualized attention of a private university at a more affordable cost. There are multiple options for financial aid, scholarships, and accelerated paths to get you to the degree you need. Some programs run by Roger Williams are awarded by simply applying for admission, while others are awarded to students through a more formal aid application process.

To ensure full consideration for all aid programs, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • Tuition Costs & Fees: A valuable education you can afford
  • Financing Your Education: Filling out the FAFSA
  • Do You Live in Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, Foster, Glocester or Pawtucket? Ask about RWU's lower-cost tuition agreements for residents of these communities
  • Military: We can help you navigate the application process for tuition assistance, GI Bill benefits, and other tuition benefits, which include waived application fee and discounted tuition rates for service members and spouses, as well as financial aid.
  • Employers & Municipalities: Many employers, including municipalities, will reimburse tuition costs. Ask your HR team for details about your benefits.

image of UC Paralegal Studies Coordinator Tracey PrattQuestions? Meet Tracey

Everyone has questions.

Our Paralegal Studies Coordinator Tracey Pratt has answers. Call her at (401) 254-3657 or email tpratt@rwu.edu