Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies

The American Bar Association defines a paralegal as a person “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.” The Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies provides students with the specialized skills and knowledge to build a career performing substantive legal work under the supervision of a lawyer, in accordance with American Bar Association standards, or to work in a variety of public service and government agencies where familiarity with government regulation and legal processes is required. The program is approved by the American Bar Association.

The AAS in Paralegal Studies is coordinated with the Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies. Students obtaining the associate degree may apply their core courses and general education credits toward completion of the baccalaureate degree.

Please note that students obtaining a degree are not authorized to provide direct legal services to the public. The program offers training for paraprofessionals who are authorized to perform substantive legal work under the supervision of a licensed attorney. The program does not train lawyers.

Admission Requirements

Students who do not meet the admissions requirements will be admitted as pre-majors. Students may take up to 12 credit hours of Legal Studies courses while in pre-major status.


  • Students who have not completed the English prerequisites for admission to the program should begin their English coursework in their first semester as a pre-major.
  • Campus restrictions for this program are enforced in accordance with American Bar Association Guidelines for the Approval of Paralegal Education Programs. Therefore, the degree cannot be completed at extended campuses. Courses designated in this catalog as legal specialty courses may be taken only at the Anchorage campus.
  • Students interested in the Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies should consult a faculty advisor in the Justice Center before enrolling in Legal Studies courses.
  • Students who plan to pursue a baccalaureate degree in addition to the associate degree should also consult an academic advisor in their intended area of baccalaureate study for appropriate general elective course selections.

Academic Requirements

Students must achieve a minimum grade of C in each Legal Studies core course and in the selected Legal Studies and Justice electives to receive the degree. Courses may be repeated twice to improve grades.

Graduation Requirements

Program Requirements

Written Communication Skills
Writing Across Contexts
Complete one of the following with a minimum grade of B:3
Writing and the Humanities
Writing and the Professions
Writing and the Sciences
Arguing Across Contexts
Complete one of the following with a minimum grade of B:3
Advanced Composition
Advanced Technical Writing
Professional Writing
Research Writing
Professional Editing
Oral Communication Skills
Complete one of the following with a minimum grade of C:3
Fundamentals of Oral Communication
Small Group Communication
Interpersonal Communication
Public Speaking
Quantitative Skills
Complete 3 credits in quantitative skills from the General Education Requirements list with a minimum grade of D.3
Computer Skills
Complete 3 credits in Computer Information and Office Systems (CIOS) or Computer Information Systems (CIS) with a minimum grade of C.3
General Course Requirements
Complete 12 credits from the General Course Requirements for Associate of Applied Science Degrees with a minimum grade of D. Courses used to fulfill the Written Communication Skills, Oral Communication Skills or Quantitative Skills or degree requirements may not be used to meet this requirement. No more than 7 credits may be taken from any one disciplinary area. Students are strongly advised to select courses that also meet the General Education Requirements for Baccalaureate Degrees.12
Legal Studies or Justice Elective
Complete 3 credits of any Legal Studies (LEGL) or Justice (JUST) elective at the 100 level or above with a minimum grade of C.3
Core Courses
Complete the following with a minimum grade of C:
LEGL A101Introduction to Law3
LEGL A215Legal Ethics and the Role of the Legal Professional3
LEGL A356Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing3
LEGL A367Civil Procedure and Pretrial Practice3
LEGL A377Evidence, Investigation, and Discovery3
LEGL A487Trial and Advanced Litigation Processes3
LEGL A495Legal Studies Internship3
Upper Division Legal Studies Electives
Complete one of the following with a minimum grade of C:3
Family Law
Criminal Law and Procedure
Contracts, Debt and Principles of Ownership
Torts, Workers' Compensation and Insurance Law
Health Care Law and Regulatory Compliance
Legal Studies Senior Seminar
Other upper division JUST or LEGL law course with Legal Studies coordinator approval
Complete one of the following with a minimum grade of C:3
Development of Law
Constitutional Law
The Courts
Civil Liberties
Total Credits57

All students in the Paralegal Studies AAS must take the Legal Studies Exit Examination. There is no minimum score required for graduation.

A total of 60 credits is required for the degree.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies will be able to:

  • Produce superior university-level written documents and oral reports.
  • Identify and accurately apply the rules of professional ethics governing lawyers and nonlawyer staff, and the rules governing the unauthorized practice of law in Alaska.
  • Interpret and accurately apply legal terminology and foundational principles of substantive and procedural law in the analysis of legal issues.
  • Develop and execute legal research plans using law library resources and commonly used legal research databases.
  • Synthesize primary and secondary legal authorities and draft memoranda of legal analysis.
  • Prepare legal investigation and discovery plans and draft legal pleadings that conform to the rules of civil procedure and incorporate standard techniques and resources for managing a case in litigation.
  • Relate legal rules and doctrines to client problems in the performance of entry-level paralegal duties in a private law firm, public legal service agency or law department.