Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 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 Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies is designed for students who have completed a baccalaureate degree and wish to continue their education. It provides students with the technical skills and specialized knowledge to work under the supervision of lawyers in federal and state agencies or court systems, in a variety of legal service settings, in private law offices or corporate legal departments, and in a multitude of other public and private organizations where familiarity with government regulation and legal processes is required. The program is approved by the American Bar Association.

Please note that students obtaining a certificate 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

  1. Students must meet the Admission Requirements for Post-Baccalaureate Certificates.
  2. Students must have completed the equivalent of:
    WRTG A111Writing Across Contexts3
    Select 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
    Writing and Rhetoric in Public Life
    Advanced Technical Writing
    Professional Writing
    Research Writing
    Professional Editing
  3. Students must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 in their baccalaureate program.


  1. Students who have not completed the English prerequisites for admission to the program should begin their English coursework in their first semester.
  2. Proficiency in the use of computers and standard office software is an important component of legal practice. Students are strongly encouraged to build their technological skills through coursework in Computer Information and Office Systems (CIOS), Computer Information Systems (CIS), or Computer and Networking Technology (CNT) as they progress through the program.
  3. Campus restrictions for this program are enforced in accordance with American Bar Association Guidelines for the Approval of Paralegal Education Programs. Therefore, the certificate cannot be completed at extended campuses. Courses designated in this catalog as legal specialty courses may be taken only at the Anchorage campus.
  4. Post-Baccalaureate certificates are subject to specific restrictions on the use of transfer credits. See Post-Baccaluareate Policies for details.
  5. Students interested in the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies should consult a faculty advisor in the Justice Center before enrolling in Legal Studies courses.

Certificate Requirements

Required Core Courses
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 Internship3-6
Legal Studies Elective Courses
Select one of the following: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 Legal Studies or Justice course with Legal Studies coordinator approval
Total Credits24-27
  1. Students must achieve a minimum grade of C in each Legal Studies core course and in the selected Legal Studies and Justice electives. Courses may be repeated twice to improve grades.
  2. All Paralegal Studies students must take the Legal Studies Exit Examination. There is no minimum score required for graduation.
  3. Students must complete at least 24 approved semester credits earned after the posting of their previous degree.
  4. A total of 24 credits is required for the certificate.

Pro Bono Service Honors

The Justice Center awards pro bono service honors to those legal studies students who work toward improving access to justice by contributing volunteer service to Alaska legal aid agencies. Students majoring in any of the legal studies programs, as well as legal studies minors, are eligible to graduate with pro bono service honors upon satisfactory completion of the following requirements:

  1. Meet the catalog requirements for the minor, degree or certificate sought.
  2. Complete the following number of volunteer hours with a legal services agency approved by the Legal Studies Department program coordinator:
    1. Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Paralegal Studies: 50 hours
  3. Students intending to graduate with pro bono service honors must obtain written verification of their hours of service from the legal service agency or agencies assisted.
  4. In the semester they intend to graduate, students must submit their verification of service hours and written notice of their intent to graduate with pro bono service honors to the Legal Studies Department program coordinator. The verification and notice must be received by the coordinator on or before the date established by the Office of the Registrar as the deadline to apply for graduation.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 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.