Suppose you are interested in law but don’t necessarily want to jump into law school. In that case, a paralegal career may be the perfect fit. As a paralegal, you are professionally trained to assist lawyers with administrative duties, with just a few years of education under your belt.
In fact, most paralegals begin working with a two-year associate’s degree, but career advancement, more opportunities, and higher pay, a bachelor’s degree is the way to go. If you are organized, motivated, and love a high-paced work environment, a bachelor’s in paralegal studies may be for you.
Check out our top bachelors degree in paralegal studies and start making some plans for your future!
Our editors first reviewed best bachelor’s in paralegal studies degree programs in October 2021. This ranking was last updated in November 2023.
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What are the Best Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies Degrees?
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University of Toledo
Our #1 ranking, UToledo’s Bachelor of Science in paralegal studies, is accredited by the American Bar Association, and only about 20% of U.S. paralegal programs earn this distinction.
UToledo’s ABA-approved paralegal bachelor’s degree combines legal knowledge, communication skills, and practical, hands-on experiences. As a student, you will work in state-of-the-art facilities, including a mock courtroom. You also have the opportunity to join a nationally recognized mock trial team, which allows you to create connections with legal professionals across the country.
Whether you want to jump into a paralegal career after graduating or go onto law school, UToledo’s bachelor’s in paralegal studies will get you there. In fact, UToledo reports that 93% of paralegal studies graduates who go to law school pass the bar exam on their first try.
To apply to UToledo’s paralegal program as a freshman, you need the following:
- Four years/units of English
- Four years/units of math (including algebra I and II and geometry)
- Three years/units of natural science
- Three years/units of social science
- At least a 2.5 GPA or a 19 ACT/910 SAT
Montclair State University
Montclair State University is an excellent choice if you are searching for an affordable paralegal bachelor’s degree. Among a handful of notable awards, MSU is ranked among the top universities for affordable tuition by Forbes. At MSU, you will find an ABA-approved Bachelor of Arts in justice studies with a paralegal studies concentration.
MSU’s paralegal studies program offers a “balanced and varied background in theoretical and practical aspects of law.” Through core and concentration courses, you will study topics such as:
- Civil litigation
- Real estate
- Criminal law
- Family law
- Corporate law
To graduate, you must complete 120 credit hours, including a senior seminar and internship, while maintaining at least a 2.75 GPA.
MSU reports that approximately 50% of its program graduates are working as paralegals. This program also serves as an excellent pathway for future studies, such as law school. MSU evaluates applicants on a holistic scale, reviewing factors such as:
- extracurricular activities
- admissions essays
- recommendation letters
Winona State University
Since its beginnings as a teacher’s college in 1858, Winona State University has transformed into the No. 1 Best Public University in Minnesota (U.S. News & World Report). WSU also holds awards as a top school for veterans and a top school for social mobility. WSU offers a highly-ranked ABA-approved Bachelor of Science in legal studies.
WSU’s BS in legal studies is for students who want to become paralegals or go to law school after graduation. This degree combines a strong liberal arts background with foundation legal specialty courses. To graduate, you need to complete 120 credit hours and a semester-long internship where you gain real-world experience in the legal field and paralegal profession.
WSU also offers a 3+3 program through the Mitchell Hamline School of Law where students can receive a BS and JD in just six years! WSU legal studies graduates are eligible to start careers working in:
- Law firms
- Governmental agencies
- Insurance companies
- Banking institutions
Many graduates also use this degree as a pathway to graduate school or law school.
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Part of the Texas A&M system, Texas A&M University-Commerce has a lot to offer its students. Among TAMUC’s unique qualities, you will find top-notch academic programs like a BA/BS in paralegal studies. If you’re looking for a bachelor’s in legal studies online, this is one to check out!
TAMUC offers the only ABA-approved paralegal bachelor’s degree in Texas. The BA/BS can be completed on campus or 100% online for extra flexibility. You can choose between a Bachelor of Arts, which includes 12 hours of a foreign language or a Bachelor of Science, which includes 12 hours of upper-level political science courses.
Along with a strong background in law, you will study areas such as:
- Fundamentals of legal research
- Family law
- Civil procedure
- Business organizations
- Law office management
- Real estate law
- Constitutional law
A paralegal internship is also required, where you will gain valuable on-the-job experience in the legal field.
University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi is a Carnegie R1 research institution, earning it the title of one of the nation’s leading research universities. Southern Miss features the oldest ABA-approved paralegal program in the state, so you won’t want to miss this one! The actual degree is a Bachelor of Arts in legal studies with a paralegal concentration option.
The legal studies faculty at Southern Miss include practicing lawyers and legal professionals, dedicated to helping students reach their academic goals. This program entails 124 credits hours, including 3-9 credits towards internships. Major courses include:
- Civil Litigation
- Legal Research
- Equity Practice
Students are also required to complete a minor from another discipline.
Southern Miss paralegal graduates are ready to work in the legal field, and some begin law school. Recent graduates are currently working in careers like:
- Paralegal/legal assistants
- Politician/government official
- Law enforcement officer
- Judicial administrators
Note that this top bachelor’s degree also includes a pre-law concentration.
National University is proud to hold 50 years of experience in fulfilling its mission: to provide accessible, achievable higher education to students nationwide. While you can complete National University’s Bachelor of Science in paralegal studies on campus, you can also earn it online with four-week classes at a time.
National’s high-value online bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies is approved by the American Bar Association. You will study topics including:
- Legal issues
- Legal analysis
- Legal research
- American legal system
To complete this degree, you need to complete 180 quarter units, which are divided into general education, upper-level division, and electives.
National University is known for its affordability and is a Yellow Ribbon School, offering tuition discounts to military personnel and their dependents. You can also receive transfer credit for work experience, military experience, and even self-development.
A Catholic, non-profit university in Michigan, Madonna University offers affordable degrees both on campus and online. Among its 100 career-focused majors is a top Bachelor of Science in paralegal studies, approved by the American Bar Association. Additionally, you can earn a paralegal certificate after bachelor’s degree in one year of full-time study.
Madonna University’s Bachelor of Science in paralegal studies includes 42 semester hours of major courses including:
- Legal Research and the Internet
- Legal Research and Writing
- Law Office Management
- Law Office Technology
You will also complete an internship. Madonna graduates are sought-after by major law firms, corporations, and courts in the Metro area, and often these careers stem from the required internship.
If you have already completed a bachelor’s degree and are looking for a post-baccalaureate certificate in legal studies, Madonna University is a great option. The paralegal certificate after bachelor’s degree is 30 semester units and takes approximately one year of full time study.
A Jesuit-Catholic institution, Loyola University-Chicago is notable for its student-athlete success both on and off the court. Of course, you don’t have to be an athlete to be successful at Loyola. Check out the Bachelor of Arts in legal studies—a well-rounded approach to becoming a paralegal. You can also pursue a concentration in litigation and corporate practice if you wish.
Loyola’s BA in legal studies includes 120 credit hours, completed through eight-week course formats. Core courses include:
- Advanced Topics in American Law
- Advanced Legal Analysis & Writing
- Legal Research & Writing
- Paralegal Studies
If you choose to pursue the litigation and corporate track, you will learn how to assist attorneys in preparing and presenting lawsuits.
Loyola’s paralegal studies program is geared towards busy adults—allowing you to complete this program online while offering on campus evening and Saturday morning courses. To apply, you need either an associate’s degree in paralegal studies or at least 15 credit hours in paralegal coursework.
Lewis University is a comprehensive, Catholic institution providing small classes and a research-based curriculum. Among its 80+ undergraduate programs is an ABA-approved paralegal bachelor’s degree that will help you reach your goals in becoming a professional paralegal.
Lewis University’s Bachelor of Arts in paralegal studies entails 128 credit hours that can be completed in a traditional or accelerated format. While the core courses are similar to other paralegal programs’ core courses, you will get to choose from electives such as:
- Torts and Personal Injury Law
- Family Law
- Basic Contract Law
- Criminal Procedure/Rules of Evidence
- Western Political Thought
To graduate, you will also complete a practicum and capstone project. To apply to Lewis’s paralegal program, you need:
- An associate’s degree from a regionally accredited institution (recommended)
- To be at least 24 years old
- At least a 2.0 GPA
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies Degree?
A bachelor’s in paralegal studies program is typically 120 credit hours and prepares students for paralegal careers. Some of the best paralegal bachelor’s degree programs are either a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA). A BS usually requires more math and science courses, and a BA entails more arts and humanities courses.
The best paralegal bachelor’s degree programs require a combination of:
- legal coursework
Some programs include concentration areas such as real estate law, business law, or litigation. Sample courses include:
- Introduction to Paralegal Studies
- Legal Ethics
- Corporate Law
Aspiring paralegal professionals need to have the skills in demand by top employers. Some of these include:
- writing skills
- strong attention to detail
- ability to multitask
- legal research skills
A great perk of bachelor’s in paralegal studies degrees is that many are offered entirely online, adding flexibility and convenience to a student’s workload. Additionally, some programs allow both full and part-time formats. Typically, it takes approximately four years to complete a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies if you’re a full-time student
What Degree is Best to Become a Paralegal?
There are three academic credentials that you can use to become a paralegal:
- An associate’s degree
- A bachelor’s degree
- A post-baccalaureate certificate
Many people start with an associate’s degree in paralegal studies and are eligible to gain work as paralegals. However, some paralegal positions require a bachelor’s degree.
A bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies is an excellent way to secure more competitive jobs and higher salaries. However, let’s say you already have a bachelor’s degree, perhaps in another field. In this case, you could earn a post-baccalaureate certificate, typically a condensed version of the bachelor’s requirements.
How Long Does it Take to Earn a Paralegal Degree?
A bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies is typically 120 credit hours, which takes full-time students approximately four years to complete. Some programs offer accelerated paths, lessening the time frame.
What Can You Do with a Paralegal Bachelor’s Degree?
A bachelor’s in paralegal studies provides you with organization, communication, and research skills that translate into an array of careers. The most common career is to become a paralegal. However, even within this field, paralegals work in various job settings:
- Real estate
- Family law
- Criminal law
If you are interested in a specific type of law, look for a top bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies that offers that specific concentration. For example, corporate paralegals work for an entire organization instead of a single lawyer or small firm of lawyers. Litigation paralegals work with lawyers in and outside of the courtroom. Family law paralegals assist attorneys with divorce and custody disputes. Real estate paralegals help clients with paperwork for making real estate purchases.
Some paralegal majors decide to become title examiners or judicial law clerks. Title examiners search real estate, study titles, or summarize legal or insurance documents. If assisting judges in the courtroom appeals to you, perhaps you could become a judicial law clerk. Judicial law clerks also research and prepare legal documents.
Paralegal studies majors can also work as legal analysts. Legal analysts are legal specialists who assist lawyers by conducting and interpreting research. Likewise, some paralegal majors choose to become office managers for attorney’s offices or legal teams. Paralegal professionals enjoy the administrative duties of overseeing projects and employees to ensure the office runs effectively.
How Much Can I Make with a Paralegal Bachelor’s Degree?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for paralegals is nearly $60K annually. However, these statistics are representative of all paralegals, regardless of credentials and experience levels. A bachelor’s degree will increase your salary potential, perhaps closer to the highest 10% who earn more than $94,000
However, it’s also worth noting that entry-level paralegals need an associate’s degree, as noted on BLS. Those with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn more.
How Much is a Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies?
Cost is an important factor when looking for a bachelor’s degree. While the cost of paralegal programs varies, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), reports one year at a public four-year institution averaged $26,000 for the 2021-2022 school year. This number includes tuition, fees, room, and board.
Generally, public universities are less expensive than private institutions. For example, an average year at a public institution is $26,000, while an average year at a private nonprofit one is $55,800.
If you are worried about the price of further education, there are low-cost bachelor’s degrees for paralegal studies out there. While there may not be cheap bachelor’s in paralegal programs, some schools offer tuition assistance and scholarships, lowering the out-of-pocket cost.
The least expensive paralegal studies degrees are from online programs. Online schools often charge students flat-rate tuition and of course, you won’t be paying room and board. Also, the best paralegal bachelor’s degree online programs also do not base tuition on in state or out-of-state status.
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