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Online Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies

Your Future is in Your Hands

Enter the Field of Legal Support and Services:

  • Enhance Your Earning Potential
  • Grow Your Confidence
  • Make Positive and Lasting Change in People’s Lives

Do all that and much more when you earn a degree in the Woods Global Legal Studies Program.

Earning this degree opens your future to a vast array of high-paying career options. The American Bar Association conducted a national employers survey and found 86% of employers said that they’ll likely hire a legal studies graduate in the next year, and 71% said they’re willing to pay a premium salary.*

Our expert faculty designed the program specifically for working adults with busy lives. Because William Woods University has been a leader in legal studies for more than 40 years, you’ll find our graduates all across the country. They go on to law school or choose from career options in law firms, state and federal government offices, non-profits, and a wide variety of corporate organizations.

Put the Woods Global Difference to Work for You

When you choose the Woods Global Legal Studies program, you’ll get more out of your online degree program. We combine academic excellence with a student-centered, service- oriented educational environment, and our convenient, eight-week courses offer start-and-stop flexibility and affordable tuition.

  • Learn directly from experienced faculty committed to supporting you every step of the way.
  • Get fully prepared take and pass both the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal (NFPA) certifications.
  • Choose from courses specifically designed to prepare you to ace the LSAT.
  • Gain practical, real-world experience working in our program-based virtual internship.

*"The Future of Legal Studies: A Survey of Employers" by the American Bar Association (ABA) (2023)

Requirements/Curriculum

The William Woods online B.S. in Paralegal Studies degree consists of 42 semester hours in a 14-course sequence. Coursework focuses on the application of substantive and procedural law to legal fact patterns that professionals would encounter in the legal environment. The program strives to build a core of legal knowledge and critical thinking skills, as well as an understanding of professional ethics, communication, and interpersonal skills. These all serve to enhance your ability to function as an effective professional in the legal environment.

Courses you may take

PRL 302 - Law and Paralegalism - 3.00

This introductory course is designed to introduce students to the practical aspects of working within the paralegal field and will include examination of the American legal system, paralegal skills and competencies such as legal analysis, interviewing, investigating, legal research and writing and, regulatory and ethical issues facing paralegals, and career options for the paralegal.

PRL 304 - Electronic Legal Research - 3.00

This course explains the what, how, and why of legal research. Students will learn Boolean searching and formation of queries in order to facilitate the location of primary legal authority and secondary sources. The skills learned in this course will allow students to research paid legal databases and the Internet for substantive and procedural law and to think critically while moving through the steps to locate statutes and case law in order to assist the attorney in representing a client and their legal issue.

PRL 306 - Civil Practice - 3.00

This course introduces the process of civil practice (procedural rules) and the law that governs it (substantive law) and to the skills of investigating and fact gathering which includes interviewing of clients and witnesses. Students will gain practice in drafting the documents necessary for civil matter to proceed through the legal system from filing through trial and post-trial.

PRL 309 - Ethics and the Law Office - 3.00

This course includes an overview of the ethical organization and management of the modern law office. Topics include: client billing, responsibilities concerning client funds, case management systems, law office technology and the Code of Professional Responsibility and Ethical Guidelines for both lawyers and non-lawyers. Rules, statues and case law governing unauthorized practice of law will be covered. Students will analyze, evaluate, articulate and defend positions on ethical questions.

PRL 311 - Evidence and Fact Gathering - 3.00

This course examines the rules governing the admission, exclusion, and presentation of evidence in judicial proceedings. Topics covered in this course include relevancy, authentication, the “Best Evidence” rule: categorical rules of exclusion; character and habit evidence; competency of witnesses; examination and impeachment of witnesses; opinion and expert testimony; presentation of evidence, privilege; the hearsay rule and its exceptions, presumptions and burdens of proof and the scope of judicial notice. Additionally, the course covers strategies for fact-finding, investigation and interviewing techniques for gathering information. Also includes investigative techniques for determining what information is needed and finding, organizing, verifying and documenting the information. Prerequisite: PLS110 and PRL304

PRL 315 - Family Law - 3.00

A study of the law of marriage, annulment, dissolution, guardianship, adoption, custody, legitimacy of children, and issues within the juvenile courts, with emphasis on development of skills pertinent to the paralegal function. Prerequisites: PLS110 and PRL304

PRL 318 - Criminal Practice - 3.00

This course will provide a basic understanding of the substantive and procedural criminal law including due process, probable cause, statutory and case law authorities governing criminal law and the rules of criminal procedure. Students will also review the structure of the criminal courts system. This course provides application of the substantive law and procedural safeguards to a case study in representing either the state or a defendant in a criminal law proceeding. Prerequisites:PLS110 and PRL304

PRL 321 - Administrative & Federal Procedure - 3.00

This course presents basic concepts of administrative law and procedure in federal and state agencies. Students will learn advocacy techniques for representing a client in an administrative process. Substantive topics will include administrative delegation of power, rulemaking, agency discretionary powers, remedies, and judicial appeals. Federal law will focus on procedure in Federal courts and applicable state rules. Prerequisites: PLS110 and PRL 304

PRL 420 - Probate and Estate Planning - 3.00

This course presents basic concepts of estate planning, elder law issues, and probate law. Students will learn how to assist clients in planning, procedure and conflict resolution related to testamentary and other advanced planning documents; the probate process, and special issues related to aging including minors and adults with physical and/or mental disabilities. This course will include both substantive and procedural law as applied through a hands-on problem-solving format.

PRL 430 - Contracts - 3.00

Will provide a basic understanding of the substantive law of contracts. The course focus is on both common law and the uniform commercial code in regard to the basic elements of contract formation and will involve practical research assignments to explore the practical application of the principles of contracts. Prerequisites: PRL302 and PRL304

PRL 440 - Constitutional Issues - 3.00

This course will introduce students to the principle concepts of government that underlay the structure of the United States Constitution. These concepts include federalism and judicial review. In addition, the course will examine the Court’s methods of Constitutional interpretation. Through case study of major Supreme Court decisions, students will explore the meaning of the civil liberties contained in the first ten amendments to the constitution, also known as the Bill of Rights, including due process, equal protection, the rights of criminal defendants and the freedoms of speech, religion and privacy. Prerequisites: PLS110

PRL 450 - Torts Law - 3.00

Tort law is the area of law that provides a remedy for harms to private individuals. Tor law includes intentional torts and unintentional torts. This course will introduce students to the theory that forms the basis for society's interest in assigning blame and the economic distribution of liability.

PRL 475 - Practicum and Capstone - 6.00

The capstone/practicum course is the final course in the paralegal studies program. This course will provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency as a paralegal in two ways. First, through the practicum, students will demonstrate the ability to apply coursework in an actual law office setting, similar to participating in a virtual internship. Second, students will demonstrate their proficiency in legal reasoning through the capstone research and writing assignment.

Curriculum

Requirements

Freshman applicants – for all undergraduate students

  • Completed application
  • High school transcript (or GED) with a 2.50 GPA and graduated in the top 50% of your class
  • Entrance Exam: ACT of 19 or Higher OR SAT of 900 or Higher

The Admissions Committee may review student qualifications and conditionally/provisionally accept students who do not met the minimum 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale and a minimum ACT or SAT I composite score of 19 or 890, respectively.

Your digital classroom. Available anywhere.

William Woods online undergraduate programs are available to students across the country. In Missouri, our students come from Fulton, Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis, Kansas City, Moberly, Springfield, Ozark, Cape Girardeau, Rolla and many more locations. Beyond Missouri, our online graduates hail from California, Illinois, Kansas, Washington, Arkansas and other states.


Admissions Information

Learn more about online admissions requirements, deadlines, tuition and financial aid available to you.