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Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies

Jump-start your paralegal career by building your legal knowledge and honing your research and communication skills with this affordable and flexible six-course certificate program.

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Position Yourself for a Successful Legal Career

UMass Lowell's Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies explores the role of paralegals in both the public and private sector, while offering a unique mix of legal theory and practical skills that will put you on the path to becoming a paralegal. Offered entirely online or as a mix of online and on-campus courses, the program's robust curriculum covers a wide range of legal studies topics such as basic legal concepts and vocabulary, the practices and procedures involved in the litigation process, the principles of jurisprudence, and legal issues that influence and intersect with modern business practices.

The development of critical thinking, communication skills and the ability to conceptualize ideas is reflected in the curriculum, which provides students with a balanced presentation of issues in the field.

The program is offered by UMass Lowell's School of Criminology & Justice Studies, which boasts highly ranked undergraduate and graduate programs both on campus and online. The school not only familiarizes students with the facts and concepts of criminal justice but more importantly, it teaches them how to apply this knowledge to related social problems and changing situations.

Success Story

"Having worked as a legal assistant for several years, I was looking to advance my knowledge for the benefit of myself and my career. I knew UMass Lowell's Paralegal Certificate Program would provide me with exactly what I needed to get ahead. The fact that I was able to complete the program in less than one year, along with the convenience of being able to take the courses entirely online, made UMass Lowell the perfect fit for me."

Heather F.
Heather F.

Heather F.

While the majority of paralegals are employed at law firms, the knowledge and skills that paralegals possess are also applicable to a variety of different work environments. Paralegal jobs are available in such places as corporate legal departments, government agencies, financial institutions, real estate companies, banks, insurance businesses, consulting firms and healthcare providers.


Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As law firms try to increase the efficiency of legal services and reduce their costs, they are expected to hire more paralegals and legal assistants.
— Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2020

A paralegal career can focus on a number of different legal areas such as real estate law, litigation, business law, personal injury, international law, estate planning, criminal law, intellectual property, environmental law, bankruptcy, immigration or family law.

Students who enroll in the Certificate in Paralegal Studies program can gain a strong foundational knowledge of a wide range of legal matters including:

  • legal research processes and written reports, case briefs and memoranda
  • litigation procedures such as discovery, pleadings, motions and depositions, and trials and appeals
  • real estate deeds, title examinations, brokerage contracts, and tenant rights and liabilities
  • legal concepts and terminology related to core estate planning tools

One Success Leads to Another

Apply credits from lower credentials to higher ones. Our programs are designed to build upon themselves:

Students who successfully complete the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program can count all of the courses from the certificate program towards UMass Lowell's B.S. in Criminal Justice: Paralegal Option or Bachelor of Liberal Arts: Legal Studies Concentration program.


UMass Lowell's Certificate Program in Paralegal Studies is consistently independently ranked as a top online program.

Online U Paralegal Cert Award
Ranked #10 Most Affordable Online Paralegal Certificate Program by OnlineU
Best paralegal Cert Award
Ranked #14 Best Online Paralegal Program and Named "Best in the Northeast" by Intelligent.com
The Best Schools Award
Ranked #14 Best Online Paralegal Program by The Best Schools

Curriculum Outline

- 6 Courses (18cr)

Undergraduate Certificate Requirements

Students enrolled in UMass Lowell certificate programs must complete all courses, generally consisting of both required courses and electives. Students are required to maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or better to receive the certificate. All Certificate courses must be completed within a five-year period.

Students can complete the certificate program at their own pace, enrolling in one or two courses each semester. Courses are available throughout the year, during the Fall (September-December), Spring (January-May) and Summer (May-August) semesters.

Certificate Completion

Upon successful completion of the certificate program, students must complete and submit a Certificate Petition Form. Once successful completion of the program is verified, certificates will be mailed to students. Receipt of the certificate will be noted formally on the student's transcript with an award date of October, February or June.

Course Descriptions

This course familiarizes students with the role of paralegals in both the public and private sector. Other topics include principles of jurisprudence and basic legal concepts and terminology. 3 credits.
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of business law. The main emphasis is on key aspects of contract law, including the agreement, consideration, writings, third-party rights, illegality, performance, breach, defenses, and remedies The course also covers agency law, employment law, sections of the Uniform Commercial Code, and a variety of other legal issues and topics that influence and intersect with modern business practices. This course is highly recommended for pre-law students, CPA students, and paralegal students. 3 credits. BS, Collateral CJ
This course studies the law pertaining to business entities and structures. Partnerships, limited partnerships, and joint ventures are studied at the outset of the course. The main emphasis is on elements of the corporate structure. The last part of the course deals with personal and real property with coverage of wills and trusts. This course is highly recommended for pre-law students, CPA students, and paralegal students. 3 credits.
This course provides a broad introduction to international law with emphasis on current issues. Within public international law, topics covered will include the recognition of new states, organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union, the use of force, human rights, international crimes, the global environment, and international courts and tribunals. Within private international law, topics surveyed will include legal aspects of international trade and foreign investment, labor, intellectual property, cyber theft, and taxation. Current issues discussed will include global warming, recent corruption scandals, the Eurozone crisis, and legal issues facing global technology companies. 3 credits.
This course examines the legal and administrative problems of protecting the quality of the human environment. Federal and state legislation on environmental policy is studied. Public interest litigation as a supplement to the enforcement of environmental law is discussed. The course also focuses on the practical problems of balancing the needs of business, the global competitiveness of the United States, the increasing demand for natural resources, and the need to protect, preserve, and restore the environment. The importance of sustainable development and environmental ethics are discussed. 3 credits.
This course examines contracts for the sale of real estate, deeds, title examinations, security for real estate transactions, methods and problems of co-ownership, zoning ordinances, brokerage contracts, leases and landlord, and tenant rights and liabilities. 3 credits.
This course studies the critical family law issues facing society today. Subject matter examined may include the law of marriage, custody, adoption, divorce, child support, juveniles, right to die, fetal tissue transfer to prolong the life of another, reproduction control, and surrogate parenting. This course is taught from a legal and human values perspective. 3 credits.
This course presents legal issues that often or particularly affect women. Topics may include sex discrimination, sexual harassment, rape, marriage, divorce, reproductive control, surrogate motherhood, and custody. 3 credits.
The traditional trial is becoming increasingly rare in modern civil litigation; the large majority of disputes are resolved by other techniques. This course will examine alternative methods of dispute resolution such as negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and the mini trial. 3 credits.
This course surveys the law of the protection of ideas, trade secrets, inventions, artistic creations, and reputation. The course will briefly review the law of patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, and geographical indication. The course will cover the distinction between the various forms of intellectual property, and the statutory and common law methods of enforcing rights. 3 credits.
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of legal research and writing. Students will gain hands-on experience in legal research and in the reporting of such research in written assignments, case briefs, and memoranda. 3 credits.
This course examines the practices and procedures involved in the litigation process. Topics may include: legal research, courts and jurisdictions, evidence and discovery, pleadings, motions, depositions, trials and appeals, and federal rules of procedure. 3 credits.
This course provides an introduction to the law of wills, trusts, and estates. This course covers the fundamental legal concepts and vocabulary necessary to understand, draft, and work with the core estate planning tools. Practical examples and sample legal cases and materials will be provided and discussed. No prior legal knowledge is required, though some familiarity with the United States legal system or case law will be helpful. 3 credits.
This course consists of assigned fieldwork under the supervision and with the permission of the coordinator. The course is designed to broaden the educational experience of legal studies students by providing exposure to selected legal environments such as corporate legal departments, financial institutions, law firms, real estate departments, banks and government offices and agencies. This provides a correlation of theoretical knowledge with practical experience in an area of interest to students. 3 credits.

Tuition & Fees

At UMass Lowell, we believe that students should have as much information as possible up front so they can make informed decisions before enrolling in a degree program or signing up for a course.

Tuition for all undergraduate courses offered through the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. Tuition for all online graduate courses is also the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. Tuition is priced per credit. To calculate the tuition for a course, simply multiply the per-credit tuition by the total number of credits per course. Exception: If the total number of course contact hours is greater than the total number of credits, the per-credit tuition is instead multiplied by the total number of contact hours.

Fall 2020 Tuition

Per Credit / Contact Hour
Undergraduate Face-to-Face Courses and Audit $340.00
Undergraduate Online Courses and Audit (except Manning School of Business* Undergraduate Online Courses and Audit) $380.00
Manning School of Business* Undergraduate Online Courses and Audit $385.00
Registration includes access to parking after 3 pm and access to Blackboard.

*Applies to courses with the following prefixes: ACCT, BUSI, ENTR, FINA, MGMT, MKTG, MIST, POMS offered through the Manning School of Business
**Applies to courses with the following prefixes: CHEN, CIVE, EECE, ENGN, MECH, PLAS offered through the Francis College of Engineering. Applies also to MSIT courses in the Master's in Information Technology, Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity and the Graduate Certificate in Systems Models and Management.

Additional Fees

Registration Fee per Term $30.00
Late Fee for Nonpayment $50.00

Looking for Financial Assistance?

UMass Lowell offers a variety of financial aid and scholarship options.
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Registration

Current students can register using SiS Self-Service. New students who have not already applied and been accepted to a program must use the Non-Degree Registration Form.

You can take courses without being officially enrolled in a certificate or degree program, but you must meet course prerequisites. Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Class size is limited. We recommend that you register early to reserve your place in class.

For more information, please visit our Registration Page.

Transfer Policy

With the program coordinator's approval, one course may be transferred from another accredited institution to satisfy undergraduate certificate program requirements. The course should be equivalent to UMass Lowell instruction, applicable to the intended program, and the student must have received a grade equivalent to a C- (1.70 on a 4.00 scale) or better.

Academic Advising

Our professional advisors in our Advising Center are available to help students determine appropriate course loads, discuss admission requirements and review the transferability of courses. If you have a question, we invite you to Schedule an Appointment, email Continuing_Education@uml.edu or call 978-934-2474.

New Students

If you have not already applied and been accepted to a program.

Current Students

If you have applied, been accepted to and are currently enrolled in a program.

Questions?

Email our Advising Center for assistance, or call 800-480-3190 to speak with an advisor.


Please Note: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information presented within this website, the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies reserves the right to implement new rules and regulations and to make changes of any nature in its program, calendar, locations, tuition and fees. Whenever possible, appropriate notice of such changes will be given before they become effective. In registering for courses, each student assumes full responsibility for knowledge of and compliance with the definitions, regulations, and procedures for the University as set forth in our Academic Policies & Procedures and on the main UMass Lowell website.

Applying into an Undergraduate Certificate Program

Apply to an undergraduate certificate program using the Online Application Form or by printing and completing the Undergraduate Certificate Application Form in .pdf file format. Applicants will be required to have either their official high school transcript, HiSET®, GED® or their most recent college transcript if applicable, sent to Graduate, Online & Professional Studies at the address below. Applications, transcripts, and other correspondence should be sent to:

University of Massachusetts Lowell
Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies
Undergraduate Admissions
839 Merrimack Street, 2nd Floor
Lowell, MA 01854

Undergraduate certificate applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and there is no fee to apply. You will be notified upon acceptance.

Apply Online

Questions Regarding Your Undergraduate Application?

Email OCE_Admissions@uml.edu or call 978-934-2474.

For General Assistance:

Call the Advising Center at 978-934-2474 or 800-480-3190. Our academic advisors are here to help!

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