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Our 2016 paralegal rankings showcase the top online colleges offering the best distance-based undergraduate paralegal programs this year. We based our calculations on the quantifiable factors that we believe contribute to the ideal online learning experience: program cost; student-to-faculty ratio; and institutional financial aid, acceptance, retention, graduation, default, and default rate. Learn more

Top Online Paralegal Colleges

RankSchoolStudent to
Faculty Ratio
Aid Rate

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College


About the Program

A small Catholic college, SMWC has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as being one of the top midwest colleges and having some of the best online bachelor’s programs in the nation. The traditionally all-female school recently began accepting men into their degree programs, allowing all who share the school’s values a chance to earn a liberal arts education.

The Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences offers three mostly online paralegal programs: certificate, associate and bachelor’s. The paralegal bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours for graduation. Excluding the ten credits mentioned below, all can be earned online. Depending on whether students opt to follow the 8-week or 16-week format, taking classes full time or part time respectively, this degree can be earned in as few as two and a half years and as many as six years.

Online Experience

Online classes are powered by the Desire2learn course management system and accessed through the Brightspace student portal. Distance students have a number of scholarships and financial aid available to them. Online students also enjoy:

  • Tutoring help from the Learning Resource Center
  • Information on job opportunities and discuss goals with the Career Development Center
  • An online help desk
  • The school’s bookstore
  • All offices that can be accessed in person, such as the registrar and financial aid.

The paralegal studies programs adhere to the American Association for Paralegal Education’s Core Competencies. They also have the American Bar Association’s (ABA) stamp of approval, which dictates that ten credit hours of legal specialty courses must be taken on campus. Though there is an on-campus component to this degree, there are no state or geographic restrictions; anyone may apply.

1 St Mary of Woods Coll
Saint Mary of the Woods, IN 47876-1099
(812) 535-5151

William Woods University


About the Program

William Woods University has been listed among the best colleges in the nation on U.S. News & World Report, and the school’s online bachelor’s programs have also been noted for their quality. The university is a member of both the American Bar Association and the American Association for Paralegal Education; these are partnerships that ensure paralegal students receive an education based on nationally-accepted ideals and competencies.

The school offers prospective paralegal students two options for pursuing an online degree: a one-year degree completion program or a four-year Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies. The only difference between these programs is general education. Students who have already earned an associate degree, or who have at least 25 transferrable credits, can move seamlessly into the paralegal studies completion program. Entering freshmen, however, must earn their general education credits along with the classes from the paralegal major in the four-year program.

Online Experience

The online learning platform, Owlnet, is powered by Jenzabar. Through the student landing page, students can access their classes, grades, and school-wide announcements. They also have resources, such as financial and academic advising services, available to them.

The online paralegal programs are offered at an accelerated pace; courses are eight-weeks long, which allows for flexible start dates. Bachelor’s students have an opportunity to gain field experience through a virtual law office internship, a practicum, or a clinical program requirement.

One University Avenue
Fulton, MO 65251-1098
(573) 642-22512251

Hampton University


About the Program

HUOnline offers distance students a chance to earn either a Bachelor of Arts or a certificate in paralegal studies. The BA is a four-year program designed to educate those new to the field, as well as those who are already working as legal assistants. The curriculum was created as a way to instill students with an understanding of the inner workings of the law while being grounded in a liberal arts education.

To graduate from the BA program, students must complete 122 credit hours of coursework and study, including classes in:

  • Written communication
  • A foreign language
  • Mathematics
  • Law in Society
  • Sociology
  • Domestic relations
  • Paralegal internship

Online Experience

Online courses at Hampton are accessed through the Blackboard learning management system. Upon login, students are able to submit assignments, complete course readings, and participate on their classes’ discussion boards. School email accounts are hosted on Gmail, and distance students can access virtual proctoring for exams, as well as the Hampton’s library, career services, and other resources online.

Maryland residents cannot enroll in the online paralegal programs at Hampton U, though they may pursue other online degrees offered by the school. Overall, online learners in 27 states and Washington, D.C., are eligible to earn course credits, certificates, and degrees from this school.

E Queen Street
Hampton, VA 23668-0099
(757) 727-5000

Mississippi College


About the Program

This fully accredited, private university offers an online Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies through the History & Political Science Department. Students in the program participate in internships at government agencies and legal firms, where they work under the direct supervision of licensed and experienced lawyers.

This program has been approved by the American Bar Association, which demonstrates a commitment to meeting curriculum and faculty standards. To graduate with the BS, students must complete 130 credit hours of study, including:

  • 46 hours of university core course
  • 36 hours in the paralegal studies program
  • 18 hours of a minor

This degree can be completed within four years if taken as a full-time student. Those who have already earned an associate degree may graduate in as little as two years. Upon graduation, students have access to job placement counseling through the Career Services Office.

Online Experience

Professors and instructors use the Moodle course management system to organize and teach their online classes. Through this platform, teachers and students are able to explore key concepts on discussion boards, submit assignments, email everyone enrolled in the online course, and view grades. Using a number of other learning tools, such as Blackboard Collaborate, Respondus, and Turnitin, online students receive the same high-quality education as their on-campus counterparts.

200 South Capitol Street
Clinton, MS 39058
(601) 925-3000

Liberty University


About the Program

Liberty University, a private Christian school, offers two online paralegal studies programs: an Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies, which requires 60 credit hours and can be completed within two years of full-time study; and a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies, which requires 120 credit hours and can be completed within four years of full-time study.

Both programs prepare students for employment as paralegals, and the curricula instill graduates with knowledge of the various aspects of the law, as well as the ability to use moral-based critical thinking skills to solve problems in a legal setting.

Bachelor’s students must fulfill the following credit requirements to graduate:

  • 27 hours of core courses
  • 9 hours of Christian Life & Thought
  • 9 hours of Skills & Knowledge
  • 45 hours of major courses
  • 30 hours of electives

Online Experience

Liberty uses Blackboard to provide students and teachers with access to online courses, discussion boards, and school-wide announcements. Prospective students may participate in a sample online course to familiarize themselves with the delivery platform. Online students have access to tutorials to help them navigate Blackboard; they can also access an online writing center, Liberty’s bookstore, the library, and academic advising online.

Courses in the paralegal studies programs are created and taught by experienced lawyers, and online students are guaranteed the same high-quality education as on-campus students.

1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(434) 582-2000

Broadview University - West Jordan


About the Program

Broadview University offers two paralegal degrees online: the Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal and the Bachelor of Science in Paralegal. Both programs are taught by experienced and knowledgeable paralegal professionals.

The bachelor’s degree can completed in as few as three years when summer courses are taken, and subjects covered include:

  • Legal Research
  • Family Law
  • Bankruptcy
  • Criminal Law and Procedure

Online Experience

Online course materials and instruction are accessed using the Campus Connect course management system. Distance students can use online library resources, receive career advice and counseling, and get help with technology issues without visiting the campus.

1902 W 7800 S
West Jordan, UT 84088
(801) 304-42241120

University of Great Falls


About the Program

With the exception of ten credit hours of legal specialty coursework, the Bachelor of Science in Legal and Paralegal Studies program can be completed entirely online. The paralegal studies program accepts transfer credits from American Bar Association-approved programs, so students who have already completed some in-person, legal specialty classes may be able to waive the on-campus requirement for this program.

Specialty classes include:

  • Commercial Transactions
  • Debtor-Creditor Law
  • Domestic and Family law
  • Estate Law

For non-transfer students, this degree will take four years to complete while taking a full course load. To be eligible for graduation, students must earn at least 128 credits, 40% of which must be completed online or at the University of Great Falls campus.

Online Experience

Distance students can “attend” class asynchronously through the Moodle course management system. This virtual classroom interface allows students to access pre-recorded lectures and presentations, class discussion boards, assignments, and quizzes. They may also be required to log in to their accounts at set times during the days to watch live lectures using Microsoft Lync.

UGF’s library provides distance students with access to the same materials and resources that their on-campus peers use. Through electronic journal databases and interlibrary loans, students pursuing an online degree can obtain books and articles to enhance their studies.

1301 Twentieth St S
Great Falls, MT 59405-4996
(406) 761-8210

Florida Gulf Coast University


About the Program

All upper-division courses in the Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies program, offered through the Department of Justice Studies, may be completed online; many of the core requirements for a bachelor’s degree are also offered to distance students. However, this program is best suited to prospective FGCU students with an associate degree in legal assisting or a related field, who may transfer those credits into the upper division courses for legal studies.

Graduates of the BS program have the skillset and knowledge base to find employment as paralegals, or they may pursue an advanced law degree. To earn this bachelor’s degree, students must complete 120 credits of coursework, including 48 credit hours in upper-level classes. Courses include:

  • American Jurisprudence Capstone
  • Constitutional Criminal Procedure
  • Professional Ethics
  • Legal & Ethical Environment of Business

All students of FGCU must also complete a service learning requirement prior to graduation. Students entering as a freshman must complete 80 hours of volunteer work with an approved program or organization; transfer students must complete 40 hours. This program is designed to instill students with a sense of civic duty while giving back to the community.

Online Experience

FGCU uses the Canvas learning management system to provide access to online courses. Through this interface, students can access their syllabi, assignments, readings, and class discussion boards. Quizzes and exams are taken using the Respondus LockDown Browser, an application on the Canvas system that ensures students remain honest during testing by making it impossible for them to click away from the test once it’s begun. Online students have access to a number of resources to help them succeed in their degrees, including a Canvas demonstration course; academic, personal, and professional advising; and library services.

FGCU is not authorized to award credits or degrees in certain states. If you reside in a state that is not listed on the distance learning landing page, contact the school to determine if you are eligible to apply to an online program.

10501 Fgcu Blvd S
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000

Eastern Kentucky University


About the Program

Students interested in paralegal studies can pursue one of three mostly online programs from EKU: associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or post-baccalaureate certificate. Each option adheres to a set of quality standards and has been approved by the American Bar Association.

The Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Science requires a total of 120 credit hours for graduation, and the degree can be completed within four years of full-time study. Major requirement topics include:

  • Litigation: Evidence to Discovery
  • Legal Administration and Computer Applications
  • Probate Practice and Procedure
  • Administrative Agency Practice

Online Experience

All coursework for the three programs can be completed online, with the exception of ten credit hours that are earned in a two-week intensive residency in May at the end of the degree. Eastern Kentucky uses the Blackboard Learning System to deliver online courses and learning materials. Through this interface, instructors provide students with access to syllabi, lectures, PowerPoint presentations, and assignments. Students discuss key concepts with each other on their class discussion boards.

EKU provides a tutorial for students new to online learning. Through the library, students can find several resources to help them in their studies, including having library materials delivered to their homes. Eastern Kentucky is either fully-authorized or exempt from having to pursue authorization to award course credit and degrees in all 50 states.

521 Lancaster Ave
Richmond, KY 40475-3102
(859) 622-1000

SUNY College of Technology at Canton


About the Program

The online legal studies program offered by the School of Business puts an emphasis on real-world experience and learning; many of the instructors are currently practicing lawyers, or they have worked as attorneys in the past. Canton gives each student the option to pursue an internship while still in school to help students apply theory to real-world situations.

The legal studies degree requires 127 credits for graduation, and the program can be completed within four years of full-time study. Along with general education requirements, students take courses in:

  • Business Law
  • Negligence and Intentional Tort
  • Civil Litigation
  • Wills, Estates and Trusts
  • American Legal System

Online Experience

Canton is currently transitioning from the ANGEL learning management system to Blackboard. This new interface allows professors and students to access course materials, submit grades and assignments, take exams, and interact with each other on discussion boards.

Online students also have access to academic support services, such as the library, career services, and disability services.

34 Cornell Drive
Canton, NY 13617-1098
(315) 386-7011

Additional Schools


Jones College - Jacksonville


Minnesota School of Business - Richfield


National American University - Rapid City


Globe University - Woodbury


Virginia College - Birmingham


Peirce College


Kaplan University - Davenport Campus


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