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Paralegal degree program curriculum

An Associate Degree or Bachelor’s Degree is often considered to be the standard requirement for most entry-level paralegal careers. After all, law firms and legal departments need their staff—even new hires—to get up to speed immediately. That’s why our paralegal degree program curriculum is developed with the input of legal professionals, ensuring exceptional career relevance from the first class to the last.

Semester 1

OR110 - Achieving Academic Excellence 

Achieve your true potential! This course will help you sharpen existing skills, build on your strengths, and discover the best ways to learn. You'll identify your learning styles, learn new behaviors to ensure college success, and maximize your learning as you complete your program of study.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Identify personal strengths and traits used to succeed in motivating and setting goals to complete higher education.
  • Describe the requirements for successful online learning.
  • Discuss the value of goal setting and time management.
  • Explain methods to achieve effective reading comprehension and note-taking.
  • Recognize effective academic writing and types of plagiarism.
  • Describe strategies for online testing.
  • Explain the role of critical thinking in problem solving.
  • Identify the necessary skills for successful online research.

Credit Hours: 3

C10 - Introduction to Computers  

Introduction to Computers provides you with foundational skills and knowledge needed for today's technology-based careers. You'll study the components of systems — from the CPU and memory to input devices and peripherals — and how these components interact with an operating system to perform critical tasks. Keeping current with fast changing computer technologies, this course will discuss the computer technologies today that allow the creation of a virtualized mobile workforce. It will explore how computers connect to the internet, what services can be found online, and what dangers exist in the form of viruses, Trojans, and other malware. The course will also familiarize you with the basics of today's office productivity applications and help to establish a foundation for working with these different types of applications, including spreadsheets and presentation-creation tools.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Identify all of the major types of computing devices and their internal and external components.
  • Compile a list of the various computer operating systems that are used today and identify characteristics about each one.
  • Relate the various cloud-based technologies to the virtual and remote abilities that are available for working professionals today.
  • Discuss the various office productivity suite applications today.
  • Illustrate basic office software tasks using Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
  • Characterize how the networking of computers is so vital today and identify the various networking technologies that are used today.
  • List the hardware components, software applications, and IT protocols that make the internet possible today.
  • Apply basic maintenance tasks on your computer to combat viruses, malware, and computing inefficiencies.

Credit Hours: 3

EN120 - English Composition I  

This course introduces basic writing skills that are especially relevant to academic assignments. The course focuses on APA paragraph development and organization in conjunction with a review of basic grammar and mechanics. The course also covers basic techniques for critically editing and revising your work.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Use appropriate style, grammar, and mechanics in writing assignments.
  • Compose a strong paragraph with attention to the following: topic sentences; unity, coherence, and different approaches to ordering ideas; effective use of transitions.
  • Identify and use a variety of essay structures, including expository, descriptive, narrative, comparison and contrast, and persuasion/argumentative.
  • Organize, develop, and produce a fully developed 5-paragraph essay.
  • Differentiate and apply correct techniques for prewriting, writing, and proofreading using a variety of styles.
  • Correctly apply the rules of APA for use in direct or indirect quotations and reference citations.

Credit Hours: 3

SO245 - Social Impact of Technology  

This course provides an overview of technological advances over the span of human history. Topics include the interrelationship of technology and culture; ethics and morals as they relate to technological progress; energy; ecology; demography; war and politics; and the unintended consequences of globalization, including social inequality, climate change, and global warming.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Explain how technology and culture are interrelated, and outline technological advances from ancient times to the present.
  • Discuss different perspectives on ethics and morals as they relate to technological applications.
  • Explain basic concepts related to energy, including the pros and cons of nonrenewable and renewable sources of energy.
  • Discuss basic concepts of ecology, including the environmental challenges of global warming and climate change.
  • Explain basic concepts of demography, especially as they apply to population growth.
  • Describe how war and politics have affected nations as they adapted to advances in technologies.
  • Explain the origins of global inequality, including colonialism and capitalism.
  • Discuss different approaches to measuring the evolution of technologies, the unintended consequences of globalization, and the prospects of a paradigm shift.

Credit Hours: 3

C01 - Introduction to Business  

C01, Introduction to Business, identifies concepts, principles, and operations of the private enterprise system. Students compare and contrast sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations, and they learn the advantages and disadvantages of each. This course also discusses the functions of modern business management, marketing, ethics, and social responsibility. Human resource management and how employers can motivate their employees are described. Bookkeeping, accounting, financial management, and financial statements are also examined.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Define strategy and the strategic management process.
  • Describe external environment and how it affects the decisions and performance of a firm.
  • Describe how a firm analyzes its internal capabilities and why it is essential to an organization.
  • Explain cost leadership and the benefits of the cost leadership strategy.
  • Define product differentiation and explain how it can create economic value.
  • Discuss the strategies of flexibility and real options and how they benefit a firm.
  • Summarize explicit and tacit collusion and the issues associated with the decision to collude.

Credit Hours: 3

Semester 2

EN130 - English Composition II  

The ability to communicate well is essential to success in any professional environment. This course is organized to provide you with a broad understanding of multiple types of written communication. Far from being just academic exercises, formal writing skills allow you to relate to the world in ever increasing ways. Simply put, good writing is good thinking. As you master various techniques of effective writing, you'll note a change in the way you process information, and those around you (including your employer) will also note the transformation.

EN130 begins with the assumption that you've attained basic writing skills through completion of EN120. So, in fact, EN130 is a continuation of EN120. In that light, you'll be expected to access and review basic concepts covered in EN120 and, in particular, the sections on grammar and mechanics.

English Composition II begins by offering you tips on college writing, active reading, and study strategies at the college level. Next, you'll explore the framework for drafting a college essay, including elaborated explorations for finding a topic, assessing your audience, and determining the purpose of your essay as you identify its thesis and craft a thesis statement.

Next, because college essays often require research, you'll be introduced to strategies for finding and using sources. Based on this preparatory foundation, you'll be challenged to analyze essays in all of the various rhetorical modes, which, in turn, will prepare you to write college-level essays for these different patterns of development.

The balance of this online text is devoted to the specifics of reading, analyzing, and writing college-level essays, including description, narration, illustration, process analysis, comparison and contrast, classification and division, definition, cause and effect, argument, and business applications.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Describe the nature of academic writing at the college level.
  • Understand and apply the principles of active reading.
  • Comprehend and apply the structure of a college essay.
  • Develop an essay thesis that's supported by facts, authorities, and examples.
  • Apply the principles of revision and editing.
  • Write an academic essay supported by relevant and credible sources.
  • Critically evaluate essays in all of these patterns of development, including: Narrative, Descriptive, Illustration, Process, Comparison and contrast, Definition, Classification and division, Cause and effect, Argument.
  • Create effective, engaging, and informative essays in all of these patterns of discourse through: A deep understanding of the writing process; Organizing an essay in terms of space order, time order, or order of importance; Creating attention-getting introductions and memorable conclusions; Using facts, logical reasoning, examples, and authorities to support your thesis; Identifying and avoiding logical fallacies; Effectively applying the techniques of persuasion; Blending two or more patterns of development in a single essay.

Credit Hours: 3

General Education Elective (Science 100-200 Level)   C12 - Business Law  

C12, Business Law, is designed to familiarize students with various kinds of laws, key elements of the American Constitution, and the concepts of the various schools of jurisprudence. Ethics, values, morality, law, and the various ethical theories are compared and contrasted, and the need for promoting corporate social responsibility is discussed. The elements of tort law, the basic elements of a contract, the sources of laws governing contracts, and the conditions for an offer to be valid are examined. Topics include reality of consent, capacity of minors, consequences of illegal agreements, assignment of rights, transfer of title, and the rights of third parties. Delivery of goods, right to inspection, acceptance and revocation of contract, the remedies available to buyers and sellers, and the nature of property are also discussed.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Explain the legal environment within which United States businesses operate.
  • Describe tort, criminal, and intellectual property law as it applies to business.
  • Explain how contracts and negotiable instruments are used in business transactions.
  • Analyze the legal types and roles of employment relationships.
  • Discuss the organizational types and responsibilities of businesses in the United States.
  • Discuss the role of government in regulating business.
  • Explain how personal and real property law impacts business.
  • Explain the impact that international law has on global business.

Credit Hours: 3

P01 - Introduction to Paralegalism I  

This survey course provides an introduction to the paralegal profession. Career opportunities will be examined, as well as the training and educational requirements demanded of the paralegal. Civil litigation and criminal law will be explored. The entire trial process — from filing a complaint to the appeals process — will be studied in depth. The history of American laws and the structure of the U.S. court system are also highlights of this course.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Discuss the roles and duties of the paralegal.
  • Distinguish between the rules of ethics that govern attorneys and those that govern paralegals.
  • Explain how law firms are structured O Discuss the role technology plays in a law office.
  • Outline the history, sources, and functions of U.S. law.
  • Describe the federal and state court systems.
  • List the steps in a trial.
  • Discuss the protections afforded by the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Credit Hours: 3

P02 - Introduction to Paralegalism II  

The paralegal's role in investigation and interviews highlights the beginning of the course. Legal research and writing will be examined throughout. Then this survey course moves into specific legal subjects. Torts; property law, including intellectual property (IP); contracts and e-commerce, family law; and labor law will be explored in depth.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Explain the importance of the initial contact with clients and witnesses.
  • Explain the process of identifying legal issues, material facts, applicable law, and reaching a conclusion after applying the law to the facts.
  • Describe the types of damages available to plaintiffs in tort and product liability lawsuits.
  • Discuss the elements of a contract.
  • Distinguish between real and personal property O Explain how courts determine child custody and support issues.
  • Discuss the scope of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and major legislation that impacted workers' rights.
  • Discuss the protections afforded to intellectual property (IP).

Credit Hours: 3

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Program Description

The Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies program is designed to provide students with a well-rounded education by combining a core set of general education courses with specialized courses in paralegal studies. The program lays the foundation for a broad base of knowledge with general education courses in a variety of subject areas. In addition, courses within the program discipline — such as Legal Research and Writing, Tort Law, and Law Office Management — focus on preparing students for careers within the paralegal field.

Program Objectives

After completing the Paralegal Studies program, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and analyze the pertinent concepts and theories of law, ethical issues that arise, and the principles of legal reasoning.
  2. Describe the scope of paralegal activities; legal analysis, interviewing, and investigation; legal research and writing; and the elements of litigation.
  3. Discuss legal forms of business ownership, expenses, time keeping, fee structures, billing, administrative reports, and miscellaneous administrative procedures.
  4. Demonstrate proficiency with the use of legal research tools and techniques.
  5. Demonstrate a foundation of business knowledge related to business ownership, marketing, risk management, and social responsibility.
  6. Identify and apply the fundamental principles of public speaking, speech criticism, audience analysis, and effective delivery techniques.
  7. Demonstrate a basic understanding of computer applications, and the broad implications of technological innovation on social organization in terms of personal, political, economic, and environmental issues.
  8. Demonstrate proficiency with English composition, including the ability to develop essays, and revise and edit one's work.
  9. Demonstrate basic mathematical skill by describing mathematical reasoning and logic as the basis for data analysis, and by applying the major concepts of college-level algebra.
  10. Be prepared to enter Ashworth College’s bachelor’s degree programs without any additional academic preparation.

Add career growth to the docket

The Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies program can help you develop the knowledge and confidence you need to reach for your career goals. By integrating job search prep into your studies, Ashworth College gives you a hand along the way. Take a closer look at how we help you get there by visiting the Career Services page.

Advance your career in our online API Program Name program. Call 1-800-957-5412