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Paralegal Studies Undergraduate Certificate

The paralegal studies certificate prepares students for work as paralegals and for careers in the field of law. This American Bar Association approved program focuses on both theory and practice and is open to all students.

Visit the program website for more information.

Program Overview

The paralegal studies certificate is available to all students and potential students including current Grand Valley undergraduate students, students who already have a bachelor's degree in a different discipline, and students who wish to enroll only in the paralegal studies certificate program.

In addition to the paralegal studies certificate, the Legal Studies program offers bachelor of arts (B.A.) and bachelor of science (B.S.) degrees. Students who complete these degrees will also complete all of the requirements for the paralegal studies certificate. A minor, not approved by the ABA, is also available.

Why Paralegal Studies at Grand Valley?

  • The certificate is approved by the American Bar Association and features a curriculum that provides a strong foundation in writing and critical thinking with an emphasis on professional skills necessary for success in the legal field.
  • The certificate consists of 30 credits and can be completed in 3 terms.
  • The program prides itself on the diverse professional experience of its faculty members, most of whom are licensed attorneys, who collectively have many years of experience working in areas of civil and criminal law.
  • The program has an advisory board consisting of attorneys and paralegals representing a broad cross-section of employers. The board plays an important role by giving guidance on matters such as curriculum, internship and employment opportunities, and trends in the legal field.


For new students, visit the Online Degree Completion website for undergraduate requirements to apply for the certificate.

For current students:

  • Declare your certificate via myBanner (Login to Banner Self-Service, click on Student, Student Records, Add a Certificate or Badge to your Program, Select the appropriate certificate from the drop down list, and click Submit)
  • Speak with the appropriate certificate coordinator to ensure criteria are being met (you will be able to track your progress toward the certificate in myPath as well!)
  • Once you are done with the requirements, apply to receive the certificate via myBanner.
  • Once the completion of your certificate has been verified, the certificate will be posted to your student record and will be viewable on your transcript. 

Location & Format

Undergraduate students in this program meet downtown on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

  • Face To Face


  • Substantive law, including contracts, criminal law, torts, property, business law, and family law
  • Oral and written communication
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Investigation and legal research
  • Legal ethics and professionalism

Career Options

The certificate is a stepping stone for law-related work in many areas, including:

  • Insurance companies
  • Government agencies
  • Law firms
  • Courts
  • Corporations
  • Nonprofit organizations

Graduates who work in these fields can play an important role in the delivery of legal services but they are not permitted to practice law. To practice law, graduates must obtain a law school degree and satisfy other state requirements for admission to the bar.

For More Information

School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies
289C Richard M. DeVos Center
(616) 331-7130

Admissions and Recruitment Office