This certificate program is designed for individuals who are seeking a career change and the skill-set for a successful transition into the paralegal profession. The Duke Paralegal Studies Program is a comprehensive course of study designed to train students in the aspects of the profession most in demand and most desired by attorneys. The classroom program has been designated as a “qualified program” by the NC State Bar and graduates of the program are eligible to apply for the NC State Bar Paralegal Certification Exam. The program is taught by licensed, practicing attorneys.
The program currently meets virtually (through Zoom) several nights a week and occasional Saturdays for a little over 5 months and a total of 300 course hours. A minimum of an US level two-year associate degree is required for application for this program.
The skill-based format of the Duke Paralegal Program provides students with practical training in preparation for the workplace. When students finish our program they are ready to enter the workforce as a paralegal. Each student finishes the program with a client file filled with documents prepared as part of their studies. The client file will serve as a showpiece during interviews and provide students with an end product that represents the skills they acquired through their studies in the program.
Here are some advantages of the classroom program:
The Duke Paralegal Studies Program is a 300 hour course of study designed to train students in the aspects of the profession most in demand and most desired by attorneys. The program has been designated as a "qualified program" by the NC State Bar and graduates of the program are eligible to apply for the NC State Bar Paralegal Certification Exam.
The fall 2023 paralegal classroom program will be held in a live, virtual classroom format using Zoom. Classes begin August 21, 2023 and run through January 10, 2024. Classes usually meet three times a week, from 6-10pm on weeknights and the occasional Saturday during the day. Please see below for specific dates.
Below is the course curriculum for the Classroom-based program.
Contract Law -A rocket-sled ride through basic Contract Law, this course introduces students to fundamental contract theory and terminology. Topics covered include contract formation, modification, breach, and remedies. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to identify key theoretical concepts and apply simple analysis to contract problems.
Tort Law - Tort Law deals with a class of civil wrongs or harms to people or property. Students in this class will learn about negligence actions, intentional torts, and the process of civil litigation. Emphasis will be placed on the practical skills that paralegals need to help attorneys prepare to prosecute or defend civil matters from pre-filing through trial to post-trial motions.
Family Law - Students will embark upon exploration of Family Law to: (1) understand the fundamental elements of Family Law, (2) identify core legal issues within the field, and (3) understand the duties of the paralegal in the Family and Matrimonial arena.
Real Property Law - This course has two main goals: to familiarize students with the basic concepts of Property Law and to introduce students to the practice of title searches and loan closings. The study of Real Property Law provides a basis for the work in a Real Estate practice. At the end of this course, successful students will be able to conduct their own title search from a home computer and be ready to understand the workings of a real estate firm.
These courses offer a quick one-day or half-day overview of a particular area of the law that students will find helpful both in their paralegal careers and in preparing for the NC Paralegal Certification Exam. Currently, the program offers
survey courses in Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Business Organizations, and Wills, Trusts, & Estate Law. These courses are ungraded, and students are not required to purchase textbooks or do any preparation prior to class.
There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.
The North Carolina State Bar has designated Duke Continuing Studies Paralegal Certificate as a qualified paralegal studies program. Upon completion of the classroom program, students are eligible to take the North Carolina State Bar Paralegal Certification Exam, which is administered twice a year. Please see some general FAQ’s below.
What is Duke's pass rate?
See the pass rates for Duke and for all paralegal programs in North Carolina.
What is State Certification?
In June 2005, the North Carolina State Bar began implementing a plan to offer voluntary certification to North Carolina Paralegals. Paralegals who work in North Carolina may now pursue certification that will enable them to call themselves "North Carolina Certified Paralegal". The Plan does not restrict the use of the term "paralegal," nor does it differentiate between the services offered by a certified and a non-certified paralegal.
Why is the Plan voluntary?
The Plan is voluntary because it only applies to paralegals who wish to use the titles "North Carolina Certified Paralegal", "North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal", or "Paralegal Certified by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Paralegal Certification". A paralegal can choose not to participate and still perform substantive legal work under the supervision of an attorney as a "Paralegal", "Legal Assistant", or any title other than those listed above.
What is required of me once I receive the certification?
The certification is awarded for 12 months. Six hours of continuing legal education, including one hour of legal ethics, are required annually of all paralegals using the North Carolina State Bar certification titles, including those who meet the grandfathering provisions. The Duke University Paralegal Program sometimes offers these CPE credit courses. We suggest that you check the website regularly to ensure you are aware of our latest course offerings.
For more information on State Bar Certification visit the website.
An application must be submitted in order to be considered for admission. Admission is competitive, therefore submission of an application does not guarantee admission. For details on the admission process and/or to apply, see the Application Process section.
To be considered for admission, candidates for this program must meet the following requirements. Please note that students must attest in the Program Policy that the first four requirements are true in their case.
Transcripts: Duke Continuing Studies will not allow any student to begin the Paralegal Certificate Program until receipt of an official transcript showing that the student has earned either a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. (Additional transcripts are not required). Transcripts must be sent directly from the educational institution conferring the degree. Duke Continuing Studies will not accept transcripts directly from the student. Please, if at all possible, send transcripts electronically, or have the transcript mailed at least two months before the August 16 deadline.
Duke Continuing Studies reserves the exclusive right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of any student or applicant.
Individuals interested in attending the classroom Duke Paralegal Certificate Program must submit an application during the application period in order to be considered for admission. Applications can only be submitted via the online application that is available on the Duke Continuing Studies Paralegal Certificate website. Applications submitted in any other form will not be accepted.
Prior to Applying:
1. Begin Application: The green 'Apply' button in the right-hand column takes you to the required electronic application. If you are a new user, you will be guided to create a profile.
2. Fill out application in full, including the Statement of Interest
3. Upload the following supplemental documents:
4. Submit the online application and pay the $25 non-refundable application fee. The student will then receive an email with username and password.
Once the student’s application is complete (including reference letter), the Program Manager will email the student confirmation of such and send the applicant the Program Policy via Adobe sign for them to review, sign, and return. Applications will not be considered until the Program Policy has been returned.
Completed applications are reviewed to determine approval, and students are notified of their admission status within 5 business days. Please note that submission of an application and payment of the application fee is not a guarantee of admission to the program.
5. Arrange for an official college transcript showing degree earned be sent to Duke Continuing Studies. Duke Continuing Studies will not allow any student to begin the Paralegal Certificate Program until receipt of an official transcript showing that the student has earned either a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. (Additional transcripts are not required). Transcripts must be sent directly from the educational institution conferring the degree, electronically. Duke Continuing Studies does not accept transcripts directly from the student. Please note that currently, Duke can only accept transcripts electronically; due to covid-19, we do not have the means to accept transcript via mail.
Transcripts must be received no later than Wednesday, August 16. For degrees earned outside of the US, proof of equivalency to a US degree will need to be provided by World Education Services (WES) in place of a transcript. WES must be contacted directly by the applicant.
6. Register for the program and pay tuition
Approved applicants must register for the course and pay tuition no later than Wednesday, August 16.
Once all supplemental documents are received by the program office, applications will be reviewed to determine approval. Applicants will be notified of their admission status within 5 business days of complete submission. Please note that submission of an application and payment of the application fee is not a guarantee of admission to the program.
Admission to the program is discretionary and space is limited. Duke Continuing Studies, Professional Certificate Program requires students to be at least 18 years of age and meet minimum suitability standards for admission. Admitted students are Duke University Continuing Studies students and not matriculated Duke University students, therefore university student privileges do not apply.
Monday, October 17, 2022
Application period opens: Applications must be completed and submitted online.
|Friday, February 3, 2023||
Application period closes: All applications must be submitted online and application fees paid by midnight of Saturday, February 4, 2023.
Monday, November 7, 2022
Registration opens: Admitted applicants can register and pay tuition.
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Registration and transcript deadline: All applicants who wish to enroll in the Spring 2023 program must register, submit their official transcripts, and pay tuition by midnight of Thursday, February 9, 2023.
Monday, February 13, 2022
First day of class.
Email us at email@example.com.
The next program will take place in the Fall 2023 semester. Classes begin, in a virtual format, on Monday, August 21, 2023, at 6 p.m.
Currently, the Duke Paralegal Studies Classroom program is only offered in a virtual classroom setting. The program is offered in the evening and on weekends in the fall and spring of each year. Classes meet three times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays as well as the occasional Saturdays.
The schedule below includes the dates for the Fall 2023 class. Please note this schedule is subject to change.
|Program and Dates||Location||Tuition||Books|
August 21, 23, 28, 30
September 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27
October 2, 3, 4, 9, 10,
November 2, 4, 6, 9, 13,15, 16, 20, 27, 30
December 4, 5, 7, 11, 12, 18, 19
January 3, 4, 8, 9, 10
|Virtual Classroom via Zoom||$5395||Purchased Separately. Not included in tuition. ($800 - $1,000)|
The Registration Period for approved applicants opens on July 1, 2023 and closes on August 16, 2023. Admitted students wishing to register must enroll in the course, pay tuition, and submit an official sealed college or university transcript by the close of the Registration Period.
Duke Continuing Studies reserves the exclusive right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of an applicant or enrolled student. Admitted students are registered on a first-come, first-served basis.
How often do you offer this program?
The Duke Paralegal Certificate Program is offered in a virtual classroom format in the evening and on weekends twice a year, each fall and spring.
Do you have a registration deadline?
Yes, Applicants must apply during a pre-established period of time and submit requested documentation in a timely manner to be considered for acceptance into the program. Applicants who are accepted into the program will receive additional information regarding when and how to register for the program.
What are the prerequisites to apply to the program?
To be considered for admission, candidates for this program must meet the following requirements. Please note that students must attest in the Program Policy that the first four requirements are true in their case.
Have an email account and regular access to the internet and a computer, preferably one with both microphone and camera abilities. Please note that if the student’s computer does not have microphone capability, they will need to log into Zoom using their smart phones. Students must have the means to both hear and speak to the instructor and other students during class time.
Duke Continuing Studies will not allow any student to begin the Paralegal Certificate Program until receipt of an official transcript showing that the student has earned either a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. Transcripts must be sent directly from the educational institution conferring the degree, electronically. Duke Continuing Studies will not accept transcripts directly from the student.
Note: There are no experience requirements and students are not expected to have a legal background.
What are some of the advantages of the Duke Paralegal Certificate Program?
What is the amount of tuition for the program?
The classroom paralegal program tuition fee is $5,395. Books are not included in the tuition and are an additional $800 - $1000.
Do I have to purchase my own textbooks?
Yes. Students are responsible for purchasing their own books. A booklist is sent via email to students once they are registered for the course.
Is there any kind of payment plan for tuition?
Yes. You may pay tuition all at once or utilize our three-part payment plan: $1800 upon acceptance into the program, $1800 six weeks into the program, and $1795 ten weeks into the program. Failure to meet financial obligation will result in immediate dismissal from the program and pursuit of monies owing to Duke.
Is financial aid available?
Yes. There are a number of different options available for funding. As a non-credit/non-degree program, students cannot use federal financial aid. However, Duke Continuing Studies accepts Continuing Education student loans. We have more information about these options, as well as contacts for these alternative funding sources in the Tuition & Payment Options section.
Should I include the cost of books with my tuition when applying for a loan?
No. Since we do not include books in the tuition, Duke Continuing Studies can only certify (approve) the exact amount of the tuition. Any loan amount in excess of the tuition will not be certified.
Can I apply for federal funding or FAFSA?
No. The Duke Paralegal Certificate Program is non-credit (not applicable toward a degree) and therefore NOT eligible for federal education loans. Please do not submit FAFSA forms for this program.
Does Duke University provide a 1098-T form for tax credit for tuition?
No. Non-credit programs at Duke Continuing Studies do not generate 1098-T forms, in accordance with the following IRS guideline:
Instructions for Forms 1098-E and 1098-T published by the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, state “You do not have to file Form 1098-T or furnish a statement for: Courses for which no academic credit is offered, even if the student is otherwise enrolled in a degree program…”
Can I use this program for university credit elsewhere?
No. The Duke Paralegal Certificate Program is a professional non-credit program, which will award you a post-baccalaureate certificate. There are no college credits associated with this certificate program. Therefore, the status of "complete" or "incomplete" are the only notations on the permanent student record.
How long has this program been in existence?
The Duke Paralegal Certificate Program is a well-established program that started in the fall of 2003 in Durham and fall of 2005 in Charlotte. Since that time, we have been offering a high-quality program that trains students for careers in the paralegal profession.
Who are your instructors?
All of our instructors are licensed attorneys who practice law in North Carolina. We have an excellent group of instructors who are committed to student success and to sharing their knowledge and love of the law with students.
Can I take individual classes?
No. The courses in the paralegal program are not offered separately.
What is required to earn the certificate of completion?
Is your program NC State Bar Qualified?
Yes. Our classroom-based program is designated as qualified by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Paralegal Certification. Upon successful completion of the Duke Paralegal Program, students will be eligible to apply for the NC State Bar Paralegal Certification exam. Those who successfully pass the exam can use the designation NCCP or North Carolina Certified Paralegal. Students are responsible for submitting all application materials and fees, if they wish to take the exam. The Duke Paralegal Program will provide transcripts for the exam upon request only.
Further information on the NC Program qualification process, the voluntary state exam and its implications for paralegal students who reside in North Carolina can be found at the North Carolina Paralegal Certification website.
Does the program meet certification requirements of other states?
The program curriculum is based upon criteria established and approved by the NC State Bar and may not meet the criteria for certification/and or education training in other states. It is the responsibility of the student to acknowledge and accept that this training discrepancy may exist as the Duke Paralegal program will not assume responsibility for providing additional curriculum or contact hours to meet the requirements of another state.
Is your program ABA approved?
The Duke Paralegal Certificate Program has chosen not to pursue ABA approval, as is the case with the majority of paralegal programs. Of the approximately 900 paralegal programs nationwide, 268 are ABA approved (“Paralegal School Information” at Paralegal411.com, 2016). The ABA does not formally “accredit” any paralegal program, but for a fee, the organization will approve programs that meet certain standards. Duke University is ranked in the top ten in the nation, and students can be assured that when attending the Paralegal Program at Duke, they will be receiving an education that meets Duke’s high academic standards.
Do you have job placement services?
Duke Continuing Studies does not offer job placement, job searching, or career services assistance. While we do our best to prepare students for the job market, it is ultimately incumbent upon students to find their own employment upon completion of the program. We offer our students an Employment Strategies Seminar with an academic career counselor and invite graduates of the program to come in and speak.
Tuition for the Duke Paralegal Classroom Program is $5,395.00. If you are interested in funding assistance options, please review the Funding Sources below.
Textbooks are not included in tuition and must be purchased separately. The total cost of textbooks is between $800 and $1000 depending upon whether purchased new, used, or directly from the publisher.
Active Duke University and Health System staff are eligible to receive a $200 discount on the tuition for this program. In order to take advantage of this discount, you must request it at the time of registration and register via phone at 919-684-6259 during regular business hours. Please note that you cannot register online and receive the discount. Please be prepared to provide your Duke Unique ID and department at the time of registration.
Discount must be requested and applied during the registration process and cannot be applied in addition to any other discount that may be offered. You may be asked to verify your status as a Duke employee
Do you have a group (Duke or non-Duke entity) interested in training? Contact the Program Manager for details.
The paralegal certificate program expects payment in full upon admission to the program. For students who wish to make an alternate arrangement, a 3-part payment plan is available. This payment plan is available for the fall and spring programs only. A two-part payment plan is available for the Summer Intensive Program.
Students choosing to utilize the payment plan understand that he/she is obligated to pay the entire tuition due as scheduled, regardless of whether the student withdraws from the program after it begins.
Failure to adhere to the payment plan below will result in dismissal from the program with no refund of tuition amounts previously paid.
Fall/Spring Program Payment Plan
Read more about private loans and other funding sources below.
No loans can be construed to imply any degree-seeking status for students of Duke Continuing studies. Duke Continuing Studies courses are non-credit.
Duke Continuing Studies (DCS) will not certify (approve) loan amounts greater than the amount of the tuition regardless of the amount approved by the lending agency. DCS reserves the right to reject any loan which exceeds the tuition amount. DCS will not be responsible for refunding monies in excess of the tuition. Students needing to secure loan funding for books or other items in relation to the program are responsible for making separate loan arrangements with the funding agency. No loan funds will be refunded to the student.
Should a student choose to borrow less than the tuition amount, the balance must be paid prior to the close of the registration period.
Our Professional Certificate programs are non-credit (not degree applicable); therefore, they are NOT eligible for federal education loans. DO NOT SUBMIT FAFSA FORMS for these programs. Some of our programs may offer payment plans. Please see individual program web pages for those details.
The funding options listed below may not be applicable to all programs at this time. Please contact the organization offering the funding to see if you qualify and if the funds can be used for the program in which you are interested.
To apply for this private student loan, visit Sallie Mae’s website, and click the I’m ready to apply button. The following application should populate with the pertinent information for Duke Continuing Studies.
Please note that Wells Fargo is no longer accepting new applications for their private student loans. However, students with an outstanding balance on a Wells Fargo private student loan may be eligible to be borrowers on a new private loan. See here for details.
Duke University Hospital employees may be eligible for support from the Employee Development Initiative (EDI), which helps employees pay for short-term career-related programs, workshops, and seminars. For more information, visit the Employee Development Initiative site or call Duke Hospital Human Resources at (919) 668-2170.
AmeriCorps Education Awards are available only for AmeriCorps volunteers and can be used for educational expenses for non-degree courses, such as Continuing Education courses offered by qualified schools. For more information on qualified schools and programs, contact the National Service Trust at 1-800-942-2677, or visit the FAQ page of the AmeriCorps website.
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program provides up to $4,000 (over 2 years) of Financial Assistance for military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification, or Associates degree in a portable career field and occupation. For more information, please visit the MyCAA website.
Contact our registration office at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to send wire transfers. Very specific instructions must be followed in order for our office to receive a successful transfer.
To receive a refund minus a $100 processing fee, we must receive your written cancellation request at least two weeks before the course begins. Include your name, address, phone number, and course to be dropped. You must inform us via email to email@example.com We are not able to accept cancellation requests sent via mail or fax.
Checks: Due to corona-19, we are unable to accept checks as payment at this time.
Please contact the program office at 919-684-6259.
In the event that a student must withdraw from the program due to unforeseen circumstances, or in the event that a student does not successfully complete the program, the student may request to enroll in a subsequent offering of the Duke Paralegal Program within one year. All requests for readmission should be submitted in writing to the Program Manager for review. Approval of a readmission request is at the discretion of the Program Manager.
If a course is already filled, a waiting list is usually available instead. If you are interested in placing your name on the waiting list, follow the checkout instructions to do so. If a space becomes available, a registration staff member will call you and ask if you are still interested. If you are interested, registration staff can take your payment information over the phone and complete your registration at that time.
Sometimes we have to cancel a course that does not meet minimum enrollment, or due to unforeseen events. If that happens, you will receive a full or pro-rated refund. Duke Continuing Studies reserves the right to substitute instructors or change the day a course meets.
Course fees and expenses are sometimes tax deductible. Please consult an accountant concerning this matter. Non-credit programs at Duke Continuing Studies do not generate 1098-T forms, in accordance with the following IRS guideline: