Legal Studies and Professional Ethics
Associate in Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.)
Business, Technology, and
Professional Studies Division


The Legal Studies and Professional Ethics degree program provides an initial foundation in legal studies and professional ethics that includes general education, legal specialty and survey courses designed to prepare students for entry-level careers. Students gain valuable skills and knowledge while exploring real world examples of legal, ethical, and practical applications.

This degree program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of legal professionals in a variety of legal employment settings;
  • Identify and implement standards of legal ethics and professionalism;
  • Demonstrate practical skills in a range of substantive legal areas;
  • Engage in effective written and verbal professional communication;
  • Develop appropriate methods for embarking on a legal career.

As part of this degree program, each student must complete 18 credits of designated legal specialty courses which include 9 credits (three courses) of core legal specialty courses which must be attained through synchronous instruction, with live remote instruction offered for all applicable courses. The remaining courses are offered online, on campus, daytime and/or evening.

Legal specialty courses are designed to provide students with instruction in practical skills for entry-level positions.

The following legal specialty courses do not generally qualify for transfer into the degree program: LEG 129, LEG 130, LEG 132, LEG 133, LEG 143, LEG 255, and LEG 258. Students may transfer other non-legal specialty courses within the degree requirements, pending review and approval.

In the United States, paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public or engage in the practice of law, except as permitted by law. Courses in the program do not include training for jurisdiction-specific legal instruction and do not qualify as the instruction of law nor do they prepare students to practice law or to represent clients. In New Jersey, only an attorney who is admitted to the state bar may practice law.

This program is designed for students seeking a flexible and affordable path to earn an ABA-approved degree.

Paralegal certificate program

2023-2024 Academic Year
 earlier / Archive
CIP 220302

The course sequence below represents a recommended example of how this degree program can be completed in two years, presuming a Fall Term start and satisfaction of all Developmental Studies (foundation courses) requirements and prerequisites. Actual approaches toward completion depend on each student's anticipated transfer institution, career objectives, or other individual circumstances.

Students are encouraged to meet regularly with an academic advisor or Success Coach to consider options, establish plans, and monitor progress.

Code Course (lecture/lab hours) Credits
To Do This Semester
CSW 100 College Success and Personal Wellness (2/0)
  • Some exemptions apply. Consult academic advisor for details.

✔ Meet with your faculty advisor to complete an academic plan. Make sure you are aware of any course prerequisites you may need to take, and how long it will take to complete your degree.

✔ Use your online tools: Check your MercerMail daily, utilize features of Office 365, and get to know Student Planning.

✔ Take advantage of Learning Centers or Online Tutoring to support your studies and assignments.

ENG 101 English Composition I (3/0) 3
LEG 129 Role of the Paralegal (3/0) 3
LEG 130 Civil Litigation I (3/0) 3
MAT 120 Mathematics for Liberal Arts (3/0)
  • Consult intended transfer institution(s) regarding their mathematics requirements and academic advisor for acceptable alternatives.
BUS 107 Business Law I (3/0) 3

✔ Transitioning to college can be challenging. Meet with your Success Coach for guidance and support.

✔ Apply for financial aid by May 1.

✔ Contact professors with questions and use their office hours to develop a connection. Talk with them to get the inside scoop on how your profession works.

✔ Be sure to visit the Career Services office to explore jobs, internships, and career information and get help with your resume and other career tools.

✔ Apply for Continuing Student scholarships at

ENG 102 English Composition II (3/0) 3
IST 101 Computer Concepts with Applications (2/2) 3
LEG 132 Civil Litigation II (3/0) 3
LEG 133 Legal Research and Writing (3/0) 3
BUS 108 Legal Environment of Business (3/0) 3

✔ Keep in contact with each professor and your faculty advisor. Make sure you are on track to graduate on time.

✔ Work with Career Services to formulate plans for after you've earned this degree.

✔ Develop team and leadership skills by getting involved in activities and clubs.

✔ Apply for Continuing Student scholarships at

✔ Manage your stress! Take advantage of the MCCC pool, Fitness Center, free yoga and Zumba. Reach out for counseling or other support if you need it. Your Success Coach can connect you with resources.

CRJ 202 Criminal Law (3/0) 3
LEG 255 Ethics and Professionalism (3/0) 3
LEG 256 Career Development for Law and Justice Professionals (1/0) 1
LEG 258 Research and Project Management: Legal, Business, and Justice Applications (3/0) 3
  —    — Science elective
  • BIO 114 is the recommended elective for students intending to transfer to a four-year institution. Those planning to transfer should determine if a lab science is required before choosing the Science elective.
CMN 112 Public Speaking (3/0)  

✔ Get ready to start your career! Begin the job application process.

✔ Discuss your career plans with your faculty advisor. S/he can help you transition successfully.

  OR 3
CMN 111 Speech: Human Communication (3/0)  
  —    — Program elective
  • Select from BUS 101, 102, 111, 230, 240; CRJ 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 206, 211, 212; LEG 143.
  —    — Program elective
  • Select from BUS 101, 102, 111, 230, 240; CRJ 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 206, 211, 212; LEG 143.
  —    — Diversity and Global Perspective general education elective 3
  —    — Social Science or Humanities general education elective 3
NOTE: All students must complete 18 credits of required legal specialty courses LEG 129, 130, 132, 133, 255, and 258 -- none of which may be transferred from other institutions or (except for 255 and 258) completed through MercerOnline.
NOTE: Electives should be selected in consultation with the program coordinator in order to assure maximum transfer of credits. Students require a minimum of 18 hours of ABA recognized general education electives.