Frequently Asked Questions

  •  Bachelor of Legal Studies

  • When will existing graduates of the Paralegal Program with Diplomas or Certificates be able to apply for the Degree?

    Existing graduates can apply now.  Be sure to contact the department for more detailed information once you have applied.

    What does PLA mean?

    PLA stands for Prior Learning Assessment. The School of Legal Studies is committed to the recognition of prior learning.  PLA recognizes demonstrated learning for credits, which have been acquired through life or work experiences.  For further information, contact the Department.

    If I get, or already have, my Diploma or Certificate can I go on to get the Degree if I wish?

    Yes, the courses from the Diploma and Certificate options are transferable to the Degree option. You can compare the credits you have with those required for the Degree to see how many additional credits will be required  in the Program Credits Chart.

    What is the relationship between the Diploma and the Degree?

    The core legal courses required for both are the same. The Program Credits Chart helps to illustrate further.
    Unlike most other degrees with related diplomas, ours is blended not stacked. The admission requirements for the Diploma program include two years of post-secondary academic training or equivalent learning experience. Most of our Diploma students already have degrees. Diploma students will take the core legal courses alongside the Degree students, rather than taking two lower level years towards a diploma followed by two upper level years to complete the degree. However, because Diploma students will be able to compress their studies (core legal courses only) into two years, they will complete their studies two years earlier than Degree students (who will take additional general and legal electives). See the Blended Diploma/Degree Profile to see how the two options share courses.


    Will the Diploma and Certificate options continue to be offered?

    Yes, we plan to continue offering our existing credentials. The Degree was added to appeal to a different demographic

    Why offer a degree when a diploma and certificate are available?

    The Diploma and Certificate options are only available to those students who already have post-secondary education or work experience. The Degree will be open to high school graduates. For the first time since Capilano started offering paralegal training in the 1970s, students who are interested in the law and becoming a paralegal can start their training immediately after high school graduation. The degree will also appeal to students with some post-secondary education, perhaps even another degree, and who would like to have a degree in this field.

    Can I do a minor in another subject?

    Currently, Capilano University degrees, including ours, do not offer the option of majors or minors. Please check back with us periodically, however, because this may change in the near future.

    Where else can I get a paralegal degree?

    This is just the second paralegal degree to be approved in Canada. It is the only paralegal degree in Western Canada and the only University paralegal degree in Canada. Humber College in Ontario offers the other one. Many universities in the United States offer paralegal degrees.

    How was it developed?

    The Degree option is the culmination of many years of planning and consultation with the legal community. As with all new degrees in British Columbia, it was subject to a lengthy and rigorous vetting process, both internally and by the Ministry of Advanced Education. The proposal was reviewed by an independent panel of legal experts and educators, and by the Ministry’s own Degree Quality Assessment Board (DQAB).

    How long has this option been offered by Capilano University?

    The degree was approved by the Minister of Advanced Education on October 27, 2009. The first intake of students was in September 2010.

    See the announcementat

    What is the degree called?

    The formal name is Bachelor of Legal Studies (Paralegal).
  • Diploma

  • Does the University guarantee a job placement for the practicum requirement of this program?

    Practicum placement is the responsibility of the student; however, faculty will assist students with interview skills, resume drafting and may act as a liaison between students and interested employers.

    Do I need to attend all classes?

    Yes, class attendance and participation is a component of many course requirements.

    Can I take the Diploma option on a part-time basis?

    At present, the Diploma option is only available to full-time students. The courses offered each term are pre-arranged and delivered between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.


  • Certificate

  • What does it cost?

    View the Fees and Fee Payment for the Certificate option.  Note: fees vary for the Onsite vs. Online option. Be sure to visit the Exceptional Tuition and Other Fees pages.

    Can I work with other students?

    Permission to work with other students on weekly materials, assignments and examinations is determined on a course-by-course basis by the instructor. Check with the instructor before registering to ensure that you understand these requirements. Capilano University has a clear policy addressing the issue of plagiarism. Check the Capilano University website for details of this policy.

    I don't want a certificate; I just want to take two or three courses. Is this possible?

    At present, there is no policy that permits this type of entry to the program, however you are welcome to contact the department with your request.

    Should I be working as a legal administrative assistant thoughout the entire program?

    Yes, a prerequisite of the Certificate option is that each student is employed as a legal administrative assistant in a legal capacity and must maintain such employment while enrolled in the program. Exceptions for leave include medical and maternity leave.

    Do I need to pay for all 10 courses before I start the program?

    No. Fees for tuition, books and materials are due prior to commencing study each term.

    Can I start the program at any time?

    We offer 3 intakes per year: September, January and May.

    How often are the electives offered?

    The first three core courses are offered each year. The remaining course offerings are determined by interest expressed by the students enrolled in the program. The courses that generate the most interest for a particular year are offered in that year. Consideration is given to those who are close to graduating when courses offerings are determined.

    How many courses must I take to obtain my certificate?

    You must successfully achieve the required grade point average in 10 courses (including five core courses) to obtain the certificate.

    How many courses can I take each term?

    You may only take one course per term until the first five core courses have been completed and you have achieved an A- average or GPA of 3.67. There is an obligation that you remain in full-time employment while taking the courses. It has been our experience that students have difficulty achieving a passing grade point average when they take more than one course each term.

    How many courses are offered each term?

    Usually, four courses are offered in the fall and spring terms. Two courses are offered in the summer term. This is subject to change based on enrollment and demand.

    What type of law is taught in this option?

    Courses emphasize the substantive common law of Canada.

    Where are courses held?

    For the Certificate option, each term course offerings are held one night per week from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the BCIT downtown campus, 555 Seymour Street. However, during the summer term, the core course is offered on a Saturday (daytime).  Evening and online courses are condensed because of the shorter term time (7 weeks) and evening classes are offered twice week.

    The full-time Diploma and Degree options are held during the day at the North Vancouver campus.

  • Certificate-online

  • How do I get my textbooks?

    Textbooks and materials can be purchased online through the Capilano University Bookstore.

    How do I communicate with my instructor?

    Most communication between instructor and student is via e-mail or within the Moodle learning platform message tool, however, instructors may use other forms of communication in different courses.  Check with the instructor before registering to ensure that you can meet all communication requirements.

    How do I write examinations? Do I need to write the examinations in Vancouver, B.C.?

    Examinations are written online, are generally open book and may be time sensitive.  Check with the instructor before registering to ensure that you can meet all prerequisites for writing examinations.  Students do not have to attend in person to write examinations.

    Must I have access to a computer at a particular time and day each week?

    Not necessarily.  Each course is designed slightly differently; however, most instructors require weekly, not daily, attention and attendance to the materials presented.  Exceptions, though, do exist.  Check with the instructor before registering to ensure that you can meet all prerequisites to a particular course.  The instructor may want to set a weekly office hour or chat time with the class.

    Can I work at my own speed?

    No.  The distance delivery courses are designed to mirror the delivery of the courses in the part-time evening option. Lectures and assignments are delivered to students each week.  At the beginning of each term the instructor will send out a list of due dates for assignments and examinations to each student.
  • Legal Administrative Assistant

  • Do I have to complete Grade 12 to apply to the program?

    No, you do not have to have completed Grade 12 to apply to the program.

    What if my typing speed isn't up to 45 wpm by the time classes start?

    A student must meet the requirement of touch typing at 45 wpm before classes start. If a student is close to 45 wpm, he or she should speak to the Convenor about acceptance into the program.

    What is the difference between the Legal Administrative Assistant Program and the Paralegal Program?

    The entrance requirements are different. The Legal Administrative Assistant Program requires good English skills, as demonstrated by a test and a written paragraph, and a keyboarding speed of 45 wpm. Once qualified and employed in the legal field, Legal Administrative Assistants can apply to study the part-time Paralegal Certificate.

    Is this course online?

    Currently, we are not offering the Legal Administrative Assistant Program online.

    I work full-time, can I take this part-time? Or in the evenings? By correspondence?

    Part-time students are admitted on an individual basis. This program is usually completed on a full-time basis.

    May I upgrade my legal knowledge and take only one or two courses?

    Part-time students are admitted on an individual basis. Our program is usually completed on a full-time basis.

    Do you teach shorthand?

    Do you teach shorthand?
    No, we stopped teaching shorthand several years ago when our advisory committee informed us that the lawyers were not requiring shorthand.