Paralegal Certificate - Day Program

Earn an ABA-Approved Paralegal Certificate in as Little as Four Months

Graduates of the ABA-approved Paralegal Program are well prepared to assist in the effective delivery of legal services in both the private and public sectors of our society. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law. Paralegals are trained members of a legal team who work under the supervision of attorneys. A team concept approach to legal matters ensures professional representation of clients and reduces the cost of legal services. Through classroom lectures, readings, and practical assignments, students become familiar with the role of the paralegal in the legal environment.

Program Outcomes

  • Earn an ABA approved paralegal certificate, meeting the requirements of Business & Professions Code §6450
  • Develop practical skills in preparation for a paralegal career
  • Acquire foundational knowledge in substantive areas of law necessary to perform work under the supervision of an attorney
  • Understand legal ethics and the role of the paralegal in the legal environment
  • Understand basic legal concepts and terminology and our court structure
  • Understand and practice the elements of legal research and analysis
  • Become familiar with and practice appropriate technology use in the legal environment

Certificate Requirements

The USD Paralegal Certificate - Day Program requires students to complete 24 units over one or two terms. The Intensive Day Program is ideal for the student who wishes to enter the legal profession quickly. Students in the Intensive Day Program will complete 24 units in one term (4 months). The Extended Day Program allows students to complete the requirements at a slower pace, splitting the coursework over two terms. Students in the Extended Day Program will complete 12 units of core curriculum during the first term and 12 units of electives during the second term. USD does not transfer in paralegal credits from other institutions. 

Admission Requirements

Previous Education -- Applicants for the day certificate program must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited postsecondary institution to be considered for admission. Interested applicants who do not possess a baccalaureate degree may qualify for the evening program.

Interested U.S. applicants located outside of San Diego County should review the Prospective Students not in San Diego County information before beginning the application process.

English Proficiency/Citizenship -- The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (recommended minimum 92) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (recommended minimum 7.0) is mandatory for all applicants educated outside the United States. The test can be waived if English is your primary language or you have obtained a bachelor degree from the U.S., Great Britain, Canada or Australia. Other exceptions can be made on a case by case basis. Applicants wishing to take program courses on campus must be United States citizens or show proof of permanent residency. The program does not issue I-20 forms and cannot facilitate any visas. Any international applicant must provide proof of status to take program courses on campus. International students may complete the program remotely when remote options are offered but must be available to participate synchronously and are reminded that course times use the Pacific Time Zone. International applicants are encouraged to first review the above sample schedules to ensure they are available to participate synchronously in the program. International applicants are also encouraged to review the Prospective Students not in San Diego County information before beginning the application process.  

Core Courses

Minimum required: 4 courses

  • PLST 500: Introduction to Law
  • PLST 505: Legal Research and Writing
  • PLST 510: Computers in the Legal Field
  • PLST 551: Civil Litigation

Elective Courses

Minimum required: 4 courses

  • Choose 1:
    • PLST 525: Contracts
    • PLST 554: Criminal Law
  • Choose 1:
    • PLST 521: Introduction to Business Entities
    • PLST 555: Family Law
  • Choose 1:
    • PLST 526: Intellectual Property
    • PLST 556: Real Estate
  • Strongly encouraged, may be replaced with an evening elective:
    • PLST 598: Internship

Upcoming Program Dates

Upcoming Program Dates
Term Intensive Day (1 term) Extended Day (2 terms)
Spring 2022 Jan 25 - Apr 28, 2022 Jan 25 - Sep 1, 2022
Summer 2022 May 24 - Sep 1, 2022 May 24 - Dec 15, 2022
Fall 2022 Sep 6 - Dec 15, 2022 Sep 6, 2022 - Apr 28, 2023
Spring 2023 Jan 24 - April 28, 2023 Jan 24 - Aug 31, 2023
Dates subject to change   

Upcoming Term Dates

Spring 2022: Jan 25 - Apr 28, 2022 (remote)
Summer 2022: May 24 - Sep 1, 2022 (remote)
Fall 2022: Sep 6 - Dec 15, 2022 (remote)

Dates subject to change

Schedule and Fees

Paralegal Program tuition is $285 per semester unit. The program consists of 24 total units (12 core and 12 elective). View a course-by-course cost breakdown.

Info Sessions and Graduate Panels

Visit our Request Info page for upcoming event dates or to speak with an adviser.