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. Self-paced options are also available. 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.

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 must be United States citizens or show proof of permanent residency. The program does not issue I-20 forms. Any international applicant must provide proof of status.

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:
    • Choose 1:
      • Choose 1:
        • Strongly encouraged, may be replaced with an evening elective:

          Upcoming Program Dates

          Upcoming Program Dates
          Term Intensive Day (1 term) Extended Day (2 terms)
          Fall 2020 Sep 8 - Dec 15, 2020 Sep 8, 2020 - Apr 22, 2021
          Spring 2021 Jan 12 - Apr 22, 2021 Jan 12 - Aug 26, 2021
          Summer 2021 May 25 - Aug 26, 2021 May 25 - Dec 14, 2021
          Fall 2021 Sep 7 - Dec 14, 2021 Sep 7 - Apr 21, 2022

          Upcoming Term Dates

          Fall 2020: Sep 8 - Dec 15, 2020 (remote)
          Spring 2021: Jan 12 - Apr 22, 2021 (remote)
          Summer 2021: May 25 - Aug 26, 2021
          Fall 2021: Sep 7 - Dec 14, 2021

          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.