Paralegal Certificate - Evening Program (Synchronous Online)

Earn an ABA-Approved Paralegal Certificate in under One Year

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 - Evening Program is ideal for candidates who are working full time and are seeking a career change or advancement. Students in the evening program will complete 24 units in just under one year (three terms). USD does not transfer in paralegal credits from other institutions.

Admission Requirements

Previous Education -- Applicants for the evening certificate program must possess a baccalaureate degree or an associate of arts or science degree from an accredited postsecondary institution. The program also admits a limited number of applicants to the evening program who have documented work experience in the legal field. Prospective applicants wishing to apply based on work experience should email a resume and any unofficial transcript(s) to to determine eligibility prior to submitting the application.

The Paralegal Program is open to domestic students who reside in a state in which USD is authorized to enroll students. Interested applicants located outside of San Diego County also should review the Prospective Students not in San Diego County information before beginning the application process.

International Education/English Proficiency -- 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 you have obtained a bachelor's degree from an institution where English is the official language of instruction. The Program is not authorized to facilitate visas of any kind.  

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

  • PLST 521: Introduction to Business Entities
  • PLST 524: Administrative Law
  • PLST 525: Contracts
  • PLST 526: Intellectual Property
  • PLST 527: Employment/Labor Law
  • PLST 553: Estates, Wills and Trusts
  • PLST 554: Criminal Law
  • PLST 555: Family Law
  • PLST 556: Real Estate
  • PLST 598: Internship

Upcoming Program Dates

Upcoming Program Dates
 Start Term Evening (3 terms)
Fall 2023 Sep 12, 2023 - Aug 15, 2024
Spring 2024 Jan 23 - Dec 5, 2024
Summer 2024 May 21, 2024 - April 10, 2025
Fall 2024 Sep 10, 2024 - Aug 14, 2025
Dates subject to change

Upcoming Term Dates

Fall 2023: Sep 12 - Dec 8, 2023 (synchronous online)
Spring 2024: Jan 23 - Apr 11, 2024  (synchronous online)
Summer 2024: May 21 - Aug 15, 2024 (synchronous online)
Fall 2024: Sep 10 - Dec 5, 2024 (synchronous online)

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 Events

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