Paralegal Certificate - Evening Program

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

Available to both graduates and undergraduates, 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). Self-paced options are also available. 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 completed some college credits and/or have documented business or legal work experience.

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

  • 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
 Term Evening (3 terms)
Fall 2020 Sep 8, 2020 - Aug 19, 2021
Spring 2021 Jan 12, 2021 - Dec 9, 2021
Summer 2021 May 25, 2021 - May 12, 2022
Fall 2021 Sep 7, 2021 - Aug 18, 2022

Upcoming Term Dates

Fall 2020: Sep 8 - Dec 10, 2020 (remote)
Spring 2021: Jan 12 - May 13, 2021 (remote)
Summer 2021: May 25 - Aug 19, 2020
Fall 2021: Sep 7 - Dec 9, 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.