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

PARA Day Certificate ImageGraduates 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.

Learner Outcomes

  • Earn an ABA approved paralegal certificate
  • Develop professional competence through a focus on practical skills
  • Become familiar with basic legal concepts and terminology, the elements of legal research, court structure, technology used in the legal environment, and legal ethics
  • Receive instruction in substantive areas of law
  • Become familiar with the role of the paralegal in a legal environment
  • Complete an internship in a law office, legal clinic, corporation, or government entity

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.

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.

Upcoming Program Dates

  Intensive Day (1 term) Extended Day (2 terms)
Fall 2019 Sept 10 - Dec 17, 2019 Sept 10, 2019 - Apr 23, 2020
Spring 2020 Jan 14 - April 23, 2020 Jan 14 - Aug 27, 2020
Summer 2020 May 26 - August 27, 2020 May 26 - Dec 15, 2020

Upcoming Term Dates

Fall 2019: Sept 10 - Dec 17, 2019
Spring 2020: Jan 14 - April 23, 2020
Summer 2020: May 26 - August 27, 2020

Dates subject to change.

Schedule & Fees

Paralegal Program tuition is $250 per semester unit. The program consists of 24 total units (12 core and 12 elective). View a course-by-course cost breakdown.

Info Sessions & Graduate Panels

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

Additional Details


Minimum Required

4 Course(s)

Minimum Required

4 Course(s)

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