About the Paralegal Studies Program

The Paralegal Studies Program

SF State Extended Learning offers a 30-academic-unit certificate program in paralegal studies, providing instruction in practical legal skills and substantive law. Courses are conducted at the upper-division level and are taught by attorneys and paralegals, all of who have practical experience in the field. This program is a member of the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), which requires that all of its member programs be in substantial compliance with nationally recognized guidelines. It is also accredited through San Francisco State University by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the official regional accrediting body for academic institutions in the western part of the country. The program is also approved by the American Bar Association.

Paralegal Studies Program Objectives

The primary goal of the Paralegal Studies certificate program is to educate students for positions as paralegals as a means of improving the quality, accessibility, and affordability of legal services.

The program's key objectives are:

  • to educate and prepare students for a paralegal career
  • to provide students with an overview of the legal system and law practice
  • to provide students with in-depth knowledge and skills to work in civil litigation
  • to prepare students to perform legal research and to draft a variety of legal documents
  • to teach students the rules and laws governing the conduct of paralegals and to help them internalize high ethical values and behavior
  • to help students develop strong oral and written communication skills
  • to provide students with the opportunity to learn the skills needed to function in one or more areas of practice other than litigation


Paralegal textbooks will be available for purchase ONLY from the SF State Bookstore (main campus). For more information, please call (415) 338-7054.

Paralegal Library - Room 615

The paralegal library is open to all prospective and current students and contains books on areas of instruction, the paralegal profession, student internship journals, legal newspapers, career resources, and professional association newsletters and magazines.

Students who did not purchase a Lexis subscription but are enrolled in PLS 320 Legal Research and/or PLS 430 Computer Application in Law will receive a free 30-day Lexis account.

Student Subscriptions are available for purchase at the start of the fall and spring semesters for registered students.

Credit Toward a BA Degree

Units earned in this program carry full upper-division academic credit. All units may be applied as general elective units toward a Bachelor of Arts degree at SF State and other CSU institutions. Students should consult universities for their transfer credit policy.

Repeat of Courses

Students may retake a required course only once to get a passing grade. Students who fail a required class after two attempts, may NOT continue as certificate students.

LexisNexis CaseMap and Concordance On-Demand Modules for Paralegal Students

LexisNexis offers CaseMap and Condordance On-Demand Modules for Paralegal Schools. These web-based, self-paced training modules offer hands-on, practical training on CaseMap and Concordance - with the ultimate goal of making paralegal students more marketable upon graduation.


The regular cost for modules is $200 per module. Students who have individual Lexis subscriptions pay ONLY $25 per module, and receive a Lexis Mastery Certificate on successful completion of the module. Please contact Eduardo Cerpa for further information on how to register for these modules.

  • The $25 CaseMap course consists of five on-demand modules.
  • The $25 Concordance course consists of four on-demand modules.

Course Materials:

Each course begins with a Course Materials section. The Course Materials provides background and context for the information covered in each module. In order to gain maximum benefit from each of these course, it is recommended that students.

  • Print and read the Course Materials section before beginning each course, and
  • Refer back to the Course Materials while completing the modules.


iLearn is an online tool, where instructors post the course syllabi and handouts.

Several PLS classes require students to download class materials posted on iLearn. To access iLearn, you will need your SF State ID number and SF State Password.

Paralegal Studies Graduate Benefit

Paralegal graduates may audit an elective course of their choice at a 50% registration fee discount. Registration forms must be submitted to Eduardo Cerpa for verification. Payment must be made in person at the 6th floor front desk.


As a result of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, CalJOBS provides connections to customer-focused employment training for adults and dislocated workers. SF State is an approved provider for WIOA funds. SF State is listed on the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) on the CalJOBS website. Search on Keyword: SF State College of Extended Learning.