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.


The mission of the ABA-approved Paralegal Studies certificate program is to meet the evolving needs of the legal community and prepare students from diverse backgrounds for employment in the legal profession by providing a comprehensive curriculum taught by experienced legal professionals that includes procedural and substantive law; ethics; and legal research, writing and analysis.

Paralegal Studies Program Learning Outcomes

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.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Apply ethical principles that guide paralegal conduct in real-world situations
  2. Compile and evaluate research to support attorney needs
  3. Apply legal knowledge to support the litigation process
  4. Demonstrate clear, concise and organized oral and written communication skills
  5. Utilize fundamental legal concepts which govern the practice of law


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

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.


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 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.