To sign up for the Certificate of Completion in Paralegal Studies, please complete the application below.
Certificate applicants must meet the admission requirements.
See Important Dates. Applications received after the deadline will be processed for the following semester.
All students must supply official hard copy transcripts of their college work. Students with baccalaureate or academic associate degrees need to provide official hard copy transcripts from the college from which they graduated. Students without such a degree must provide college transcripts from all the colleges they attended. All transcripts MUST be attached to the application for a student to be accepted as a certificate student. We can’t accept electronic transcripts or printouts of electronic transcripts.
A non-refundable application fee of $50 must be paid when submitting the application.
Mail the certificate application form, official hard copy transcripts and application fee to the SF State Downtown Campus. The address is listed on the back of the application form. Your other option is to submit your application at the Extended Learning front desk to the attention of the Paralegal Studies program.
Follow the admissions procedures listed on the Center for Global Engagement How to Apply for Academic Certificate Programs page. Students will be notified of their admission status by the admissions coordinator.
The total cost of the program is approximately $8,990 a $50 non-refundable application fee. Most courses are $299 per unit. Lab fees are added for courses that require computer lab sessions. Students pay for courses on a semester-by-semester basis only. Additional costs for texts and materials vary by course from approximately $50 to $150.
Tuition/Fees & Cost of Living
|Certificate Program||Course Fees||Annual Living Expenses*||Total Fees*|
|*Estimated costs presented. Actual costs may vary.|
Length of Program
The 30 units required to earn the certificate may be completed in as short a time as 18 - 24 months — 4 or 5 semesters — or students may choose to take as long as four years.
International students and other students who are required to complete this program in one year; or students who wish to complete this program in 12 months (3 semesters); are encouraged to see Mali Kigasari, Interim Academic Director, for academic counseling.
The recommended course load per semester is 3 or 4 courses. Students are not permitted to register in more than 4 courses per semester.
Students are required to have a minimum of 60 semester or 90 quarter units of prior academic course credit to be admitted to the program. Students who hold a baccalaureate degree are automatically eligible for admission to the program. Students who do not have a BA/BS but have completed the required units of academic college work are eligible if their college work includes at least 30 semester or 45 quarter units of academic general education courses in four basic skills courses: oral communication, written composition, critical thinking, and mathematics or quantitative reasoning; and have completed those courses with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better, within ten years of their application to SF State Paralegal program.
Students with at least three years of legal experience who have at least 45 semester or 68 quarter units of college work may petition for conditional admission. Transcripts verifying units must be accompanied by an attorney declaration attesting to their legal work experience, which must have been within five years of their application to SF State Paralegal program. Students with conditional admission do not qualify for federal financial aid.
Those who already have experience in the legal field and who wish to take selected courses without applying to the program may register for courses with the permission of the individual instructor, and the program director. Non-certificate students are required to provide documentation (transcripts) of course work taken and/or legal experience (attorney letter) which satisfies PLS prerequisites for the course(s) they wish to take.
Transfer of Credits
A maximum of nine upper-division, academic semester units may be transferred from another ABA-approved paralegal program; if the student received a grade of 'B' or better. Transfer units must have the same three semester unit weight and be a substantial match for course content to SF State courses in order to replace a required SF State course. Students who wish to transfer units from another ABA-approved Paralegal Program must submit transcripts and full course descriptions of each course at the time they're submitting their application to the Paralegal Program. We reserve the right to accept courses based on how closely they match SF State Paralegal courses. Courses that are not an exact match may, at our discretion, count as electives. Courses that are quarter units will be converted to semester units for transfer credit. Courses must have been completed with five years of application to the SF State Paralegal Studies program. Law school classes from an ABA-approved law school are not transferable with the sole exception of Legal Research & Writing.
Paralegal courses require strong writing skills. Certificate students who do not have a bachelor's degree are required to register for PLS 414 Introduction to Professional Legal Writing, which counts for credit as a elective course and also satisfies the literacy requirement. At the discretion of the Program Director, students who are non-native English speakers are encouraged to take PLS 414 to develop their written and oral communication skills in English.
Basic computer proficiency is essential in the legal workplace and all new students are subject to the following requirements:
- New students must verify that they have basic computer literacy, including the ability to use a common word processing program, email, and the Internet, or develop these skills before they graduate. Students without basic computer literacy must attain these skills through self-study or adult education or junior college.
- Computer Applications in Law Practice, PLS 430, is strongly recommended, but not required, for students who have not worked in a legal setting. Any student may take this course as an elective. Students must have basic computer literacy skills, including word-processing, email, and the Internet, before they enroll in this course.
Award of the Certificate
An academic certificate is awarded after successful completion of 30 units (including all required courses and elective courses).
At least 21 units must be graded on an A-F basis. Required courses, PLS 300, 305, 310, 320, and 395 must be completed with a letter grade. See page Grades for information on registering for courses on a credit/no credit basis. Students must earn a minimum grade of C in all courses and have a cumulative average of C+ to earn the certificate. All coursework must be completed within a four-year period and financial obligations to the university must be cleared. Students who graduate with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher will have honors recognition on their certificates.
For application deadlines, see Important Dates. Application not received by the deadline will not be processed until the following semester. Please submit application to the front desk to the attention of the Paralegal Studies program. Note: Those who do not have baccalaureate degrees must attach proof of passing PLS 414 to their graduation applications.