To apply to the Paralegal Studies Certificate program, please complete the Cal State Apply online application.
In addition, you MUST submit an original sealed Official Transcript* to the College of Extended Learning after you complete your Cal State Apply application. All hard-copy official transcripts MUST be received by the college in order for a student to be accepted as a certificate student. We can’t accept electronic official transcripts or printouts of electronic official transcripts for the Official Transcript requirement.
Mail your original Official Transcript(s) to:
College of Extended Learning
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
*Current SF State degree seeking students and graduates are exempt from the Official Transcript submission requirement.
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.
|Certificate Program||Course Fees||Annual Living Expenses*||Total Fees*|
|*Estimated costs presented. Actual costs may vary.|
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 contact us 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.
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:
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 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.
Grades must be posted before you apply for the certificate. Once grades are posted, you can apply for the certificate by submitting the Certificate of Completion Request Form:
For application dates, see Important Dates.
|April 15||Online Information Session|
|April 19||Advance registration begins for certificate students and students with disabilities|
|April 20||Open registration begins|
|June 1||Summer semester begins|
|June 4||Deadline to apply for the certificate program|
|August 6||Summer semester ends|
|August 12||Grades are posted; Start date to apply for a certificate of completion|
|*Students seeking financial aid can apply after this date, but we can't guarantee disbursement in time to pay for classes.|
|November 20||Deadline to apply to the certificate program for students seeking financial aid*|
|December 10||Online Information Session|
|January 4||Advance registration begins for certificate students & students with disabilities|
|January 5||Open registration begins|
|January 25||Spring semester begins|
|February 5||Deadline to apply to the certificate program|
|March 29 - April 2||Paralegal Studies spring break|
|May 21||Spring semester ends|
|June 1||Grades are posted; Start date to apply for a certificate of completion; Fall semester ends|