Who should take this program?
If you have a professional background in law or in a legal field, this program might be right for you. UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies' ABA-Approved Paralegal Certificate combines practical skills with legal theory and analysis. Classes are taught by prominent attorneys and experienced paralegals who will provide you with a balanced perspective and insight into the tasks paralegals perform. You will gain a good understanding of the working relationship between the paralegal and attorney as well as civil litigation. Areas of curriculum include legal research, writing, and substantive and procedural law.
American Bar Association Approved
American Bar Association (ABA) approval has become a benchmark for many employers who hire paralegals. To be considered for approval by the ABA, a program must meet standards adopted by the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals. Both the UC San Diego Extension accelerated and part-time study programs have been granted ABA approval.
- September 25 - December 16 - CLOSED
- September 18 - December 16
View a complete list of all program dates.
- Networking events with legal communities and organizations
- Familiarization with the U.S. legal system and the role of the paralegal in the delivery of legal services in public and private sectors
- Build critical paralegal skills such as investigation, legal research, and written and oral communication.
- Understand the theoretical background to perform the paralegal's tasks in substantive areas of law and legal specialties.
- Training in areas of procedural law emphasizing the paralegal's role in litigation, mediation and arbitration
- Learn the general principles of ethical legal practice as defined by the ABA's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, and California's Business & Professions code 6450.
What this program includes
Required courses (22 units):
- Introduction to the Legal System
- Legal Communications
- Business Law
- Computer Essentials for the Legal Professional
- Ethics for the Legal Professional
- Civil Litigation I and II
- Legal Research & Analysis
- Evidence Law
- Paralegal Career Success
Legal course electives (6 units required):
- Contract Law
- Discovery Principles
- Tort Law
- Criminal Law and Procedures
- Immigration Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- and more...
Per ABA Paralegal Education Guidelines:
All students must take at least nine semester credits or the equivalent of legal specialty courses through synchronous instruction. Not all elective courses are offered in a synchronous format. Elective offerings vary each quarter.
Role of a Paralegal:
The ABA defines a "Paralegal" as a person, qualified by education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained by an attorney, law form, corporation, governmental agency or other entity who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work under the direction and supervision of a practicing licensed attorney. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law. (Cal. Bus. and Prof. Code 6450 et. seq.)
Below, please find the minimum requirements for acceptance to this program. We carefully review the background and qualifications of each applicant to ensure that those admitted into the program will have a successful experience.
Language Proficiency Requirement
You must have one of the following test scores to participate in the ABA-Approved Paralegal Certificate program:
- TOEFL iBT: 79
- IELTS: 6.5
- CEFR: B2/C1
- Cambridge Scaled Score: 180 - C1 Advanced
- Duolingo English Test (DET): 110
- Pearson Test of English (PTE): 58
- Listening: 445
- Reading: 420
- Speaking: 170
- Writing: 165
- ELI Level: Successful completion of level 8 in Legal English program
Additional Admission Requirements
- Completion of a university degree
- Copy of your academic transcripts in English, indicating a strong academic record; include grading key
- A one-page statement explaining why you would like to take the Paralegal Certificate program
- Three letters of recommendation from an instructor, employer, co-worker, and/or client
All programs close when they are full. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis until all seats available are taken by the most qualified applicants. Acceptance deadline is 3 weeks before the program start-date.
All enrolled students are required to complete an online pre-arrival orientation before starting the Paralegal Certificate.
Cost (in U.S. dollars)
2023 & 2024
- Application fee: $225
- Paralegal Certificate (1 quarter/3 months): $9,500
- International Student Service fee: $400 per quarter
- UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies medical insurance: $715 per quarter
- Certificate fee: $95
Books and materials for the legal courses are included in the price of the program. However, books and materials for all business courses (for the three-quarter Paralegal Certificate) must be purchased separately.
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