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Paralegal Program
Paralegal Program

Paralegal Certificate Program

The UC San Diego Extension Paralegal Program features a curriculum that combines practical skills with legal theory and analysis. Classes are taught by prominent attorneys and experienced paralegals who provide students with a balanced perspective and insight into the tasks paralegals perform. Emphasis is placed on the working relationship between the paralegal and the attorney. Course content focuses on civil litigation; areas of curriculum include legal research, writing, interviewing, and substantive and procedural law.



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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 UCSD Extension Accelerated and Part-Time study programs have been granted approval by the ABA.

Preparing paralegals

for successful careers

Program Goals
  • To familiarize students with the legal system and the role of the paralegal in the delivery of legal services in the public and private sectors.
  • To train students in critical paralegal skills such as investigation, legal research, interviewing, and written and oral communication.
  • To provide students with the theoretical background to perform the paralegal's tasks in substantive areas of law and legal specialties.
  • To educate and train students in areas of procedural law emphasizing the paralegal's role in litigation, mediation, and arbitration.
  • To teach students about 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.
  • To encourage students to contribute to the advancement of the legal profession.
  • To provide counseling during the program and to assist students in preparing for and obtaining meaningful careers in the legal field.

Legal internships provide students with valuable experience in the delivery of legal services and allow students the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained through the paralegal program to real-world legal issues. Although not a requirement of the program, the Paralegal Career Services Manager works with San Diego-area companies and firms to help find internships for students and recent graduates when requested.

Paralegal Program Career Services

Graduates of the UC San Diego Extension Paralegal Program have access to job assistance through the Paralegal Program. The Paralegal Career Services Manager conducts individual counseling sessions on cover letter and resume drafting, job sourcing, and interviewing techniques, and provides general career guidance to Paralegal Program students and alumni. The Career Services Manager regularly participates in community job development activities and refers program graduates to companies offering employment opportunities, internships, and externships. While UCSD Extension cannot guarantee job placement, the Career Services Manager is available to help students develop career skills, identify personal strengths and goals, and ultimately translate these elements into successful employment opportunities. Career services are available at no additional fee for all program graduates.

Job Bank

In addition, the UC San Diego Extension Paralegal Program posts available legal support staff job opportunities to an online, members-only job bank. Positions are posted as they are received and graduates may elect to receive daily alerts when positions are posted.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements are the same for both the Accelerated and Part-Time programs. Standards are set by the ABA and are reviewed periodically. Applicants must meet entrance requirements prior to admission. The basic requirements and submissions are as follows:

  • Bachelor's degree (for the Accelerated Program) or significant legal experience
  • Minimum of an Associate's Degree or equivalent general education units (for the Part-time Program) or significant legal experience
  • Completion of the Application for Candidacy in the Paralegal Program
  • A $60 processing fee, payable to UC Regents. This fee covers the application evaluation and counseling throughout the program.
  • Official transcripts of college work
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who are familiar with the applicant's academic and/or professional background.
Program Dates

The intensive accelerated program allows students to complete instruction in 12 weeks.  The program is offered three times a year the fall, spring, and summer quarters. The part-time program permits students to begin the program in any quarter. Quarters start in September, January, March and June.

Information sessions are held thoughout the year.
View upcoming info sessions

Application Deadlines

Applications must be submitted four weeks prior to the beginning of the term for the accelerated program. For the part-time program, applications should be submitted before the term in which the student begins, and the application file must be complete before the student enrolls in their third class. Students applying to the accelerated program are advised to apply early.

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 firm, 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. & Prof. Code §§ 6450 et seq.)


Additional Information

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