Apply & Register for Paralegal Studies

Paralegal Studies offers three application periods throughout the year — fall, spring and summer — so it's easy to find a time that works for you to apply and get started on your journey. To be admitted to the program, students are required to have a minimum of 60 semester or 90 quarter units of prior academic course credit. If you hold a baccalaureate degree, you're automatically eligible for admission.


Apply TBD - August 1


Apply October 10 - January 7


Apply March 1 - May 7

To apply to the Paralegal Studies certificate program, please complete the Cal State Apply online application.

Not sure if you're ready to apply for the certificate program? PLS 300 and PLS 320 may be taken before applying.

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.

Students must reside in California or an authorized state. See State Authorization.

Non-Certificate Students

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.

English Proficiency

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.

Computer Proficiency

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.

International Students

We are no longer able to accept F-1 international students due to the transition to a fully-online program as of summer 2023.

To Apply:

  • Online Application

    • Review Cal State Apply Application TIPS
    • Go to Cal State Apply, select the term you wish to apply for, and hit the Apply button.
    • Create your Cal State Apply account and complete your Extended Profile. Be sure to choose "Certificate" for the "Degree Goal" in this section.
    • Complete the Personal Information, Academic History and Supporting Materials sections of the application.
    • To add the Paralegal Studies Program application:
      • Click on "Add Program"
      • Search for "San Francisco State University" under campus and "Extended Education" for source and choose the term you are planning to apply for.
      • If you have a bachelor’s degree, choose the application designated for "Post-Bachelor Applicants."
      • If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, choose the application designated for "Pre-Bachelor Applicants."
      • Complete the Required and Optional Questions
      • Upload a copy of your Unofficial Transcript
      • Submit the application
  • Requirements
    Certificate applicants must meet the admission requirements. See below.
  • Deadline
    See When to Apply. Applications received after the deadline will be processed for the following semester.
  • Transcripts*
    All students must supply official transcripts of their college work to be accepted into the program. Students with baccalaureate or academic associate degrees need to provide official transcripts from the college from which they graduated. Students without such a degree must provide college transcripts from all the colleges they attended. Submit any unofficial transcripts showing college coursework at the time you complete your Cal State Apply application.
    Please send hard copy original official transcript(s) to:
    College of Professional & Global Education
    San Francisco State University
    160 Spear Street, Suite 1220
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    Please send electronic original official transcript(s) to:
    Contact your school(s) and request that your official electronic transcripts be sent to the College of Professional & Global Education through a secure third-party transcript vendor. Please send electronic original official transcript(s) to
    *Current SF State degree seeking students and graduates are exempt from the Official Transcript submission requirement.
  • Select the class you want to take on the class schedule
  • Click the Add to Shopping Cart button and follow the instructions to register

Not sure if you're ready to apply for the certificate program? PLS 300 and PLS 320 may be taken before applying.

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.

Certificate Award Application

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: 

Important Dates

Important Dates - Fall 2023

Fall 2023 Important Dates
Date Event
July 13 Online Information Session
July 14 Deadline to apply to the certificate program for students seeking financial aid*
July 17 Open registration begins
August 1 Deadline to apply to the certificate program
August 21 Semester begins
December 15 Semester ends
January 5 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.

Important Dates - Summer 2023

Summer 2023 Important Dates
Date Event
April 13 Virtual Information Session
April 18 Open registration begins
May 7 Deadline to apply for the certificate program
June 5 Semester begins
August 11 Semester ends
August 17 Grades are posted; Start date to apply for a certificate of completion



Paralegal Studies Logo
ABA Approved Paralegal Program Logo

ABA-Approved Paralegal Program

The SF State Paralegal Studies certificate program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).



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