Although students who complete this program receive a certificate rather than a diploma, classes for the Paralegal Certificate program run the regular academic semester. Students must apply and be accepted through the Graduate College as a Texas Certificate student. A bachelor's degree is required for applicants to the paralegal certificate program. These classes are not accelerated and are not offered on line. All required courses are offered on the San Marcos campus while one elective per semester may be offered in Austin. Curriculum for the Paralegal Certificate runs parallel to the curriculum for the Master of Arts with a Major in Legal Studies. The difference is that this program requires 24 credit hours (8 full semester classes) and the MA requires 36 credit hours (12 full semester classes) and an applied research project which results in a Master's degree. Students who begin in the Paralegal Certificate Program and decide to pursue a Master's degree may only transfer 6 hours into the new program.
Application deadlines, admission requirements, and US Department of Education Gainful Employment Disclosures are available at: http://www.gradcollege.txstate.edu/ProspectStudents/PgmsApps/TXSTCert.html
Paralegal: A Professional Career Option
A “paralegal” is a professional who is trained to handle certain law-related responsibilities as an integral member of a legal staff. A paralegal is not admitted to the practice of law in Texas but has through education, training and experience, demonstrated knowledge of the legal system, legal principles and procedures and uses such knowledge in rendering paralegal assistance to an attorney in the representation of that attorney’s clients. The functions of a paralegal are limited only to the extent that they are limited by law. The properly trained paralegal may, under the supervision of a lawyer, perform a variety of functions which include researching legal issues, drafting documents, managing complex files, developing legal practice systems, interviewing witnesses, conducting fact investigations, summarizing depositions, and assisting the attorney in and out of the courtroom.
To receive a Paralegal Studies Certificate, all students must successfully complete the 24 semester hour curriculum while maintaining a “B” average, and must receive a “B” or better in each required course.Curriculum
A student must complete 24 semester credit hours in the Paralegal Studies Certificate Program curriculum, including 18 hours of required courses and 6 hours of elective courses.
The required courses include:
Students may select any 6 hours out of the following elective courses:
The Paralegal Certificate Program is approved by the American Bar Association.
The Paralegal Certificate Program does not qualify a person to practice law.