As Washington DC's only academic-credit bearing paralegal studies program, the GW Graduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies and the Graduate Certificate for California Paralegals are more than just powerful credentials; they are a signal to the best employers that you withstood the academic rigor of one of the nation's best paralegal programs.
You’ll study with the nation’s leading experts and get the critical knowledge and skills you need to enter legal, corporate, healthcare, or government practice with confidence and acumen. Paralegals perform substantive legal work, but may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.
If you choose, you can apply either the 18-credit or the 24-credit graduate certificate toward the 32-credit master's degree in Paralegal Studies. And as a credit-bearing program, these GW certificates qualify for military benefits and federal financial aid.
Program at a Glance
These certificates are geared towards working professionals and other nontraditional students. Evening classes and online options help you manage your life’s multiple priorities.
This academic credit-bearing credential has been named among the best in the nation and will boost your professional profile in tangible ways.
With alumni across the country and in Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Italy, China, Japan, England and Taiwan, you’ll join a global network of professionals.
Where You’ll Study
What You’ll Study
The Graduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies comprises the Core Course Sequence, made of six courses and equating to 18 credits. These required courses provide the perspective and understanding you need to enter the legal field. Completion of this certificate typically takes two or three semesters.
The Graduate Certificate for California Paralegals comprises the Core Course Sequence plus any two of the Legal Practice Areas courses -- including the highly recommended California Law and Practice course. This set of eight courses, or 24 credits, builds on the foundational knowledge you will gain in the early courses and allows you to expand your knowledge in alignment with your academic and professional objectives. Additionally, this graduate certificate fully compiles with the educational requirements outlined in California Business and Professions Code, Chapter 5.6, §6450 (c), thereby allowing you to qualify as a paralegal in the state of California. Completion of this certificate typically takes three or four semesters.
PSLX 6210: American Jurisprudence
3 credits. This course introduces students to the foundations, theories, history and applications of the American legal system.
Participants examine local, state, and federal courts and sources of law and survey ethics and professionalism.
PSLX 6211: Legal Research and Writing
3 credits. The legal research portion of this course introduces students to the methods, tools and rules of print and online legal research and writing, including online databases and the Bluebook.
In the legal writing portion of the course, students draft, edit, and present legal documents based upon their research, including memorandums, motions, and briefs.
PSLX 6212: Litigation
3 credits. This course provides the professional skills that are essential to supporting litigation. Ethical considerations in litigation and using legal technology are woven throughout the course.
Students explore the art and science of litigation, which includes the elements of standard civil actions; how to use technology in litigation; and examine the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, criminal procedure, juvenile procedure, and administrative procedure.
PSLX 6223: Contracts
3 credits. This foundational course examines contract elements and attendant legal ramifications; students engage in the deep analytical thinking and develop legal reasoning skills in evaluating issues arising from contract law and practice drafting and reviewing contracts.
PSLX 6224: Advanced Legal Writing
3 credits. This course includes advanced legal writing techniques and drafting for practice, including legal writing in plain English; strategies for effective writing. Students draft legal memoranda, legal correspondence, and legal pleadings. Students will refine and advance legal analysis, writing and legal citation skills.
PSLX 6225: Business Entities
3 credits. This course addresses business organizations and related business law topics including securities regulation, consumer protection, regulation and compliance.
PSLX 6214: Administrative Law
3 credits. This course explores sources of law, administrative procedures, immigration law, trials and hearings, and ethical considerations.
PSLX 6215: Government Contracts
3 credits. This course surveys how to create, administer, draft, change, and terminate government contracts and introduces students to the unique research materials and sources of government contract law.
PSLX 6226: International Law
3 credits. This course introduces students to the rules and principles that govern relations among sovereign states, international organizations, the principles and sources of international law and the differences between international and national law, trade law and international litigation.
PSLX 6227: Intellectual Property Law
3 credits. This course surveys the legal structure of trademarks, copyrights, and patents and the processes, supporting documentation, laws, and rules regarding prosecution and litigation.
PSLX 6228 CA: California Law and Practice
3 credits. This course looks at an overview of the California government structure, court structure, rules of court, litigation support procedures and technology, and professional ethics.
- Understand key legal concepts
- Assess fact patterns to spot legal issues
- Communicate effectively orally and in writing
- Operate ethically and professionally in accordance with the law and industry guidelines
- Solve complex problems
- Demonstrate critical thinking
- Manage complex projects
- Assess, adapt and utilize technology and online resources
- Conduct research to answer legal questions
- Integrate sources and Bluebook citations
Who You'll Study With
- Ethel Badawi, J.D.
- Omar Badawi, J.D.
- Russell Clark, J.D.
- June Cohan, J.D.
- Donald R. Cravins, Jr., J.D.
- Tara Kim Eberhart, MLA
- Evan Franke, J.D.
- Lisa Leibow, J.D.
- Patricia Manso, J.D., Ph.D.
- Toni Marsh, J.D. - Program Director
- John McHugh, J.D.
- Diane Morgan, C.P., N.C.C.P.
- Roger Pao, J.D.
- Lawrence Ross, J.D.
- Ciarra Toomey, J.D.
- Dominique Williams, M.P.S.
Applicants to either Paralegal Studies graduate certificate must have a:
- Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning or international equivalent
- Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
You’ll also have to complete our online application and submit the necessary required materials, including one letter of recommendation (academic or professional). If you need assistance, please contact us by emailing [email protected].
Rates Effective Summer 2021-Spring 2022 Terms
|18 credits @ $1,205 /credit hour
(Tuition rate applies to both the online and in-person classes)
Total Tuition and Fees (estimated)
Other costs to consider:
GW's Military & Veteran Services provides wide-ranging resources and support to the military community, including GW scholarships and assistance with benefits:
Since Military and Veterans Services was created in 2008, GW has been an annual recipient of the Military Friendly Award and is also annually recognized as a Military Times “Best for Vets” higher education institution.
A maximum of one legal specialty course required for the degree may be approved for transfer to the Graduate Certificate in Paralegal Studies from credit earned while enrolled as a non-degree student at GW or from another degree-granting school of this University or another accredited college or university.
A maximum of two legal specialty courses required for the degree may be approved for transfer to the Master’s degree in Paralegal Studies from credit earned while enrolled as a non-degree student at GW or from another degree-granting school of this University or another accredited college or university.
For transfer credit to be approved, all of these conditions must be met:
- the coursework must be from an accredited institution and must have been taken within the two years prior to matriculation;
- it must be approved as part of the student’s program of studies;
- it must not have been applied to the completion of requirements for another degree;
- it must be post-baccalaureate graduate-level coursework; and the student must have received a minimum grade of B in each course for which transfer credit is requested.
Requests for transfer credit must be submitted in writing and approved by the program director and the Dean during the student’s first year in the program. An official transcript of the coursework must be on file before the request can be considered.
Applicants that have complete applications are eligible to request an application fee waiver by 11:59 p.m. on the Priority Deadline.* To request an application fee waiver, contact your program representative before submitting your application. Fee waiver details. Applications received after the Final Deadline will continue to be processed, space permitting.
In-person and online program
- Fall Priority Deadline: May 1*
- Fall Final Deadline: August 1
Applications accepted after the final deadline on a space-available basis
Online program only
- Spring Priority Deadline: October 1*
- Spring Final Deadline: December 1
In-person and online program
- Not offered
We periodically offer online and in-person information sessions about GW's Paralegal Studies programs. Contact the program representative to learn more about upcoming events.