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The purpose of the Paralegal Program is to enable students to develop both intellectual and professional skills in the law. The program is designed to meet the needs of students wishing to enter into a career that demands knowledge of and experience with legal systems and institutions. This includes careers working for law firms, government agencies, insurance companies, banking institutions, and nonprofit agencies. It also serves as an excellent preparation for law school.
The program is an interdisciplinary program within the College of Liberal Arts that develops skills in legal research, writing and investigation alongside a deeper understanding of the substance, politics and history of the law. The American Bar Association approves the WSU Paralegal Program.
Note: Graduates of the program may not provide legal services directly to the public except under the supervision of a practicing attorney or as provided by law.
A high school diploma and admission to WSU are required for admission to the program. It is recommended candidates for admission be in the upper half of the class or have a score of at least 20 on the ACT. Students wishing to enter or transfer into the program must seek advising from the Director of the Paralegal Program.
The Paralegal Program has three phases:
Phase I - Interdisciplinary Foundations: These courses address topics related to the U.S. legal system in a variety of academic disciplines, ranging from history and political science to business and accounting.
Phase II - Legal Specialty Courses: These courses concentrate on specific aspects of the legal profession. Legal specialty courses are offered in sequence and typically begin in the fall of the junior year. △ HPLG 370 - Legal Research and Writing I , must be taken as the first course in the sequence.
Phase III – Recommended Electives for Specialization and/or Minor: In Phase III, students choose to complete the requirements of the Paralegal Program, including an additional 35 semester hours in a variety of law-related courses from various disciplines. A student may elect to complete a minor of her/his choice in addition to completing the first two phases of the program, which will reduce the law-related electives accordingly.
Additional Course and GPA Requirements
- Students are required to have substantially completed their University Studies requirements and Phase II requirements before they enroll in the Legal Specialty courses. They also must have the academic advisor’s approval.
- Except for Legal Research, transfer students cannot substitute a 100- or 200-level legal specialty course taken at another school for a similar course at a 300- or 400-level at WSU.
- All students must provide the Paralegal Program Director with a copy of their transcripts with recorded GPAs before enrolling in △ HPLG 370 - Legal Research and Writing I .
- Coursework below a grade of “C” in legal specialty courses does not count toward completion of the paralegal major.
For a checklist of the University’s graduation requirements, see the Academic Policies & University Requirements section of this catalog.
Pass/No Credit (P/NC) Courses
Except for the Paralegal Internship and Paralegal Institute, no classes taken on a P/NC basis can be used to satisfy any specific course requirements of the Paralegal Program or coursework in the options.