Paralegal Studies

Paralegal Certificate

SMU Paralegal Certificate | Frequently Asked Questions

Program fast facts

DURATION 6 months
FORMAT In-Person
TUITION Priority Rate (before Oct. 5, 2016): $5,495
Standard Rate: $5,745
NEXT PROGRAM Oct. 19, 2016 – May 17, 2017
M/W evenings on the Dallas campus

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About the Certificate

What are the pre-requisites for SMU’s Paralegal Program?

  • A 4-year undergraduate degree is required
  • Basic computer and word-processing skills
  • Access to the internet with high speed connection
  • An updated résumé

Learn more about SMU’s program requirements and details

What are the TOEFL score requirements?
We recommend non-native English speakers have a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of at least 250 on the computer-based exam or 100 on the internet-based exam. These scores are recommended, but not required.

What is a passing score in each paralegal course?
Students must earn a minimum of 70% in each course module. Class projects and exams will be administered. Participants must achieve a score of 75% or better in the program to earn the SMU Paralegal Certificate.

What if personal circumstances cause me to withdraw from the program?
If you encounter a life event that might interrupt your participation in the SMU Paralegal Certificate Program, please discuss the matter immediately with a student advisor. We will work with you to arrange for future participation in the program.

Is this program ABA approved?
SMU’s Paralegal Certificate Program is not ABA approved. Instead, the curriculum has been designed with best practices and real-world experience in mind. We strive to provide a well-rounded and practical education that gives you the knowledge and skills that employers demand of professional paralegals today. 

Will graduates be able to sit for the NFPA exam?
Students may choose to take the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) Core registered Paralegal exam after completing a paralegal certificate, although this is completely voluntary on the student's part.

I still have additional questions. Does SMU have advisors for the Paralegal Certificate that I can speak to further? 
Yes, please contact SMU at 214.621.4834 or and our program advisor will be in touch with you within two business days.

General Questions about Paralegal Certificates

Why a certificate program?
We understand that students have many choices in paralegal education. That is one of the strengths of the profession. The type of program chosen by each student usually depends on several factors, including:

  • Prior Educational Experience - Students who already possess a college degree are not likely to attend a two or four year paralegal program.
  • Prior Professional Experience - Many paralegal certificate students have valuable real-world experience, but are seeking to enhance their specialized skills.
  • Motivation - Students who take certificate programs must be motivated, since they are expected to gain knowledge and skills in a relatively short period of time.

Click here to learn more about becoming a paralegal professional.

About Financial Aid/Assistance

Can I get a loan for the cost of books and supplies as well as tuition?
No. However, you can apply for a Sallie Mae Smart Option loan for continuing education studies through the link on our website. Note that some programs sell out weeks before the start date.  If you plan to apply for a Sallie Mae Smart Option loan, begin your application early to allow for adequate processing time. 

Can I start a class while I am waiting for my loan to be approved?
No. But once we receive notification that your loan has been approved, you can start registering for classes.

Do you accept the HOPE or LIFE scholarship?
The majority of financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant, Stafford Loan, or the HOPE or LIFE Scholarships are only available to students attending credit courses which lead to a degree or other academic credential. Since SMU’s paralegal certificate program is not credit-based, we are unable to process these traditional forms of financial aid.

Do I need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?
No, the FASFA is used only for degree programs.

Learn more about SMU’s financing options and enrollment.