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Certificate Programs
Paralegal Studies

Certificate in Paralegal Studies

Paralegals play an increasingly important part in the legal profession, undertaking critical research and support work for attorneys. The Certificate in Paralegal Studies offered by the Department of Political Science is increasingly recognized as important preparation for anyone considering a career in law, and provides students with grounding in all the critical elements of the legal profession, from litigation to property law, contract law, bankruptcy law, and family law. Adding an important real-world element to the certificate, almost all the classes are taught by practicing attorneys or paralegals. Students can combine the certificate with any other degree programs or major, or take it by itself.  Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to public except as permitted by law.

IUPUI Paralegal Program Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes

Adopted January, 2019, Approved by Advisory Board February, 2019

Program Objectives and accompanying Student Learning Outcomes – Developed to coincide with the IUPUI Profiles of Learning for Undergraduate Success:  IUPUI + :  https://academicaffairs.iupui.edu/AAContent/Html/Strategic-Initiatives/IUPUI-Plus.html

Program Objective 1:  Communicator - To prepare students to communicate effectively in a legal environment.  This objective is demonstrated by the student’s ability to:

  • Analyze legal situations;
  • Understand different arguments and perspectives through effective listening and comprehension skills;
  • Effectively communicate both orally and in writing;
  • Use legal research tools to write well researched and legally reasoned responses.

Program Objective 2:  Problem Solver - To stimulate critical thinking in our students so they can identify, evaluate, and adapt to legal issues.  This objective is demonstrated by the student’s ability to:

  • Evaluate legal situations;
  • Collaborate with peers to solve legal problems;
  • Consider legal arguments and counter-arguments and prepare a response;
  • Arrive at reasoned persuasive legal conclusions and be able to support these conclusions.

Program Objective 3:  Innovator - To equip students with the foundational legal knowledge to allow them to respond to challenges in a legal environment.  This objective is demonstrated by the student’s ability to:

  • Develop an understanding of legal concepts and structures;
  • Decisively apply legal concepts to legal issues;
  • Develop an organizational system for accomplishing work;
  • Meet strict deadlines;
  • Utilize technology to efficiently complete legal work.

Program Objective 4:  Community Contributor - To prepare students to understand and follow legal rules and structures, including ethical rules, and to promote fairness and civility.  This objective is demonstrated by the student’s ability to:

  • Understand and apply procedural rules;
  • Behave in a professional and courteous manner;
  • Understand and uphold the rules of professional conduct for lawyers;
  • Connect learning to the legal community and beyond.

A certificate in Paralegal Studies (POLS) requires satisfactory completion of the following requirements:

  • Completion of 27 credit hours, with a minimum grade of C in each course.
  • A majority of the coursework must be completed at IUPUI.
  • to declare the certificate, complete the School of Liberal Arts online declaration form: https://liberalarts.iupui.edu/admissions/update-major-form.html
  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree or pursued with an IUPUI bachelor’s degree concurrently


Prior to beginning coursework, the student should have completed the following:

  • College level writing proficiency (ENG-W 131: Reading, Writing and Inquiry I or its equivalent)
  • College level speaking proficiency (COMM-R 110: Fundamentals of Speech Communication)
  • Computing proficiency (BUS-K 201 or equivalent).
  • POLS-Y 211 Introduction to Law with a grade of C or higher.
  • Minimum of 30 credit hours of General Education (including the classes listed above). General Education classes can be taken in conjunction with Paralegal Studies coursework.

Certificate Requirements:

  • POLS-Y 221: Legal Research and Writing for Paralegal Studies (3 cr.)
  • POLS-Y 222: Litigation for Paralegal Studies I (3 cr.)
  • POLS-Y 232: Professional Responsibility for Paralegals (3 cr.)

Elective Courses (18 cr.) choose six of the following, including only two on-line courses at the most, from:

(Note: POLS-Y 211 and POLS-Y 221 are prerequisites for most of these elective courses.)

  • POLS-Y 223: Litigation for Paralegal Studies II (3 cr.)
  • POLS-P 324: Property Law for Paralegal Studies (3 cr.)
  • POLS-P 325: Contract Law for Paralegal Studies (3 cr.)
  • POLS-P 326: Tort Law for Paralegal Studies (3 cr.)
  • POLS-P 327: Criminal Law for Paralegal Studies (3 cr.)
  • POLS-P 328: Family Law for Paralegal Studies (3 cr.)
  • POLS-P 329: Estate Law for Paralegal Studies (3 cr.)
  • POLS-P 330: Bankruptcy Law for Paralegal Studies (3 cr.)
  • POLS-P 431: Advanced Legal Writing for Paralegal Studies (3 cr.)
  • POLS-P 333: Business Associations for Paralegals (3 cr.)
  • POLS-Y 485: Field Experience in Paralegal Studies (3 cr.)

On-line Electives (2 courses maximum): 

  • INFO-I 330: Legal and Social Informatics of Security (3 cr.)
  • INFO-I 350: Foundations in Legal Informatics (3 cr.)
  • INFO-I 410: Electronic Discovery (3 cr.)
  • INFO-I 470: Litigation Support Systems and Courtroom Presentations (3 cr.)
  • NEWM-N 480: Technology and the Law (3 cr.)

Paralegal Studies Courses

Student Consumer Information for the Certificate in Paralegal Studies. For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at, http://apps.usss.iu.edu/disclosures/?plan=IN01.22.0302.