Course Description

Paralegals are an essential part of the successful practice of law. The SMU CAPE Paralegal Studies Certificate is a six-month, noncredit certificate program emphasizing the practical skills essential to the legal environment. Experienced, professional instructors make learning engaging, applicable and fun.

Why Choose SMU CAPE?

  • Courses are taught by practicing professionals — attorneys and paralegals — experts with real-world experience
  • Six months start to finish
  • Evening and weekend options fit with your busy life

Who Should Attend?

  • Legal staff who want to upgrade their skills
  • Students considering law school
  • Anyone seeking knowledge of the paralegal profession

Entrance Requirements

Admission into the program requires a four-year undergraduate degree, ensuring that graduates are both qualified for employment and prepared for the level of training offered at SMU. Exceptions may be made based on experience.

Tuition and Fees

  • A $50 non-refundable application fee must be paid before submitting your completed registration form and photocopy of your undergraduate transcript.
  • The priority registration fee for students who have registered and paid by the priority registration deadline is $5,495. All textbooks and materials are included.
  • The standard registration fee after the priority deadline has passed is $5,745.
  • SMU faculty, staff, students and alumni save 10%.

Financing Options


Students may qualify for a Smart Options Continuing Education Student Loan, offered by Sallie Mae. Your Sallie Mae Loan application must be completed and approved 14 days before the first day of the program. Loan cannot exceed the cost of tuition. Contact our admissions team for details.

Payment Plans

SMU CAPE offers a flexible payment plan for selected programs. The plan allows you to make payments over a period of six months instead of paying in full at the time of registration. Select the “Payment Plan” option on the program application questionnaire to get started. Payment plans must be requested at least 14 days before the program start date. Once your program application is approved, we will contact you to set up the payment plan and collect the $1,000 non-refundable down payment and $80 processing fee. Your remaining tuition balance will be split in to six equal monthly payments with 0% interest. The first regular monthly payment will be due on the last day of the month in which the first day of class is held.


Tuition does not include the cost of textbooks.

Next Steps

  • Talk one-on-one with an advisor to answer your specific questions. Call us at 214-768-1086 or email us smupro@smu.edu
  • Complete and submit the application online.
  • SMU will confirm your acceptance and facilitate your payment.

Course Outline

The certificate program is divided into seven courses for a total of over 125 contact hours. In these interactive, engaging classes, you will learn from experts in the classroom setting, collaborate with your peers and receive instruction on résumé writing and interviewing skills.

  • Introduction to Law: Learn about the sources of law in the United States, the court system and the basics of attorney/paralegal ethics
  • Tort and Personal Injury Law: Torts are civil wrongs that do not arise from a contractual relationship. Learn the differences between negligence, intentional torts and strict liability.
  • Legal Research and Writing: Gain the essential skills of analysis and write basic legal documents using the online Westlaw database. Understand proper Bluebook and Greenbook citation formats and how to draft a legal memorandum.
  • Civil Litigation: Understand the role of the paralegal in preparing for and conducting civil litigation. Draft a petition, discovery documents and a deposition summary.
  • Legal Technology: Learn to navigate the processes for state and federal court electronic filings. Research a case in state and federal court through online court docket systems, review technologies utilized in legal practice and master the fundamentals of electronic discovery.
  • Contract Law: Review the basic requirements of contract formation and the role of paralegals in drafting simple contracts. Written assignments include drafting of contractual provisions.
  • Survey of LawOverview fundamental principles of bankruptcy, real and intellectual property, business organizations and corporate law, employment law, family law, and wills and trusts. Additionally, Career Preparation sessions overview the legal workplace, resume writing, and more.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates



Paralegal Studies

Please click "Apply Now" to begin your application. You will be required to log in or create an account if you do not already have one.

If you need any further assistance, contact the SMU PRO office at 214-768-2273.

Enroll Now - Select a Section
Section Title
Paralegal Studies Certificate Program: August 2021
9:00AM to 4:00PM
Aug 21, 2021 to Mar 05, 2022
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Reading List / Textbook
  • Personal Injury and the Law of Torts for Paralegals (any edition) 
    ISBN: 978-1-4548-3878-4 

  • The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (20th edition) 
    ISBN: 978-0-692-40019-7 

  • The Greenbook: Texas Rules of Forms (14th edition, 2010) 
    ISBN: 978-1878-674-104 

  • Basic Contract Law for Paralegals (any edition) 
    ISBN: 978-1-4548-5555-2 

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