Quantcast
Loading images.Court RoomstudentCenterParalegalcomputer educationSenator Visits Campus

Paralegal Studies Program Course Curriculum

The B.A./B.S. in paralegal studies is career-specific because it is designed to prepare people to work in support of attorneys. The program stresses the fundamentals of legal research, family law, probate, civil procedure, business organizations, law office management, real estate law, and constitutional law.

The paralegal studies program provides a broadly-based liberal arts and specialized education for paralegals/legal assistants.  Program graduates will be qualified to work under the supervision of an attorney.  The program does not train lawyers or legal administrators.  Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

(Courses in the Paralegal Studies Emphasis are designated PS-R= required paralegal specialty course; PS-E= elective paralegal specialty course; N-PS= not a paralegal specialty course as taught in the program.)

Required Courses:

  • PSCI 2301– Principles of United States and Texas Government (N-PS)
  • PSCI 2302– United States and Texas Government: Institutions and Policy (N-PS)
  • PSCI 222 – Introduction to Law  (PS-R)
  • PSCI 223 – Legal Research (PS-R)
  • PSCI 310 – Law Office Management (PS-R)
  • PSCI 322 – Civil Procedure (PS-R)
  • PSCI 426 – Paralegal Internship (PS-R)
  • PSCI 427 – Torts and Personal Injury Law (PS-R)

In addition to the required courses above, students must complete at least 5 elective courses or 15 semester hours from the following list.  At least four elective courses or 12 semester hours must be designated PS-E.  (Second Majors:  Students choosing the paralegal studies emphasis as a second major must complete at least 3 elective courses or 9 semester hours from the following list.  At least two elective courses or 6 semester hours must be designated PS-E.)

Elective Courses:

  • PSCI 312 – Bankruptcy for Paralegals (PS-E)
  • PSCI 321 – Probate (PS-E)
  • PSCI 323 – Business Law for Paralegals (PS-E)
  • PSCI 324 – Criminal Law and Procedure (PS-E)
  • PSCI 325 – Family Law (PS-E)
  • PSCI 328 – Real Estate Law for Paralegals (PS-E)
  • PSCI 422 – Trial and Appellate Litigation and Procedure (PS-E)
  • PSCI 442 – Constitutional Law (N-PS)
  • PSCI 443 – Civil Liberties and Civil Rights (N-PS)

PSCI 222 – INTRODUCTION TO CAPS
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course provides and overview of the law and the legal system.  Topics include basic legal concepts and terminology in various areas of law; structure, jurisdictions, functions, practices, and political impact of the judicial system at the local, state, and national levels; current issues in law; and ethical obligations of the paralegal.  Prerequisite: PSCI 211 or 212 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 223 – LEGAL RESEARCH
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course is designed to aid the beginning student in acquiring and enhancing legal research skills.  Topics covered include the techniques of legal research and writing, sources of the law and how each can be found; case analysis, legal citation, and legal bibliography; and ethical obligations of the paralegal in legal research.  Prerequisite: PSCI 222 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 310 – LAW OFFICE MANAGEMENT
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course is designed to acquaint the paralegal student with the fundamentals of law office management and organization.  Topics include the organization and utilization of support personnel, time and billing systems, budgets, case and file management, calendaring and docket control, accounting systems, marketing, legal computer applications, ethical obligations of the paralegal in a law office, and career opportunities for paralegals.  Prerequisite: PSCI 222 and 223 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 312 – BANKRUPTCY FOR PARALEGALS
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course introduces the student to bankruptcy law with emphasis on the paralegal’s role.  Topics include individual and business liquidation and reorganization, debtor’s and creditor’s rights, litigation proceedings in bankruptcy court, legal concepts and terminology relating to bankruptcy law, ethical considerations for paralegals working in this area, and current computer applications utilized in bankruptcy practice.  Prerequisite: PSCI 222 and 223 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 321 – PROBATE
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course provides the student with a basic understanding of the Texas Probate Code and forms of administration of decedent’s estates and guardianship.  Topics include preparation of probate and litigation documents, inventories, claims against estates, annual and final accountings, introduction to will contest proceedings, county and district court filings, and ethical obligations and professional responsibilities of the paralegals working in this area.  Prerequisite: PSCI 222 and 223 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 322 – CIVIL PROCEDURE
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course focuses on the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure while also giving students experience in the aspects of civil litigation in which a paralegal would be involved before trial.  The student is introduced to rules regarding commencement of suits, citation, and pre-trial proceedings.  The course also has a practical element requiring students to draft a petition, draft all types of discovery, and summarize a deposition.  Prerequisite: PSCI 222 and 223 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 323 – BUSINESS LAW FOR PARALEGALS
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course provides the paralegal student with a basic and thorough understanding of laws governing the creation and operation of businesses.  Topics covered include the formation of business entities (including sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and other business structures), corporate filings, minute book preparation, ethical obligations of the paralegal working in this field, and computer applications being utilized in corporate law practice.  Practical skills are emphasized through assigned drafting and formation projects.  Prerequisite: PSCI 222 and 223 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 324 – CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course presents the Texas Penal Code and Texas Rules of Criminal Procedure.  Topics include review of the criminal justice system, stages in criminal prosecution, investigation procedures, legal rights of the accused; document preparation, ethical obligations of the paralegal working in criminal law practice, and the application of computer application in criminal proceedings.  Prerequisite: PSCI 222 and 223 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 325 – FAMILY LAW
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course is structured around the study of the Texas Family Code, including the principles of divorce, annulment, and suit to declare marriages void, with an overview of child custody and property division.  Students are exposed through practical assignments to the legal aspects of marriage/other relationships, duties and liabilities of husband/wife/children, child custody and support, adoption, guardianship, public records research, and the paralegal’s role in alternative dispute resolution/mediation processes.  Additional topics covered include ethical obligations, family law terminology, and application of electronic resources in family law practice.  Prerequisite: PSCI 222 and 223 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 328 – REAL ESTATE LAW FOR PARALEGALS
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course focuses on legal principles governing real estate transactions, with particular attention to sales contracts, deeds, mortgages, title insurance, and Texas community property and homestead laws.  Emphasis is on the practical skills needed by paralegals to perform all types of real estate transactions, ethical considerations for a paralegal working in this area, and emerging computer applications and resources in real estate practice.  Prerequisite: PSCI 222 and 223 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 422 – TRIAL AND APPELLATE LITIGATION AND PROCEDURE
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course focuses on the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure pertaining to trials while also giving some introduction to rules pertaining to appeals.  From a practical side, the course exposes students to the role of the paralegal in preparing cases for trial, including developing a trial notebook and all its components (depositions, summaries, designation of experts, witness list, exhibit lists, objection to exhibits/witnesses, and trial testimony).  Topics also include the role of alternative dispute resolution processes in civil litigation proceedings and ethical considerations for the paralegal.  Prerequisite: PSCI 322 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 426 – PARALEGAL INTERNSHIP
Semester Hours: Three

  • Basic internship for paralegals who lack experience in the legal field.  Corse integrates practical experience with the student’s academic program through supervised work in an appropriate legal environment.  Prerequisite: completion of at least 18 semester hours of paralegal specialty coursework or consent of the program director.

Note: requires a minimum of 160 working hours.

PSCI 427 – TORTS AND PERSONAL INJURY LAW
Semester Hours: Three

  • This course focuses on the fundamental common law and statutory concepts of tort law, with emphasis on the paralegal’s role.  Topics include intentional torts, negligence, strict liability, products liability, medical malpractice, special tort actions, including mass torts, immunities, and commonly employed defenses, and paralegal ethics.  The course has a practical element requiring students to draft documents, such as a petition and motion for summary judgment, in addition to briefing cases.  Students will become familiar with computer applications used in a torts practice.  Prerequisite: PSCI 222 and 223 or consent of the program director.

PSCI 442 – CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND JUDICIAL PROCESS
Semester Hours: Three

  • Introduction to constitutional law and judicial process in the United States, combining study of legal doctrines from U.S. Supreme Court’s major decisions with materials in the methodology of judicial process.

PSCI 443 – CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES
Semester Hours: Three

  • The study of citizen procedural and substantive rights as developed from the U.S. Bill of Rights and the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.

formatting image