Paralegal Studies Course Descriptions

The following courses comprise the curriculum for the graduate certificate and the master’s degree in paralegal studies and are offered at GW’s location in Alexandria and online.


PSLX 6210: American Jurisprudence (3 credits)

This course introduces students to the foundations, theories, history, and applications of the American legal system.

Participants examine local, state, and federal courts and sources of law and survey ethics and professionalism issues of especial importance to paralegals: the unauthorized practice of law, attorney-client privilege, and competence.


PSLX 6211: Legal Research and Writing (3 credits)

The legal research portion of this course introduces students to print and online legal research tools and methods, and the rules that apply to legal research. Students identify, locate, and use local, state, federal, and international law sources including primary, secondary and tertiary sources.

In the legal writing portion of the course, students draft, edit, and present legal documents based upon their research, including memorandums, motions, and briefs.


PSLX 6212: Litigation (3 credits)

This three-part course provides the professional skills that are essential to supporting litigation. Ethical considerations in litigation and using legal technology are woven throughout the course.

Students explore the art and science of litigation, which includes all of the elements of standard civil actions; how to use technology in litigation; and examine the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, criminal procedure, juvenile procedure, and administrative procedure.


PSLX 6223: Contracts (3 credits)

This foundational course provides concrete knowledge of contract elements and attendant legal ramifications and the opportunity to engage in the deep analytical thinking necessary to make such determinations. Students will explore and develop legal reasoning skills in evaluating issues arising from contract law.


PSLX 6224: Advanced Legal Writing (3 credits)

Advanced legal writing techniques and drafting for practice. Overview of legal writing in plain English; strategies for effective writing; Emphasis on legal memoranda, legal correspondence, and preparing and drafting legal pleadings and documents for court; Refines and advances written legal analysis and legal citation.


PSLX 6225: Business Entities (3 credits)

This course addresses the topic of business entities, in addition to various related business law topics including key business entities, securities regulation, consumer protection, business regulation and compliance.


PSLX 6214: Administrative Law (3 credits)

This course will explore various aspects of administrative law including sources of law, administrative procedures, trials and hearings, and ethical considerations.


PSLX 6215: Government Contracts (3 credits)

This course surveys how government contracts are created, administered, drafted, changed and terminated and introduces students to the unique research materials and sources of government contract law.


PSLX 6226: International Law (3 credits)

This course introduces students to the system of rules and principles that govern relations among sovereign states, international organizations, the principles and sources of international law and the differences between international and national law, trade law and international litigation.


PSLX 6227: Intellectual Property Law (3 credits)

This course is an introduction to the legal structure of intellectual property practices, including trademarks, copyrights, and patents and the supporting practice concomitant to each element. Students analyze the processes, supporting documentation, laws, and rules regarding patent prosecution and litigation.

This course complements and builds upon the legal issues and analysis introduced in the courses on contracts, business entities, and litigation.


PSLX 6294: Independent Research (2 credits)

This course is a capstone to all of the legal study that precedes it. Students conduct independent research that provides significant new insight to the legal field, formulate a thesis based upon the research, and present their results in a 20- to 30-page paper and accompanying oral presentation.


PSLX 6298: Practicum (0 credits)

Students work in a real life environment on tasks that are assigned to them by actual employers, using and applying all of the skills knowledge and abilities they acquired in previous courses. Students engage in activities, including journaling, group discussions, and mock interviewing to ensure that that have an educationally significant experience that will also prepare them to enter the market with confidence and acumen.

Registration Information

All College of Professional Studies registrations are conducted via the GWeb Information System. This system will enroll you in classes and automatically generate your schedule and bill.