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Paralegal Schools in South Dakota

This guide to paralegal schools in South Dakota contains important information about your options so that you can make an informed decision about your education. South Dakota offers a few choices of programs for students seeking a bachelor’s degree in paralegal or legal studies. Because South Dakota has relatively few paralegal programs, you might be interested in programs in nearby states such as Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, or Wyoming. As an alternative to traditional on-campus programs, you may also wish to consider online paralegal degree programs, which some students find to be a more flexible option. For more information on career opportunities available for paralegals in the state, please visit our guide to paralegal careers in South Dakota.

Quick Facts

  • There are 2 colleges and universities that offer paralegal/legal assistant degree programs in South Dakota.1
  • No schools offer a certificate program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • No schools offer an associate’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • 2 schools offer a bachelor’s degree program for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • No schools offer a master’s or advanced degree for paralegals/legal assistants.1
  • No schools ranked in Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs.2
  • 1 school ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools in 2022.3
  • No schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Legal Writing Programs in 2022.4
  • No ABA-approved paralegal degree programs are in South Dakota.5

For not-for-profit colleges and universities with paralegal/legal assistant degree programs.

Table of Contents
Comparison of Paralegal Programs
Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs in South Dakota
Select Schools in South Dakota with Paralegal Degrees

Comparison of Paralegal Programs

The table below will help you compare not-for-profit paralegal and legal studies programs in South Dakota based on various factors. The table includes the paralegal programs offered, the graduation rate for first-time bachelor’s degree seekers, and the average net price of tuition for in-state students after financial aid awards. We have also included information on approval by the American Bar Association (ABA). While ABA approval is not required in order to work as a paralegal, it is a mark of program quality that is preferred by many employers.

SchoolABA Approved?Paralegal Degree(s)Acceptance Rate6Grad Rate1Online Options?Median Debt7Net Price1
Sinte Gleska University (Mission)BA-Business Management: Legal Studies100%N.Av.N.Av.$9,010
University of South Dakota (Vermillion)BA-Legal Studies;
BS-Legal Studies;
Minor-Legal Studies
86%60%$16,512$18,480

  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Top-Ranked Schools with Paralegal Programs

US News & World Report’s Best Law Schools 2022

  • University of South Dakota (#134 tie)

Select Schools in South Dakota with Paralegal Degrees

Traditional Programs

Sinte Gleska University

Sinte Gleska University (SGU) offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Business Management with an Emphasis in Legal Studies that can help students develop the skills necessary for careers in the legal field. Graduates of the program will be awarded a Minor in Legal Studies in addition to the BA. Over four years, students will take 40 to 42 credits of general education classes, 63 credits towards the BA in Business Management, and 18 credits towards the Legal Studies emphasis and minor. The Legal Studies curriculum at SGU places particular focus on leadership in tribal government and business as well as the tribal court system with courses such as Federal Indian Law; Native American Property Rights; and Business and Leadership in Indian Country. Students will also take two courses to prepare for the Sicangu Oyate Association (SOBA) Bar Exam. Graduates of the program will be prepared to continue their education in law school or pursue careers in government, the tribal courts, or business.

University of South Dakota

The Legal Studies major at the University of South Dakota (USD) can help students prepare for legal careers or further study in law. The four-year degree can be pursued as either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). Of the 120 credit hours required to complete the program, students will take 33 credit hours of legal studies classes including required courses in legal writing, reasoning, and advocacy. In addition to the required courses, students must complete six credits of legal studies electives such as Ethics in Criminal Justice; Juvenile Justice; and Environmental Law and Policy; as well as 12 credits of electives from other departments at USD. The program culminates with the Legal Studies Capstone course, in which students will complete a research project using skills and knowledge developed throughout the program. Legal Studies students may pursue additional opportunities through an optional internship or the school’s Mock Trial Team. For students pursuing different majors, USD offers an 18-credit hour Minor in Legal Studies. A 3+3 option is also available for students interested in completing a law degree. Through this option, students can graduate with a bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor (JD) in just six years.

Start networking as soon as possible and connect with paralegals who work in the area(s) of law which interest you. Look within your network and find a mentor (or two; “one-size” does not fit all). –Mianne L. Besser, President and NFPA Secondary of the Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association.

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Paralegal411’s Top Online Paralegal Programs: https://www.paralegal411.org/degrees/bachelors/online/
3. US News & World Report Best Law Schools 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings
4. US News & World Report Best Legal Writing Programs 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/legal-writing-rankings
5. American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/
6. Niche: https://www.niche.com/
7. Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Ranking ROI of 4,500 US Colleges and Universities: https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/CollegeROI/