Single Subject Credential in Mathematics

A single subject mathematics credential authorizes the holder to teach the mathematics in departmentalized schools (generally, this means middle and high schools). You can obtain either a Mathematics Credential or Foundational-Level Mathematics Credential through CSULB's Single Subject Credential Program (SSCP). If you are interested in obtaining a Single Subject Credential at CSULB, it is strongly recommended that you attend an SSCP Information Meeting.

Single Subject Mathematics Credential Advisor

Dr. Brian Katz
Office: FO3-107
Phone: 562.985.2055

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled an extensive FAQ, covering requirements, financial aid, subject matter competence, and much more.

View FAQ

Demonstrating Subject Matter Competence

In order to obtain a Single Subject Credential in mathematics, you will need to demonstrate Subject Matter Competence (SMC).

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) provides four options for demonstrating subject matter competence. Candidates for the Single Subject Credential can:

  1. complete a Commission-approved subject matter preparation program (SMPP),
  2. pass the appropriate Commission-adopted subject matter examinations (CSETs),
  3. hold an appropriately-named degree in Mathematics or Statistics (degree), or
  4. request a transcript evaluation to waive individual CSETs (transcripts).

See the expandable items below for more detail about each of these options. It is recommended to demonstrate SMC through coursework because this will support you as a future teacher; this path requires planning and time because many courses have prerequisites.

Deadline for Demonstrating Subject Matter Competence

You may apply to the SSCP before demonstrating subject matter competence. Before applying to student teach, you must either (1) demonstrate SMC, OR (2) be in your final semester of coursework for a Subject Matter Preparation Program. Please be aware of the student teaching application deadlines; they are firm deadlines.


Subject Matter Competence (SMC) for the Single Subject Teaching Credential may be demonstrated by completion of the Bachelor of Science in Mathematics - Option in Mathematics Education at CSULB with:

  1. a 2.75 GPA or higher in required MATH, MTED, and STAT courses
  2. no grade lower than a C in those courses

Note that the above demonstration of subject matter competence is required for a Teaching Credential, but is not a requirement of the B.S. degree.

Additional information can be found in B.S. in Mathematics, Mathematics Education option - CSULB Catalog (23-24).

SMPP at another California College/University

If you completed a CTC-Approved Subject-Matter Preparation Program for mathematics, then you need to obtain verification of completion from the authorized person in the education department of that college/university. The CTC maintains a list of Commission-Approved Subject Matter Preparation Programs.

The California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) is "the appropriate Commission-adopted subject matter examination(s)" for a single subject teaching credential in mathematics or foundational-level mathematics.The CSET for mathematics has 3 subtests. Unless you are demonstrating subject matter competence through an SMPP, passing subtests I and II is required for student teaching. For more information about the test, please see California Educator Credentialing Examinations.

Effective December 2014, the three subtests cover:

  1. Algebra and Number & Quantity
  2. Geometry and Probability & Statistics
  3. Calculus

By passing subtests I and II only, you will be eligible for a Credential in Foundational-Level Mathematics (FLM) which "authorizes teaching only in limited mathematics content areas: general mathematics, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics, and consumer mathematics."

By passing all three subtests, you will be eligible for a Credential in Mathematics. This authorizes you to teach any mathematics course.

See also:

FAQ about CSET

When will I get my scores? When do I need my scores?

The CSET Test Information web page (linked above) has information under the "Test Results" heading. There is no guarantee that test scores will not be delayed. If you plan to prove SMC via the CSET exam, then you must submit official passing CSET scores to CSULB before the appropriate student teaching application deadline. You should have your scores sent directly to the university.

How long are the scores good for?

"Passing CSET scores must be used for certification purposes within ten years from the individual passing date of each exam" (source: Commission on Teacher Credentialing (PDF)). Candidates taking the CSET exam for subject matter competence must have official passing score to submit at the time of student teaching application. CSET scores may not expire during student teaching (source: SSCP Policy 10.3.1)

After California Assembly Bill 130, holding a bachelor's, master's, or PhD degree in Mathematics or Statistics can demonstrate SMC. The law is written to use the specific wording of the degree.

"At this time, the Commission will also accept applied majors in the single subject credential areas (e.g., Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics) and exact majors in one of the single subject areas that may have additional modifiers (e.g., Biology: Environmental Biology; Art: Art History; and Physical Education: Kinesiology)." (PSA 21-10 p. 3)

The CTC's interpretation of this policy is constantly evolving. If you have questions about your specific degree, contact the Single Subject Mathematics Credential Advisor.

Candidates can ask programs that have a Commission-approved subject matter preparation program (like CSULB) to evaluate their transcript for a waiver for CSETs based on coursework.

Successful waiver requests through CSULB usually involve transcripts with significant upper-division mathematics or statistics coursework for majors. A full waiver from CSULB currently requires courses equivalent to the following:

  • CSET 1: MATH 113: Precalculus Algebra; MATH 247: Linear Algebra; MATH 341: Number Theory; MATH 444 or 445: Abstract Algebra
  • CSET 2: MATH 355: College Geometry or MTED 312: Geometry & Measurement; MATH 380: Probability & Statistics; STAT 108 or STAT 381: Statistics
  • CSET 3: MATH 111: Trigonometry; MATH 122: Calculus I; MATH 123: Calculus II

Candidates can receive waivers for the three CSETs independently. However, they must have coursework that demonstrates whole CSETs; for example, a candidate with extensive statistics coursework may have equivalencies for MATH 380 and STAT 381, but if they do not have an equivalency for MATH 355 or MTED 312, then cannot earn a waiver for CSET 2.

Transcript evaluations are free for matriculated CSULB students and often happen through the advising interactions within the program; transcript evaluation requires a fee for other students.

If you have questions about transcript evaluation, contact the Single Subject Mathematics Credential Advisor. You may need to share transcripts and course catalog descriptions, and it can be productive to list the specific courses you think align with the CSETs listed above.

A Subject Matter Authorization (SMA) in Introductory Mathematics may be added to an existing Single Subject, Multiple Subject, Standard Elementary, Standard Secondary, or Special Secondary (in academic subjects only) Teaching Credential. This will authorize the holder to teach mathematics in grades 9 and below. Essentially, this requires 32 semester units of non-remedial collegiate coursework in mathematics in specific content areas. Some of your existing coursework may count.

For more information, see Adding Authorizations or Teaching Area Requirements from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

For more information about the SMA in Introductory Mathematics at CSULB, see the Credential Options for Teaching Mathematics in Middle School. Contact the Mathematics Education (ITEP & K-9th) Advisor with questions regarding SMA.