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Single Subject Credential in Mathematics

7-12th Grade Teaching

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 (check the SSCP website).

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

Demonstrating Subject Matter Competence

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) provides two options for demonstrating subject matter competence:

"Candidates for the Single Subject Credential have two options available for satisfying this requirement. They can either complete a Commission-approved subject matter preparation program or they can pass the appropriate Commission-adopted subject matter examination(s) (Education Code Sections 44280 and 44310)."

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.

SMC Option I: SMPP


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

There are alternative means of demonstrating SMC; contact the Single Subject Mathematics Credential Advisor for specific academic advisement. 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.

If you are a CSULB student who has a major other than the B.S. in Mathematics - Option in Mathematics Education, you may complete all of the required MATH, MTED, and STAT courses to demonstrate SMC. The same GPA and grade requirements apply.

Additional information can be found in CSULB Catalog: Bachelor of Science in Mathematics - Option in Mathematics Education.

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.

Equivalent of CSULB's SMPP

You may be eligible for a Subject Matter Waiver if you have completed coursework equivalent to the CSULB's SMPP coursework at a non-CSU, non CTC-approved SMPP. It is recommended that you contact the Single Subject Mathematics Credential Advisor before beginning the process.

Briefly, to qualify for the Subject Matter Waiver, you must:

  1. Complete coursework equivalent to the MATH, MTED, and STAT coursework listed in the Bachelor of Science in Mathematics - Option in Mathematics Education, including the elective requirement. If you fall short by a few courses, one option is to complete that coursework at CSULB.
  2. Complete those courses with a 2.75 GPA or higher, and no grade lower than a C.

The Single Subject Mathematics Credential Advisor will check the alignment of your coursework with the coursework required by the CSULB SMPP by completing a transcript review. For the transcript review, please bring, in addition to transcripts, all the documentation possible on the courses you have taken: course syllabi, exams, notes, and catalog description of the course (from your university).


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)

Another Option: SMA

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.