Subject Matter Competency

Credential Program Materials

Preliminary Credential Program candidates may meet the Subject Matter Competency Requirement in two ways.

  1. Complete an undergraduate degree major that matches the credential subject area
  2. Pass CSET exams

1. Degree to Meet Subject Matter Competence

This provision allows some undergraduate degree majors to meet the subject matter competency requirement for the credential program, so the CSET exam would be waived. This is explained in full on PSA 23-04.  

Currently, for Multiple Subject applicants, if you have a degree in Liberal Studies, Liberal Arts, or Elementary Education this will waive the CSET exam.

For those applying to Single Subject, your degree must match the subject area that you plan to teach. For example, if you want to teach English, then you must have an English degree to waive the CSET exam. If you want to teach Math, then you must hold a degree in Math to waive the CSET. Even if you have taken a lot of math classes for an Engineering or Business degree, those degrees will not waive the CSET at this time.

Subject Matter Degree Programs

If you attended SDSU for your undergraduate degree:

Some undergraduate degree programs that have been approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to waive the CSET exam for the credential program. Use the information below if you think you participated in an undergraduate major that may qualify:

  • You must obtain an Advisors Recommendation form (PDF) signed by the designated advisor for the academic teaching major on this campus (see chart below), or a letter from the credentials analyst at another California institution that has an approved subject matter degree program.
  • SDSU does not provide evaluation services to individuals who graduated from other universities.
  • Faculty advisors are available during the academic year (fall/spring), but generally are not on campus during the summer session. Please refer to the list of advisors below.

The following are Single Subject advisors at SDSU who can evaluate your transcript to see if you meet the program requirements in the following areas. This list is not a listing of current programs at SDSU — *only the subjects with asterisks/ stars are approved programs.

Art Theresa Luu  Art 509 619-594-2850  [email protected]
English * Claire Colquitt   619-594-6219 [email protected]
Mathematics * Steven Klass     [email protected]
Mathematics (Foundational level) Estella Chizhik     [email protected]
Music * Karen Koner M201   [email protected] 
Biology * Kathy Williams PS 151A 619-594-4358 [email protected]
Chemistry *  Peter van der Geer   619-594-5582 [email protected]
Social Science* Brian Adams NH 122 619-594-4289 [email protected]

Liberal Studies (Multiple Subjects) students complete an application to verify completion of the subject matter competency program. You can access the application through the Liberal Studies Canvas Homeroom site.  

If you attended another school in California, other than SDSU, for your undergraduate degree:

  • You must obtain a letter from the credential analyst at your California institution that has an approved subject matter degree program which will prove you have completed the appropriate coursework.

  • Only programs that have been evaluated and approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) fulfill this requirement. SDSU cannot provide courtesy evaluations of subject matter coursework for candidates who graduated from other institutions.


University Catalog: Secondary Education, Single Subject Credential

2. California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET)

  • Go to for test dates, online registration, and more.
  • Exams may be in progress when you are applying, but scores need to be submitted as soon as possible to be eligible for admission. Scores are needed in March or early April to be considered for admission to the credential program. 
  • All subtests indicated below, for your subject area, must be passed to be eligible for admission to a 2-semester program.
  • Non-passing scores may be considered for eligibility for the 3-semester program. All CSET subtests must be passed prior to starting student teaching.
  • Subject Matter Competency Test scores are considered valid for 10 years. Teacher certification must be recommended within that time period in order for the scores to be permanent. If you do not obtain a recommendation for your teaching credential within 10 years, you must retake the appropriate subject matter competency test.
  • Special Education applicants: Most Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe SPED credential applicants complete the Multiple Subject CSET exam to prove subject matter competency. This allows you to work with disabled children in all the subject areas. If you take the Single Subject CSET (in Math or Social Science…) you would only be able to work with disabled children in that subject area.

CSET Subtests

Learn which subtest you are required to pass by teaching area.

Test Name/ Test Code
Art: Creating & Presenting (229)
Art: Responding & Connecting (230)

Test Name/Test Code
Literature & Textual Analysis;
Composition & Rhetoric (105)
Language, Linguistics & Literacy (106)
Composition & Rhetoric;
Literature & Textual Analysis (107)
Communications: Speech, Media,
& Creative Performance (108)

Test Name/Test Code
Algebra; Number Theory (211)
Geometry; Probability & Statistics (212)
Calculus; History of Mathematics (213)

Test Name/Test Code
Algebra; Number Theory (211)
Geometry; Probability & Statistics (212)

Test Name/Test Code
Reading, Language & Literature, History,
Social Science (101)
Science, Mathematics (214)
Physical Education, Human Development,
Visual & Performing Arts (225)

Test Name/Test Code
Artistic Perception, Historical and Cultural
Foundations, Aesthetic Valuing (136)
Creative Expression, Connections and
Relationships-video required (137)
Music Methodology and Repertoire (138)

Test Name/Test Code
Growth, Motor Development and Motor Learning;
Science of Human Movement (129)
Sociology and Psychology of Human Movement;
Movement Concepts and Form (130)
Professional Foundations; Integration of
Concepts (131)

Test Name/Test Code
General Science (215)
Life Science (217)

Test Name/Test Code
General Science (215)
Chemistry (218)

Test Name/Test Code
General Science (215)

Test Name/Test Code
General Science (215)
Earth & Space Science (219)

Test Name/Test Code
General Science (215)
Physics (220)

Test Name/Test Code
World History; World Geography (114)
U.S. History; U.S. Geography (115)
Civics; Economics; California History (116)

Test Name/Test Code
General Linguistics, Linguistics of Spanish (145)
Literary & Cultural Texts & Traditions; Cultural
Analysis and Comparison (146)
Language and Communication: Oral Expression,
Listening, Reading, and Written Expression (147)

Test Prep Resources

We are sharing these resources, but not endorsing any of them.

Credential Advisor Contact Information

Office for Student Success: [email protected]