Single Subject Credential in Mathematics

A single subject mathematics credential authorizes the holder to teach the mathematics in departmentalized schools (generally, this means middle & high schools). You can obtain either a Mathematics or Foundational Level Mathematics Credential through CSULB's Single Subject Credential Program (SSCP). General questions about obtaining a Single Subject Teaching Credential at CSULB are answered on the CSULB Single Subject Credential Program (SSCP) webpage.

If you are interested in obtaining a Single Subject Credential at CSULB, it is strongly recommended that you attend a SSCP Information Meeting.

In order to obtain a Single Subject Credential in mathematics, you will need to demonstrate Subject Matter Competence (SMC). The remainder of this page describes options for and information about demonstrating SMC in mathematics.

Demonstrating Subject Matter Competence (SMC)

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

"Teacher candidates in California are required to demonstrate competence in the subject matter they will be authorized to teach. Candidates for the Single Subject Credential have two options available for satisfying this requirement. They can either complete a Commission-approved undergraduate 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 SMC

You may apply to the SSCP before demonstrating subject matter competence. You must demonstrate SMC before applying for student teaching. Please be aware of the student teaching application deadlines; they are firm deadlines.

I. SMC Option I: Subject Matter Preparation Program (SMPP)


Information about CSULB's Bachelor of Science in Mathematics - Option in Mathematics Education is available in the CSULB Catalog.

Subject Matter Competence (SMC) for the Single Subject Teaching Credential may be demonstrated by completion of the CSULB Bachelor of Science in Mathematics - Option in Mathematics Education with (1) a 2.75 GPA or higher in required MATH, MTED, and STAT courses, and (2) no grade lower than a C in those courses. There are alternative means of demonstrating subject matter competence; consult with the Single Subject Mathematics Education 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 BS degree. More information is available in the CSULB Catalog. Also see SSCP Program Policy 4.6.

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

Use this worksheet to help you calculate your MATH/MTED/STAT GPA for demonstrating Subject Matter Competence:docx or pdf.

I.B. 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.

I.C. The 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. The process for obtaining a Subject Matter Waiver is described here, but it is recommended that you talk to the Single Subject Mathematics Credential Advisor before beginning the process.

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

  1. Completed coursework equivalent to the MATH/MTED/STAT coursework listed here, including the elective requirement. If you fall short by a few courses, you may choose to complete that coursework at CSULB.
  2. Completed those courses with a 2.75 GPA or higher, and no grade lower than a C.

This GPA Worksheet may help you determine if you meet (or come close to meeting) those two requirements:docx or pdf.

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, catalog description of the course (from your university).


The CSET is "the appropriate Commission-adopted subject matter examination(s)" for a single subject teaching credential in mathematics or foundational-level mathematics.

General Information

The CSET for mathematics has 3 subtests. Unless you are demonstrating subject matter competence through a SMPP, passing subtests I and II is required for student teaching. The CTC Examination website has more information about the test.

Effective December 29, 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." (quoted from here)

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

FAQ about CSET

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

  • The CSET Test Information website 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 five years from the individual passing date of each exam." (quoted from here). 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. (SSCP Policy 9.4.1)

How can I prepare for the CSET?

III. 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. More information from the CTC is available here. Information about the SMA in Introductory Mathematics at CSULB is available here. Contact the Mathematics Education (ITEP & K-9th) Advisor with questions.

Contact Us

Information about how to reach the Single Subject Mathematics Credential Advisor is listed on the CSULB Math Advisors.


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