Credentialing Requirements

Note: This page references credentialing requirements you should complete prior to beginning the MAT program. View the MAT credential checklist for a full list of all credentialing requirements that must be completed simultaneous to your completion of the program.

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program is completed in conjunction with preparation for a single subject or multiple subject preliminary California teaching credential. In order to be recommended for a teaching credential, you are required to satisfy a series of requirements established by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Prior to beginning our program, USC Rossier strongly encourages you to complete the basic skills and subject matter requirements.

Basic Skills Requirement

You are required to satisfy the basic skills requirement by the end of your first fall semester in the program. However, we strongly encourage you to complete the requirement prior to the beginning the program.

Satisfy the basic skills requirement in one of the following ways:

  • Pass California Basic Educational Skills (CBEST) exam
  • Pass California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET): multiple subject plus writing skills exam
  • Pass CSU early assessment program or CSU placement exams
  • Achieve qualifying scores on your ACT (English score of 22+ or
  • Mathematics score of 23+)
  • Achieve qualifying scores on your SAT (English score of 500+ or
  • Mathematics score of 550+)
  • Achieve qualifying score of 3+ on AP English and 3+ on either AP
  • Calculus or AP Statistics
  • Pass an out-of-state basic skills equivalent examination

If you plan to teach in another state, talk with our admissions team about alternate requirements for the state in which you plan to teach.

About the CBEST

The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is a California state-required exam for teacher candidates in a teacher preparation program. This exam is used as evidence that the teacher candidate has basic skills in reading, mathematics and writing. The exam consists of multiple choice questions and essay writing. The three subtests can be taken at the same time or individually. All three subtests must be passed before registering for any student teaching courses.

Subject Matter Requirement

To complete an application to USC Rossier, you are required to show proof of registration for one CSET subtest OR proof that you have satisfied the subject matter requirement by submitting a CSET score or acceptable alternative.  While you are not required to satisfy the subject matter requirement until the end of your first fall semester in the program, we strongly encourage you to complete the requirement prior to the beginning of the program.

Satisfy the subject matter requirement in one of the following ways:

*CSET exam scores must be no more than ten years old.

About the CSET

The California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) is an exam required by the state of California for preliminary teaching credential candidates. This exam is used as evidence that the teacher candidate has subject-matter knowledge in the credential they are seeking. Most CSET exams consist of three subtests. Two notable exceptions are science, with two subtests, and English with four subtests. All subtests can be taken at the same time or individually.

How to register for the CSET

  1. Visit the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing website
  2. Click “Register now”
  3. Click “Create an account now”
  4. Fill out of your account information
  5. Select the program (CBEST or CSET) you wish to register and click “next”
  6. Select the subtest(s) you would like to take and click “next”
  7. Indicate if you will need alternative testing arrangements
  8. Confirm the tests in which you are registering for and click “next”
  9. Select the University of Southern California from the dropdown of private institutions to receive your test results and click “add” and then “next”
  10. Indicate if you want your test results to be emailed to you as a PDF attachment and click “next”
  11. Complete the background questions
  12. Review your registration and click “add to cart”
  13. Confirm cart and click “check out”
  14. Read the California Educator Credentialing Examinations agreement and click the “I acknowledge” text and click “next”
  15. Input your payment method and click “next”

Please note:  your registration for the CSET is valid for one year from the date of issue.

Credentialing Exam Support

USC Rossier provides several resources to support you in becoming a credentialed teacher. To assist you in preparing for credentialing exams, we have partnered with Teachers Test Prep to offer complimentary CSET test prep services to admitted students.

To assist with the cost of credentialing exams (typically $400-$500 depending on the exams and the number of subject-specific subtests required), students who enroll in MAT program in fall 2019 are eligible for a $400 scholarship to help offset the cost of credentialing exam fees. This award is automatically applied to your student account before the start of the semester.