MAT Credentialing Requirements

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.

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.

MAT application requirements

To apply to the MAT program, you are required to submit:

  • Proof that you have registered for the California Basic Educational Skills (CBEST) exam

  • Proof that you have registered for a California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) subtest
  • OR proof that you have satisfied the basic skills and subject matter requirements by an alternative method

While you are not required to satisfy the basic skills requirement or subject matter requirement until the end of your first fall semester in the program, we strongly encourage you to complete both requirements prior to the beginning of the program.

How to register for the CBEST and 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 is valid for one year from the date of issue.

Basic Skills Requirement

At the time of application, you are required to submit one of the following:

  1. Proof of registration for one California Basic Educational Skills (CBEST) exam
  2. Proof that you have satisfied the basic skills requirement by submitting a CBEST score or acceptable alternative.

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.

Alternative methods to satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement

There are a number of ways to satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement. You may upload one of the following in place of the test registration or passage of CBEST.

  1. Proof of an official SAT test score of 500 or higher on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section* combined with a score of 550 or higher on the SAT mathematics exam.

    *Evidence-based Reading and Writing (previously Critical Reading or Verbal) section of the College Board SAT Reasoning Test.

  2. Proof of an official ACT score of 22 or higher on the English exam combined with a score of 23 or higher on the Mathematics exam.
  3. Proof of an official College Board Advanced Placement (AP) English exam and AP Calculus or AP Statistics exam with a score of 3 or higher.
    • Math exams: AP Calculus AB • AP Calculus BC • AP Statistics
    • English exams: AP English Language and Composition • AP English Literature and Composition
  4. Pass an out-of-state basic skills equivalent exam
  5. Pass CSU early assessment program or CSU placement exam
  6. Passage of the CSET: Writing Skills examination can be added to passage of the CSET: Multiple Subjects Examination to meet the basic skills requirement.

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.

Subject Matter Requirement

At the time of application, you are required to submit one of the following:

  1. Proof of registration for one California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) subtest
  2. Proof that you have satisfied the subject matter requirement by submitting a CSET score or acceptable alternative

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

Alternative methods to satisfy the Subject Matter Requirement

As an alternative to taking the CSET, you can submit proof that you have completed a commission-approved subject matter preparation program.

Note: The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) requires credential applicants to disclose any convictions of a felony or misdemeanor. A felony or misdemeanor could impact student teaching and potential future employment opportunities.