MA/C Program Admission Requirements

1.    3.0 GPA or above  


2.    Transcripts from all undergraduate & graduate work 

Transcripts must be submitted directly to the UCSC Online Application.  

If you have not yet completed your degree, you may submit an unofficial transcript with your application. If you have already completed your degree you may submit either an official or unofficial transcript that verifies your degree with your application.

Please note that if you are admitted to UCSC, two official, sealed transcripts will be required from your degree-granting institution: one sent directly from your college to the Graduate Application Processing Center (either with your application or after your admission; detailed instructions from the Graduate Division may be found here.), and one copy hand delivered by December 1st to the Education Department for your credentialing file.

College coursework is evaluated with attention to content and grades or narrative evaluations, as well as consideration of the appropriateness of courses taken for the credential sought. 

i.    Multiple Subject applicants:

Students should have an extensive breadth of courses in the core subject areas taught in elementary school—math, science, social science, and English.

ii.   Single Subject applicants:

Students should have an extensive body of coursework in the content area.


3.   Cultural/Linguistic Diversity

UC Santa Cruz is committed to preparing teachers to work in underserved, high-needs schools that serve low-income communities. Given this programmatic emphasis, describe how your university coursework or personal/professional experiences have addressed aspects of diversity similar to what we see in K-12 public schools. Be specific in listing relevant courses and experiences.

4. Field Experience

Document field experiences in formal or informal educational settings with youth at the same age level which you aspire to teach. Experiences such as directed observation, substitute teaching, work in after-school programs, camp counseling, school tutoring, outdoor education, instructional aide, or the equivalent are acceptable experiences. List field experiences below (include field setting and dates). You must fulfill a minimum of 30 hours in an educational setting documented by at least one letter of recommendation.

5.    3 - 5 Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required; no more than five are accepted.

Please follow these guidelines:

  1. Provide 1 or more letters (recommendation is 2) written by university faculty who can address your academic merit.
  2. Provide 1 or more letters written by a professional in the field who has observed your work with children or youth in the applicable age-group for the credential you are seeking through the UCSC Credential Program. This will serve as documentation of your field experience requirement.

**Please note that if your recommender(s) address your experience and/or coursework related to cultural and linguistic diversity, this will strengthen your application.

6.    California Basic Skills Requirement 

All admitted applicants must verify completion of the California Basic Skills Requirement by meeting one of the options A through H below. The deadline to complete this requirement: June 10th of each year (prior to official enrollment in the program). However, it is highly recommended that documentation of completion be submitted with the application. Exam registration confirmations, and/or exam score reports, or verification of meeting an alternate option for the Basic Skills Requirement must be submitted at the time of application via the online application.

  1. The California Basic Skills Test(CBEST).
  2. The California Subject Examinations for Teachers(CSET): Multiple Subjects Subtests I-III plus the CSET: Writing Skills subtest #142 (passing these tests also meets the Subject Matter Competency requirement for Multiple Subject candidates; see below).
  3. CSU EAP ('Ready' in English and Math) or CSU Placement Exams (English Placement Test (EPT) and Entry Level Math (ELM)).
  4. SAT (Taken before March 2016 Math 550, English Critical Thinking 500 - taken after March 2016 Math 570, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 560).
  5. AP English (3 or higher) and AP Calculus or AP Statistics (3 or higher). 
  6. ACT (Math 23, English 22).
  7. Coursework - courses must have been taken at a regionally-accredited college or university for credit, passed with a grade of B or better, be degree applicable, and be at least 3-semester units or 4 quarter units for more information please read below.
  8.   Coursework and Exams can be met through a combination of applicable courses and qualifying exams                                        

Contact our Credential Analyst for coursework evaluation at

For more information on these additional options please see:


Assembly Bill (AB) 130 was signed by the Governor and became effective July 9, 2021. Provisions of the bill create new options to meet the Basic Skills  and Subject Matter Requirements. The bill does not waive these requirements. 

New Basic Skills Options

Individuals may now meet the Basic Skills requirement by passage of courses in reading, writing, and mathematics as outlined below. Courses must have been taken at a regionally-accredited college or university for credit, passed with a grade of B or better, be degree applicable, and be at least 3 semester units or 4 quarter units.

  • Reading proficiency: a course in critical thinking, literature, philosophy, reading, rhetoric, or textual analysis.
  • Writing proficiency: a course in composition, English, rhetoric, written communication, or writing.
  • Mathematics proficiency: a course in algebra, geometry, mathematics, quantitative reasoning, or statistics.

In addition, you may meet the Basic Skills requirement by mixing available options. For example, a candidate who has passed the CBEST subtests in reading and writing but not mathematics may use the two passed CBEST subtests along with coursework that meets the mathematics criteria. Or, a candidate with coursework meeting the reading and writing requirements may pass the CSET math subtest. Please note that coursework applies only when a grade of B or higher was awarded and the course was taken at a regionally accredited institution of higher education. 

Detailed information for meeting the BSR can be found on the following link Basic Skills Requirement (CL-667) (

Prospective Students: Please complete a 41-BSR form to upload with your application. 


7.    Subject Matter Competency

California state law mandates that all teachers provide evidence of their subject-matter knowledge. Exam registration confirmations, exam score reports, or documentation of an approved waiver program must be submitted on the online application. Deadline to complete this requirement is June 10th of each year (prior to official enrollment in the program). However, it is highly recommended that documentation of meeting the subject matter requirement be submitted with the application. Please note that admission priority may be given to applicants who provide documentation at the time of application. Contact our Credential Analyst for coursework evaluation at

i.    Multiple Subject Applicants:

Individuals can verify subject-matter competence by passing all required subtests of the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET). Passing exam scores are valid for ten years. 

The CSET Multiple Subjects exams are comprised of three required subtests. Admitted MA/Credential applicants are required to submit passing test scores for the following:

  • CSET: Multiple Subjects - Subtest I (test code 101)
  • CSET: Multiple Subjects - Subtest II (test code 214)
  • CSET: Multiple Subjects - Subtest III (test code 103)

Additionally, Multiple Subject applicants may satisfy Subject Matter Competency via a CTC-Approved Subject Matter Program.

The deadline to submit evidence of satisfying Subject Matter Competency Requirement is June 10. However, it is highly recommended that documentation of satisfying the Subject Matter Competency Requirement be submitted at the time of application.
Please note that admission priority may be given to applicants with passing test scores at the time of application. 

ii.    Single Subject Applicants:

Individuals may verify subject-matter competence by passing all required subtests of the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) by content area. Passing exam scores are valid for ten years.

Admitted MA/Credential applicants are required to submit passing test scores for the following:

Single Subject Area Credential Type CSET Subtests Required (test code)
English English

English Subtest I (105)           

English Subtest II(106)           

English Subtest III (107)         

English Subtest IV (108)

Mathematics Mathematics  Mathematics Subtest I (211) Mathematics Subtest II (212) Mathematics Subtest III (213)
Foundational-Level Mathematics Mathematics Subtest I (211) Mathematics Subtest II (212)
Science Science: Life Science Science Subtest I (215)          Science Subtest II (217)
Science: Chemistry Science Subtest I (215)          Science Subtest II (218)
Science: Earth and Space Sciences Science Subtest I (215)          Science Subtest II (219)
Science: Physics Science Subtest I (215)          Science Subtest II (220)
Science: Foundational-Level Science Subtest I (215)
Social Science Social Science Social Science Subtest I (114)    Social Science Subtest II (115)  Social Science Subtest III (116)

Additionally, Single Subject applicants may satisfy Subject Matter Competency via a CTC-Approved Subject Matter Waiver Program

Additional Options for Meeting the Subject Matter Requirement:

California Education Code requires that all candidates for a teaching credential must demonstrate they are proficient in the subject matter area of their intended credential.  Recent action by the Governor and the Legislature on AB 130 (Chapter 44, Statutes of 2021) has expanded the ways in which candidates may demonstrate subject matter proficiency.  At this time, some aspects of the new law may be implemented while other aspects require regulatory approval by the Office of Administrative Law.  The information below describes the various options allowable by this new law.

Subject Matter Competence Options

AB 130 expands the available options to allow candidates to meet the Subject Matter Requirement by completing an academic major BA/BS MA/MS Degree in the subject area they will teach.

  • For Single Subject credentials at UCSC, current options are as follows:
    • If BA/BS is in English, Math, Social Science, or Science (Biology, Physics, Chemistry, or Geology) then YES, the student has met SUBJECT MATTER REQUIREMENT. CTC-approved degrees.
  • For Multiple Subject credentials, the major must be in liberal studies or an interdisciplinary major that includes coursework in each of these areas: language studies, literature, mathematics, science, social studies, history, the arts, physical education, and human development. CTC-approved degrees.

The current statutory language does not provide leeway for the acceptance of closely related subjects; the degree major match must be exact.

Prospective Students:  If you meet the Subject Matter requirement with your BA/BS, you will have the option to state so in your application. 


Subject Matter Requirement Coursework

Successful completion of coursework at one or more regionally accredited institutions of higher education that addresses each of the domains of the subject matter requirements adopted by the commission in the content area of the credential pursuant to Section 44282, as verified by a Commission-approved program of professional preparation.

To meet the state Subject Matter Requirement (SMR) with applicable college coursework, you will need a college course (or courses) that addresses each domain listed for each of the CSET subtests. At this time, each course that you use to meet a subject matter domain must have a grade of C- or better. 

Another option is to use a combination of coursework and CSET examination(s): some combination of coursework and examinations to meet the content for all required subtests. 

If you would like additional information about the subject matter domains, you may review the domain and drill down into domain elements on the CTC website here.  The elements provide greater insight into the domains. However, to meet the subject matter requirement, qualifying coursework does not need to address each of the listed domain elements.

Contact our Credential Analyst for coursework evaluation at


SMR Guidance Form English









SMR Guidance Form Foundational Math SMR Guidance Form Foundational Science SMR Guidance Form Social Science/History SMR Guidance Form Multiple-Subject
SMR Guidance Math SMR Guidance Form Biology 
SMR Guidance Form Chemistry 
SMR Guidance Form Earth and Space Science 
SMR Guidance Form Physics 

8.   Certificate of Clearance

In accordance with Education Code Section 44320(b), each credential candidate for an initial credential, prior to admission to any credential program, must obtain a Certificate of Clearance from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). This Certificate is a document issued by the Commission to an individual who has completed the Commission’s fingerprint character and identification process. Please note that the CTC requires either a United States issued Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for a Certificate of Clearance. The IRS issues ITINs regardless of immigration status, primarily for the purpose of federal tax reporting. Detailed instructions for obtaining a Certificate of Clearance may be found here and Form 41-LS.

A Certificate of Clearance must be submitted directly to the UCSC Online Application. Please upload a copy of your valid Certificate of Clearance or Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit into the online application. 

  1. To comply with this regulation the UCSC Education Department must have on file a copy of the Certificate of Clearance before allowing a person to begin public school fieldwork or student teaching.
  2. If you hold a valid (non-expired) Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit, you are not required to apply for another Certificate of Clearance. Please upload a copy (pdf is accepted) of your valid permit.
  3. Out-of-state/international applicants must contact the UCSC Education Department for further instructions:

Directions to obtain a Certificate of Clearance

CTC Video with step-by-step directions for applying for a Certificate of Clearance is here.

  1. Download Form 41-LS.
  2. Complete it, ensuring that you have accurate information (i.e. no typos), and then print three copies.
  3. Take the three copies of your completed 41-LS form with you to obtain your livescan fingerprints.
  4. Go to the CTC website here. Either create an account if you do not already have one, or log into your account.
  5. Go to the Educator Profile tab. At the bottom of the screen, below "Apply for a Certificate of Clearance or Activity Supervisor Clearance Certificate," "Click “Create New” to start." Submit the transaction fee of $52.65 (all online transactions are subject to a $2.65 service fee effective November 22, 2022, in addition to the $50.00 application fee) using a credit or debit card. Immediately following the successful submission of the online application, an email will be sent containing a confirmation number. This email is your receipt for your Certificate of Clearance application. 
  6. If your Certificate of Clearance does not arrive in time to upload with your application, you may upload a PDF copy of the email confirmation. 

9.   Statement of Purpose

Describe your motivation, academic preparation, and plans for your future occupation as a teacher. Include: (i) an explanation of why you want to become a teacher; (ii) how your experience has contributed to your motivation and potential to be an educational leader, and (iii) a description of your experiences with youth in formal or informal educational settings, experiences with cultural and linguistic diversity and community involvement. Discuss how your experiences and academic coursework have informed your decision to pursue a master's degree and teaching credential at UC Santa Cruz. Please include in your statement any interest or desire to work with specific populations of students or communities (e.g. low-income, English learner) and how you might contribute to social or cultural diversity within your chosen field, as this statement may be considered for possible scholarships. Recommended length is a concise 2-4 double-spaced pages. Include your name in the footer of each page of your Statement of Purpose.

10.   Personal History Statement

UC Santa Cruz is interested in a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. In an essay, discuss how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree and teaching credential. Include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey. 

The Personal History Statement should not duplicate the Statement of Purpose. Recommended length is a concise 2-5 double-spaced pages. Include your name in the footer of each page.


11.   Academic Writing Sample

A sample of your writing (no more than 10 double-spaced pages). A research-based paper is preferred, such as a paper written on an educational topic or a paper written in your content area. Alternatively, applicants may choose to submit a formal essay or to write a brief piece specifically for this application.

12.   Résumé

Include an employment history, relevant volunteer or community work, (especially in schools and/or with children), and experiences in multicultural and multilingual settings. Include information on languages (other than English) in which you have competence.

Additional Items for Bilingual Authorization Applicants:


Applicants seeking Bilingual Authorization must obtain it concurrently with a preliminary multiple subjects or single subject credential. While the state allows the Bilingual Authorization to be obtained after the candidate receives their credential, the UCSC program is a concurrent model. Applicants seeking the Bilingual Authorization also submit:

1. One to three page essay in Spanish - Submit with your application

Bilingual Program applicants will be required to submit a one to three page essay in Spanish with their application to the MA/Credential Program. The essay should address one of the following prompts: 

  1. Describa el contexto en que usted aprendió el español.
  2. Describa su historia personal y cultural con las comunidades hispanohablantes.
  3. Describa sus experiencias con la educación bilingüe.

2. CSET - Spanish Language and Culture Requirements - Complete while you are enrolled in the program, before the final summer

The CSET LOTE Subtest III (Spanish Language and Communication, CSET test code 147) and CSET LOTE Subtest V (Spanish Culture, CSET test code 258) are required, in addition to the three 2-credit classes that candidates take while enrolled in the MA/Credential Program. After admission to the program, candidates must submit verification of having passed the CSET LOTE Subtests III and V prior to completing the final quarter of the MA/Credential program. CSET LOTE is typically offered late April to early May. 

Additional testing information can be found at the CSET Registration website