Subject Matter Program Standards

Teacher candidates in California are required to demonstrate competence in the subject matter they will be authorized to teach. Candidates for the Multiple Subject and 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). Because they satisfy the same requirement, these two options are to be as aligned and congruent as possible.

In California, subject matter preparation programs for prospective teachers are not the same as undergraduate degree programs. The Commission sets standards for academic programs that lead to the issuance of credentials. An applicant for a teaching credential must have earned a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, but the degree may be in a subject other than the one to appear on the credential. Similarly, degree programs for undergraduate students may or may not fulfill the Commission's standards for subject matter preparation. Completing an approved subject matter program satisfies the subject matter competency requirement.

Elementary Subject Matter (Multiple Subject-Elementary)

The Elementary Subject Matter (ESM) program handbook includes directions for submitting a new ESM program proposal, the preconditions, program standards (adopted 2016), and subject matter requirements.

Elementary Subject Matter Program Handbook (2016)PDF

Alignment Matrix (updated July 2016 to align with the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards)MS Word

Single Subject Matter (Single Subject-Secondary)

The Single Subject Matter (SSM) handbook includes directions for submitting a new SSM program proposal, program specific preconditions, program standards, program specific alignment matrices, and links to the subject matter requirements.

Single Subject Matter Program Handbook (2020) PDF        Word Doc

Alignment Matrices for Single Subject Content
AgricultureAlignment Matrix
ArtAlignment Matrix 
BusinessAlignment Matrix 
DanceAlignment Matrix
EnglishAlignment Matrix
Industrial and Technology EducationAlignment Matrix 
Health ScienceAlignment Matrix
Home EconomicsAlignment Matrix
Foundational-Level MathematicsAlignment Matrix
MathematicsAlignment Matrix
MusicAlignment Matrix
Physical EducationAlignment Matrix
Foundational-Level General ScienceAlignment Matrix
Biology (Life Science)Alignment Matrix
ChemistryAlignment Matrix
GeosciencesAlignment Matrix
PhysicsAlignment Matrix
Social ScienceAlignment Matrix
Theatre Alignment Matrix
World LanguagesAlignment Matrix
World Languages: American Sign Language Alignment Matrix
World Languages: English Language Development Alignment Matrix

California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET)

The Commission-approved subject-matter examinations that verify subject-matter competence for Multiple Subject and Single Subject Teaching Credentials are the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), administered by Evaluation Systems.  

Each examination consists of subtests that cover specific domains of subject matter, and each subtest includes multiple-choice and/or constructed-response test items. For details regarding test administration visit the examinations website.

Updated January 05, 2023