Subject Matter Preparation Program Approval Process

*The Initial Program Review process can take 6-12 months, or more, to complete depending on various factors including, but not limited to, availability of reviewers and the Commission’s scheduled meetings.

Subject Matter Program standards address the California requirement for teachers to demonstrate competency in the subject matter they will be authorized to teach. These programs of higher education may be associated with degrees or majors in the subjects; however, the Commission does not govern degree programs and these programs do not lead to a credential or certificate on their own.

A new subject matter preparation program seeking Initial Program Approval is reviewed by qualified volunteers, who have participated in activities to ensure a calibrated understanding of the subject matter program standards. If the reviewers have questions, or need additional information, staff will contact the program sponsor for more information.

Once the review process is complete the Commission must give final approval at a regularly scheduled public meeting before the program may begin operation.

Initial Program Approval is accomplished by submitting program documentation for the Initial Program Review (IPR) process.

Effective October 1, 2020, all Initial Program Review (IPR) for subject matter submissions must be submitted on a website. The Professional Services Division will no longer accept IPR submissions as Word or PDF documents. The submission must be accessible through a website—simply uploading a Word or PDF document to a website will not be accepted. Contact subject matter staff at prior to preparation of a subject matter program. 

Steps to follow when submitting a program proposal

  1. Intent to Submit - Complete the Intent to Submit form for subject matter programs.
  2. Submit signed Institutional Verification form. 
  3. Contact subject matter program staff prior to preparation of submission.

The components that must be submitted include:

a. Alignment to subject matter preconditions - Located within the specific subject matter program handbook.

b. Course scope and sequence

c. Response to Single Subject Matter (SSM) program standards as listed below-

Standard 1: Program Design
Subject matter programs are based on an explicit statement expressing the purpose, design, and expected outcomes of the program. The program curriculum builds on the K-12 State-adopted academic content standards, with student outcomes and assessments aligned to the subject matter requirements. The program provides prospective teachers with conceptual knowledge of the subject matter, develops academic literacy and discipline-based fluency, addresses issues of equity and diversity, and exposes prospective teachers to a variety of learning experiences appropriate for the discipline. 

Standard 2: Program resources and Support
The program sponsor allocates resources to support effective program coordination, which includes advising students, facilitating collaboration among stakeholders, and overseeing program review. Ongoing review processes use assessments of the prospective teachers and a variety of data such as input from stakeholders and other appropriate measurements for review and evaluation of the subject matter program.

d. Alignment Matrix - Download the matrix for the proposed subject matter program.

If you have any questions, please contact the Commission at

Review and Approval Process

After the program proposal is submitted, Commission staff will identify qualified volunteer readers who will review the program submission and supporting documentation.  

The review process can be quite lengthy, especially for subject matter programs as the review process depends entirely on the participation of experts from the field. The typical time for programs to go through review and be approved can take at least 6-12 months. The Commission asks that each institution identify one faculty member for each proposed program to participate in the review of an IPR submission  to keep the review process moving as quickly as possible. It is highly recommended that institutions volunteer to read a document prior to submission of their own proposal in order to gain the most in-depth understanding of the entire IPR process.  

Once the review process is completed, formal action will be taken by the Commission at their next scheduled meeting (Commission meeting schedule).  

Contact Information

All correspondence and document submissions must be emailed to To ensure that submissions and questions are received, please use the above email instead of individual staff email accounts. Questions related to specific programs will be routed to the appropriate staff.  

Updated May 03, 2024