Pathways to Single Subject Matter Authorization
in Earth and Planetary Science (Geoscience)

California requires that secondary school teaching credential candidates demonstrate their knowledge of the subject matter that they plan to teach. (For other requirements, see "Becoming a Teacher".) Candidates can do this in any one of several ways. One way is to complete a single-subject subject-matter preparation program of coursework approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC), which prepares the candidate to teach not only the single subject but also 9th grade general science. A second way is to pass the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), administered by the state, which also allows candidates to teach both the single subject and 9th grade general science. A third way requires post-baccalaureate coursework and provides the candidate with a specialized credential to teach the single subject (but not 9th grade general science).

San Francisco State University (SFSU) offers a CCTC-approved single-subject subject-matter program in earth and planetary science (geoscience). The coursework that the program requires is listed below. Completing the program is sufficient to demonstrate subject matter competency by the state's standards, and it exempts candidates of the need to take the CSET. However, completing even portions of the coursework can help candidates prepare to pass the CSET and acquire the subject-matter knowledge needed to teach high school earth and planetary sciences and 9th grade general science.

Note that the program of coursework summarized below, although not itself a degree program, closely resembles the requirements for the B.A. program in Earth Science offered by the Department of Geosciences.

SFSU's CCTC-Approved Single Subject Preparation Program in Earth and Planetary Science

"Breadth" Reqirements (preparation to teach 9th grade general science)

"Depth" Requirements (preparation to teach grade earth and planetary science [geoscience] through 12th grade) Please contact Dave Dempsey, Professor of Meteorology for more information.

Single-Subject Subject-Matter Competency in Earth and Planetary Science (Geoscience) by Examination

To satisfy the subject matter requirement by taking the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), candidates must achieve passing scores on the relevant subtests. See the official CSET Web site, which includes test guides, internet registration, etc., at http://www.cset.nesinc.com.

Single Subject Credential in Earth and Planetary Science (Geoscience) (Specialized)

Certification by Coursework

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) recognizes a specialized and limited credential in Earth and Planetary Science (Geoscience). It is titled "Single Subject Credential in Earth and Planetary Science (Geoscience) (Specialized)." Teaching certification would be for that discipline only. That is, the candidate would not be authorized to teach 9th grade general science or 8th grade integrated science, for example.

The two subject-matter coursework options are:

  1. Completion of a post-baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited institution in the requested area, or in a closely related one.

  2. Completion of a baccalaureate degree and 30 semester-units or 45 quarter-units of postgraduate coursework in the science area requested, or in a closely related area deemed equivalent. The coursework should be taken under advisement and consist of graduate and undergraduate majors level coursework. The degree and postgraduate coursework must be from a regionally-accredited institution, and each course applicable to the science area requested shall have a grade of "B" or better, "pass," or "credit."

Finally, the CCTC has final judgment on whether the student has met subject matter competency. The transcripts and an explanatory letter requesting the review and explaining the courses chosen must be submitted to make sure that the person has met the competency requirements.

The letter and supporting materials will be submitted under University letterhead by the Single Subject Advisor to:

Commission on Teacher Credentialing
Box 944270
Sacramento CA, 94244
ATTN: SPECIALIZED SCIENCE REVIEW

(The "closely related areas and degrees" are: Earth Sciences, Astronomy, Cosmology, Geology, Meteorology, Paleontology, Oceanography, Hydrology, Physical-Geoscience, Atmospheric Science, Climatology, Conservation, Geophysics, Marine Science, Mineralogy, and Soil Science.)

Single-Subject Subject-Matter Competency in Earth and Planetary Science (Geoscience) (Specialized) by Examination

To satisfy the subject matter requirement by taking the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), candidates must achieve passing scores on the relevant subtests. See the official CSET Web site, which includes test guides, internet registration, etc., at http://www.cset.nesinc.com.

Advisor for Science Subject Matter Competency in Earth and Planetary Science (Geosciences)

Dave Dempsey, Professor of Meteorology
Room 610, Thornton Hall
Department of Geosciences
(415) 338-7716
e-mail: dempsey@sfsu.edu


Last modified 9/11/11 by Dave Dempsey (dempsey@sfsu.edu)