Subject Matter Competence Certification

To obtain a California Single Subject Credential in social science, it is necessary that you be certified as "subject matter competent" in social science. Some institutions require certification before admitting applicants to their credential programs; others do not make it clear that certification is required until candidates are ready to begin their student teaching. In either case, though, if you are not certified as subject matter competent in a discipline, you will not be awarded a credential in that discipline. Subject matter competence can be established in two ways: [1] it can be granted by CTC-approved colleges and universities; [2] it can also be attained through state-sanctioned standardized tests.

Method 1: Subject Matter Competence Certification by Approved Institutions

(A) CSU, Chico students completing the History Department's Social Science Credential Option. Certification of subject matter competence in social science may be obtained through satisfactory completion of HIST 495. HIST 495 should be taken in the semester in which you intend to graduate. In order to prepare your portfolio for this course, you should keep copies of all work submitted in your history and social science classes, and retain the graded originals once they are returned to you. A student whose grade in HIST 495 falls below the threshold for certification of competence may still establish subject matter competence through testing. See "Method 2," below.

(B) Those with degrees from other institutions. If your degree in history or social science is from a college or university with a CTC-approved subject matter preparation program in social science, you should seek subject matter competence certification from your degree-granting institution. This insures that no credential program can require additional course work in your subject matter. To see whether your college or university has an approved program, check the CTC's list of approved institutions. Each CTC-approved subject matter preparation program has a very specific agreement with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing detailing the courses required for certification of subject matter competence. If you did your undergraduate work at another institution and ask the CSU, Chico History Department to certify your subject matter competence, you will be required to take additional courses unless your previous course work closely matches our program.

If you obtained your degree from another institution but wish to have your subject matter competence certified by the CSU, Chico History Department, you must download and complete the Transcript Comparison Worksheet. Use the worksheet to judge your chances of securing subject matter competence certification from CSU, Chico. You may find the ASSIST (Statewide Student Transfer Information for California) Web site useful in doing this. If you have a reasonable expectation of success, submit the following items to the credential advisor, History Department , CSU, Chico, Chico CA 95929-0735:

  • A cover letter that explains your request, and includes your name (including former names, as applicable), address, telephone number, and e-mail address;
  • The completed transcript comparison worksheet;
  • Official transcripts from each institution listed on the transcript comparison worksheet;
  • Course descriptions (from college catalogs) of each course you listed on the transcript comparison worksheet; and
  • A check for $45 made out to CSU, Chico History Department.

No application lacking any of these items will be processed.

One element of subject matter competence in history and the social sciences is the currency of one's knowledge: new information comes to light; old information is reinterpreted. The Commission on Teacher Credentialing expects those who are certified as subject matter competent to be current in the subjects they will be teaching and has therefore imposed a statute of limitations on course work that may be used to establish subject matter competence. If your course work is more than ten years old, you should pursue Method 2, below.

Method 2: Subject Matter Competence Certification by Examination

You may also establish your subject matter competence by achieving satisfactory scores on the appropriate California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). Information about the CSET can be obtained online and from the campus Testing Office, Student Service Center room 420.