commonly asked questions about the english credential program 1. i want to be a middle or high school english teacher. what steps
Commonly Asked Questions about the English Credential Program
I want to be a middle or high school English teacher. What steps
should I take?
Your first step should be to read about the program on the Department
of Secondary Education website:
There are two paths into the credential program. You can either take
the CSET, which is a state-mandated standardized test designed to test
language arts competence or you can complete the Subject Matter Prep
Program (SMPP). The SMPP is a state-approved program of study that is
designed to prepare you to teach at the secondary level. If you are
complete the SMPP, you are exempt from the CSET. Everyone must take
the CBEST standardized test.
What’s the difference between the SMPP and a regular English
On your transcripts and your diploma, the degrees are exactly the
same, and the SMPP and the regular English degree are fairly closely
aligned. Below is a chart that details the differences:
Regular English Major Course Work
Course Work Common to the Regular English Major and the SMPP
SMPP English Major Course Work*
Upper Division Writing Credit: English 307 (3 units)
Electives (12 units)
(200 level and above English courses)
Language Course (3 units)
English/Linguistics 303, 305
English 300:Analysis of Literature
Survey Courses (6 units)
English 211, 212, 221, 222, CPLT 324, 325
English 316: Shakespeare
Major Author (3 units)
English 315 or 317
Period and Genre (9 units)
(see list of period and genre course)
Upper Division Writing Credit: English 302 (3 units)
1 additional survey course
English 211, 212, 221, or 222 (3 units)
1 Comparative Literature Class
CPLT 324 or 325 (3 units)
1 additional language course
English/Linguistics 303 or 305 (3 units)
English 434: Adolescent Literature
Note: It is far easier to follow the SMPP checklist than to use
this chart as a guide for course work. This chart is meant to show
how the two degrees align.
3. I want to do the SMPP, but there are English electives I want to
take? Can I take them even if they aren’t on the SMPP?
Of course! While the units won’t count toward your English degree,
they do count toward your 120 units to graduation. You are only in
college once and should follow your interests.
4.How hard is the CSET? What kinds of questions are on it?
If you google CSET, you can find information about the test and
practice questions. You are required to take all four sections of the
English/Language Arts test. Test takers are given four hours to
complete the test regardless of whether they take one section or four
sections. It is recommended that you take two sections at a time. Many
factors contribute to how difficult test-takers find the test, but it
is true that most people have to take the CSET several times. Sign up
early, study, and pay close attention to deadlines.
5. I took the CSET, but my test scores won’t be in by the application
deadline. Can I turn them in late?
Unfortunately, no. Because of the low pass rates, we require that you
have passing scores on all four sections of the CSET at time of
I noticed there is some non-English coursework on the SMPP. Why?
You are required to take a designated communications and theater
course as well as education prerequisites (EDSC 304, 310) to complete
SMPP requirements. While those classes don’t count toward your English
degree, they do count toward SMPP certification.
The secondary education website lists several prerequisite
credential courses that aren’t on the SMPP. Do I have to take
those? Do I have to take them before I start the credential
program or can I do it while I am in the program?
There is a series of secondary education prerequisites that you must
take before you start the program: EDSC 304, 310, 320, 330, and 340.
You can take EDSC 410 before you start the program (recommended) or
your first semester in the program. That said, we do give conditional
acceptances to candidates who can complete the prerequisites before
their start date. In other words, if you applied for the Fall program
and intended to take the prerequisites in the summer, we will admit
you conditionally. Similarly, if you applied for the Spring, you can
take the prerequisites during intersession. All prerequisites must be
completed before you can start the program.
When do I apply to the credential program?
You apply the semester before you want to start the program. If you
want to start in the Spring, your apply in the Fall, and if you want
to start in the Fall, you apply in the Spring. Check the secondary
education website for application deadlines and details on how to
What is the credential program like?
You can find a detailed description of the credential program on the
secondary education website (see above). It is a one-year program (it
cannot be shortened or lengthened) and includes student-teaching at a
local public school. The program is intense, and we strongly
discourage students from working while in it.
I have additional questions. Who do I contact?
If you have application questions, contact Dr. Kristen Shand, Director
of Admissions at [email protected] If you have questions that are
specific to an English credential, contact Dr. April Brannon at