Admission and Enrollment FAQs

Do you require the GRE?

The GRE is only required for doctoral applicants. None of our credential or master’s degree programs require the GRE. However, please read #7, below, to see if your intended program of study has any additional testing requirements.

How early should I apply?

Apply by the priority deadline or before. Programs review applications after the priority deadlines. We will continue to accept applications on a space available basis after the deadline.

Can I submit a paper application?

No, all applications must be submitted online.

I applied to USF before but never finished the process. What do I do?

We will require a new application and fee, letters of recommendation, and personal statement. If you are applying for a doctoral program and your GRE or MAT scores are more than five years old, we will require new test scores. Depending on when you applied, we may still have your transcripts. Contact the School of Education Office of Admission and Outreach at (415) 422-5467 and we will gladly check.

I previously attended USF. Do I still have to request transcripts?

If you earned a bachelor’s or other degree from USF, we will likely have access to your transcripts. However, we may need transcripts from any outside institution(s) you attended. Please contact the School of Education Office of Admission and Outreach at (415) 422-5467 to verify if your transcripts are on file.

What is the application fee? Is it refundable? Can it be waived?

The application fee is $55. It is non-refundable however we do gladly provide application fee waivers to students for attending admission events like open houses or information sessions. Visit our events page for information on upcoming events.

What tests are required for admission?

Teaching Credential Applicants:

In addition to the general admission requirements, you must also have:

  1. Proof of Completion of one of the Basic Skills Requirements*
    • Multiple subject candidates can complete the CSET Multiple Subject exams PLUS the CSET Writing Skills exam to satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement.
  2. Proof of subject matter competency (CSET for multiple subjects candidates; CSET or a Subject Matter Competency waiver from an accredited subject matter preparation program for single subject candidates).
    • Multiple Subjects candidates are required to complete the CSET: Multiple Subjects exam (Subtests I, II, and III)
    • Single Subject candidates are required to take the CSET in the subject area in which they plan to be credentialed.
      • Single Subject English candidates: CSET English (Subtests I, II, III, and IV)
      • Single Subject Social Science candidates: CSET Social Science (Subtests I, II, and III)
      • Single Subject Mathematics candidates: CSET Mathematics (Subtests I and II are required to be eligible for admission to USF; Students should also take Subtest III if they seek to earn the full mathematics credential)
    • Single Subject Science candidates must submit the following exams taken on or prior to August 6, 2017:
      • CSET Science Subtests I and II (test codes 118 and 119)
      • CSET Science Subtest III (test codes 120-123) is only required if pursuing a concentration in a particular area of science
    • Single Subject Science candidates must submit the following exam(s) taken after August 6, 2017 must submit the following exam score reports:
      • CSET Science Subtest I (test code 215)
      • CSET Science Subtest II (test codes 217-220) only required if pursuing a concentration in a particular area of science
        • Life Sciences (test code 217)
        • Chemistry (test code 218)
        • Earth and Space Sciences (test code 219)
        • Physics (test code 220) 

Applicants to the Teacher Education Department at USF's additional locations are eligible to complete their credential in the following subject areas:

  • Multiple Subject or Single Subject (any area).

Students enrolled at the Pleasanton, Sacramento, or Santa Rosa locations:

  • Contact Sandi Fenderson (safenderson@usfca.edu) to speak specifically about what content area you are interested in pursuing and the testing requirements for that content area.

Students enrolled at the San Jose location:

  • Contact Ruchi Rangnath (rrangnath@usfca.edu) to speak specifically about what content area you are interested in pursuing and the testing requirements for that content area.

CSET scores are valid for five years from date the test was completed.

SF Teacher residency and Urban Education and Social Justice applicants can be admitted conditionally with CSET pending.

Teaching credential applicants living outside California at the time of their application should contact the department for testing requirements.

*BASIC SKILLS REQUIREMENT – CANDIDATES MUST COMPLETE THE BASIC SKILLS REQUIREMENT THROUGH ONE OF THE EIGHT AVAILABLE OPTIONS:
  1. Pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) – Individuals only need to pass the CBEST once; CBEST passing scores remain valid indefinitely for all credential purposes. To pass the CBEST, one must obtain a minimum score of 41 in each of the three sections—reading, writing, and mathematics. However, a score as low as 37 on an individual section is acceptable if the total score is at least 123. Any or all sections of the CBEST can be repeated as many times as necessary to obtain a passing score.
  2. Pass the CSET: Multiple Subjects plus the CSET: Writing Skills Examination – Passing the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET): Multiple Subjects examination in combination with the CSET: Writing Skills examination meets the basic skills requirement. Passing exam scores on the CSET: Multiple Subjects examination used only for purposes of meeting the basic skills requirement remain valid indefinitely. The CSET: Writing Skills may not be used alone and must always be used in combination with the CSET: Multiple Subjects examination.
  3. Demonstrate proficiency on the California State University (CSU) Early Assessment Program Demonstrating proficiency on the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) (English and Mathematics sections) is sufficient to meet the basic skills requirement. For use of the EAP, individuals must achieve a score of “College Ready” or “Exempt” for both math and English.
  4. Demonstrate proficiency on the California State University (CSU) Placement Examinations – Demonstrating proficiency on the CSU Placement Examinations (English Placement Test [EPT] and Entry Level Mathematics [ELM]) is sufficient to meet the basic skills requirement. For use of the EPT, individuals must achieve a score of 151. For use of the ELM, individuals must achieve a score of 50.
  5. Pass a Basic Skills Examination from Another State – The Commission will accept basic skills examinations from other states. There is no recency requirement for the date the examination was passed. The list of Basic Skills examinations from other states accepted by the Commission can be found on the CTC website
  6. Achieve the minimum acceptable scores on the College Board SAT examination – Individuals who achieve a score of at least 500 on the SAT Critical Reading exam and a score of at least 550 on the SAT mathematics exam are determined to have met the basic skills requirement.
  7. Achieve the minimum acceptable scores on the ACT examination  Individuals who achieve a score of at least 22 on the ACT English exam and a score of at least 23 on the ACT mathematics exam are determined to have met the basic skills requirement.
  8. Achieve the minimum acceptable scores on selected College Board Advanced Placement (AP) examinations – Individuals who achieve:
    •  A score of 3 or higher on the College Board AP English exam
    •  A score of 3 or higher on the AP Calculus exam or AP Statistics exam, are determined to have met the basic skills requirement.

See full details on CTC website.
Copies of passing scores can be accepted until official scores are submitted.

How important are my test scores and grades? What are you looking for?

In our admission process we carefully consider everything you submit. Grades and test scores are important, but we also learn about you through your letters of recommendation and personal statement. Please view these documents as opportunities to share your academic and professional goals, to discuss your reasons for selecting our program, and to highlight work/volunteer/personal experiences that will help you succeed as a graduate student.

I see there is a minimum GPA required for admission. What if my GPA is lower?

Typically, we look for master’s degree candidates with a GPA of 2.75 or higher and doctoral candidates with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. If your GPA falls below these numbers, talk to us before you apply.

Once I apply, when will I find out if I am admitted?

Programs review applications after the priority deadlines. We will continue to accept applications on a space available basis. In most cases an application will be reviewed and a letter will be sent within four to six weeks of the application being complete. A complete application means that ALL required materials are on file with the School of Education, including all letters of recommendation, transcripts, and test scores. You may call the School of Education Office of Admission and Outreach at (415) 422-5467 if you have specific questions about this process.

If I am admitted, how do I let you know that I plan to enroll?

Admitted students must submit a $250 tuition deposit to hold a place in our programs. The deposit is non-refundable and will be applied toward your first semester’s tuition.

If I am admitted, when do I register for classes? When do I pay tuition?

Students register for classes online prior to attending orientation. All new students participate in a mandatory orientation program prior to their first semester of enrollment. Additional information about new student orientation and registration will be sent to you after you are admitted. In the first semester, tuition is due shortly after you register for classes. Thereafter, you will follow general payment deadlines set by the university.

Can I defer my admission to a different semester?

Yes. Most admission decisions can be deferred for one semester or a full year. Programs that only admit once per year will only allow you to defer to the following year.

Can I transfer credits to USF from another MA or doctoral program?

Transfer credit is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Courses must not have been used to earn a previous degree. Transfer credit is limited to 6 semester units for master’s students and 12 semester units for doctoral students. In the School of Education, General Education core requirements may not be satisfied by transfer credits. Please contact the School of Education Office of Admission and Outreach at (415) 422-5467 if you have specific questions about transfer credits.

Can I keep my full-time job while attending school?

All School of Education courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening, and/or on alternating weekends. Most students find they can maintain a full time job while earning their credential, master’s or doctoral degree. However, if your program requires you to spend time in a classroom (i.e. student teaching) or to complete a fieldwork or traineeship experience, such commitments will interfere with a normal workday. Please consult your intended program of study for more information.

How long will it take to earn my degree?

On average, master’s and credential programs can be completed in 2 years; doctoral programs, in 3 to 5 years.

How many courses do I need to take each semester?

This varies by program, but most students take between 2 and 4 courses (6 to 12 credits) per semester. To be considered a full time student for financial aid purposes, master’s and doctoral students must enroll in at least 6 credits per semester. Credential-only students must enroll in at least 12 credits per semester.

How can I pay for my education? Is financial aid available?

Most students apply for, and receive, some type of financial aid. You may find more information on institutional, state, and federal resources in the School of Education Financial Aid section. Also, contact the USF Office of Financial Aid online and at (415) 422-3387.

Can I apply and take the test(s) required for admission after I enroll at USF?

Most programs require that test scores are submitted before your file is reviewed and an admission decision is made. If you cannot submit test scores as part of your application packet, your file will not be reviewed until the test scores are received. Please see #7 for some exclusions to this rule.

Do you offer online courses?

No, the School of Education does not offer online programming at this time.