Preliminary Education Specialist Credential
Department of Learning and Teaching
Please note that most candidates now earn their Preliminary Education Specialist Credential concurrently with an M.Ed. in Special Education through our Master's Credential Cohort: Special Education. This program is offered in a cohort-based 2-year format and offers discounted tuition.
- The University of San Diego Graduate School Admission Application
- One official sealed transcript from all colleges and universities attended, including community colleges. Foreign transcripts must be accompanied by a Course-by-Course transcript evaluation from World Education Services (WES).
- A minimum of two professional letters of recommendation from a current supervisor or a professor attesting to both academic and personal skills, and if possible, to teaching abilities.
- A current resumé or curriculum vita
- The Statement of Purpose. Address each of the following three questions. Each response has a maximum length of 250 words, for a total maximum length of 750 words for the Statement of Purpose. When writing your response please remember that this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your writing skills and academic readiness.
- Describe your purpose for becoming a teacher. How do you hope to influence students? What do you want to contribute to the profession?
- There is much concern about issues of access, equity, and privilege in education. What do these concepts mean to you? Describe an experience you've had with these issues. How did you respond? What did you learn from the experience?
- To become effective educators, teachers need to be willing to persevere through challenges and learn from their experiences. Describe a time when you encountered a significant challenge. How did you respond to the challenge? What did you learn from the experience?
Standardized Testing Requirements
- Applicants must pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and all subtests of the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET): Multiple Subjects, or the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET): Multiple Subjects and the CSET: Writing Skills subtest prior to the start of student teaching in the program. California state law requires that all credential seeking students receive passing scores on the CBEST and CSET prior to student teaching. We strongly encourage all applicants to our program to have passed the exam requirements prior to the application deadlines. If you are unable to sit for an administration of these exams prior to applying, you are encouraged to submit proof of registration for a future test date. Some applicants may qualify to waive the CBEST requirement. Please visit this page to learn more.
- Applicants who feel that their Grade Point Averages do not adequately represent their ability to succeed in a graduate program may find it helpful to submit GRE scores for consideration. However, the GRE is not required for admission.
- Applicants must complete a bachelor’s degree prior to beginning the program. Applicants may apply prior to completing their bachelor's degree. In this case, please submit your most up-to-date transcripts, and if admitted, submit a second set of official transcripts after your degree is conferred.
- The minimum cumulative Grade Point Average is 2.75 (on a 4.00 scale) in all undergraduate and graduate coursework.
- This program does not have any specific prerequisite courses. EDUC 558XB, a prerequisite course offered by USD Professional and Continuing Education, is required by the program but is included in the credential program course of study and does not need to be taken prior to beginning the program.
- Teaching experience is helpful but is not required for admission.
- After an initial review of applications to the program, applicants may be invited to interview in-person or via video conference with the program faculty.
- International students are not eligible to apply to the credential program because they must be enrolled as degree-seeking students in order to qualify for a student visa. However, international students may be eligible for our Master's Credential Cohort Program: Special Education, in which the coursework for this credential is combined with the coursework for a master's degree. Because the Master's Credential Cohort program includes a degree in its course of study in addition to the credential, international students may be eligible to apply in enroll in the program if able to secure a Certificate of Clearance as part of their application requirements.
All application materials, including transcripts, test score reports and letters of recommendation, must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by the deadline in order for your application to be considered. View current deadlines for admission.
Application Status and Decisions
To confirm that application materials have been received or to check the status of your application, please log in to the MySanDiego portal with your applicant log-in or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (619) 260-4524. Admissions decision letters are sent via US Mail.
Submit all application materials online, or to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
University of San Diego
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
For questions about this program or the admissions requirements contact:
Office of Admissions and Outreach
School of Leadership and Education Sciences
University of San Diego
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall 149
Phone: (619) 260-7988