Admission Requirements

Master's Credential Cohort Program: Elementary Education

Department of Learning and Teaching

Application Checklist 

  • 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).
  • Three 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?
  • Score report showing a passing score on the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and a score report showing a passing score on all subtests of the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET): Multiple Subjects, or a score report showing a passing score on all subtests of the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET): Multiple Subjects and the CSET: Writing Skills subtest. A passing score is required for one-year program applicants. Two-year program applicants must show a passing score or proof of registration to take the exam at the next available test date.
  • International applicants only: official score reports for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Admissions Requirements

Standardized Testing Requirements

Education Requirements

  • 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 Master's Credential Cohort course of study and does not need to be taken prior to beginning the program.

Experience Requirements

Teaching experience is helpful, particularly for applicants to the 12-month program of study, but is not required for admission.

Interview Requirements

After an initial review of applications to the program, the most qualified candidates will be invited to USD for a group interview with the program faculty. Applicants who live outside California and surrounding states (Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Utah or Nevada) will have the option of participating in a phone interview. However, out-of-state applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the on-campus group interview, if possible.

Candidates will be interviewed in a small group with other applicants by a panel that typically consists of USD faculty, university supervisors and master teachers. The interview has three parts:

  1. An introductory question
  2. A response to two vignettes based on typical situations student teachers and new teachers encounter in the field
  3. A summary question

Candidates will have the opportunity to respond to all three parts of the interview. After the interview, the panel will meet to debrief and rate responses to the interview questions based on a specifically designed interview rubric, and make a recommendation to the department.

English Language Proficiency Requirements

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of all international applicants and may only be waived if English is the applicant’s primary language or if he or she obtained a bachelor’s degree in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada or Australia.

  • TOEFL minimum scores:
    • Internet-based test: 83
    • Computer-based test: 237
    • Paper-based test: 580
  • IELTS minimum score:
    • Band score 7

Application Process

Application Deadline

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