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).
  • 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?
  • International applicants only: official score reports for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • 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 MCC 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.  Please note, enrollment into our programs will only be granted if all required examinations are successfully passed and reportable scores are received by the deadlines indicated below.
    • If admitted to the one-year, summer start program or 18-month, spring start program be prepared to submit a copy of your official pdf score report for both CSET and CBEST by July 11, 2016 in order to begin summer classes.
    • If admitted to the two-year, fall start program be prepared to submit a copy of your official score report for both the CSET and CBEST by last day of your fall semester classes, December 12, 2016 in order to enroll in the following semester.

Admissions and Enrollment Requirements

Standardized Testing Requirements (Specific Requirements for Credentialing)

  • California Subject Matter Competence Examination Requirement
  • California Basic Educational Skills Examination Requirement
    • Pass the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) or complete the alternate basic skills requirement.
      • Pass all three sections of the CBEST (reading, mathematics, and writing). You may take one, two, or three sections at a given test administration.
    • Plan to take the CBEST examination early in the application process. Submit all passing scores to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
      • We can only accept the official pdf copy that was emailed to you.
    • For information on the CBEST, visit
    • Alternate option to meet the CA Basic Educational Skills Requirement: Pass the CSET Writing Skills Test.
      • Multiple Subject candidates may meet the basic skills requirement by passing the Writing Skills Examination on the CSET Exam, Subtest 142, in addition to the full CSET requirement.
  • 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.

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