Department of Mathematics       

California State University, Northridge



   TO: CSUN Undergraduate Students Interested in Secondary Mathematics Teaching

   FROM:  Advisors for Mathematics Major in Secondary Teaching

   SUBJECT: The Mathematics Major, Secondary Teaching Option (Fall 2008 or later) & Credential Academic   




See your advisor in the Department of Mathematics as soon as possible to discuss your career goals and the possible paths to achievement.  Your advisor will assist you during your time at Cal State Northridge.  You must meet with your advisor at least once each semester to discuss your schedule and to obtain clearance to register for the next semester.


To obtain a Single Subject Credential to teach in a middle school, junior high or high school, you must demonstrate competency and knowledge in mathematics.  There are two ways to do this.  One is to complete a State-approved Academic Program of collegiate study in mathematics.  The B.A. in Mathematics, Secondary Teaching Option, contains all requirements of the Academic Program.  If you complete the degree with certain grade requirements you will not have to take an exam.  This major is described below.


Another way to demonstrate mathematics competency is to earn passing scores on all three sections of the Mathematics Examination of the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers) administered by the NES (National Evaluation Services).  Subject matter clearance for a Foundational Mathematics Credential can be obtained by passing parts I and II only.  More information about this possibility can be found on the CSET website:



Section 1 – The Mathematics Major, Secondary Teaching Option

Section 2 – Chart of Prerequisites

Section 3 – Advisement Notes






Math 150A, Calculus I
Math 150B, Calculus II
Math 250, Calculus III
Math 262, Introduction to Linear Algebra
Comp 106/L (or 110/L), Computing in Engineering and Science and Lab (or Intro to Algorithms and Programming and Lab)
Phys 220A/L, Mechanics and Lab
Phil 230, Introduction to Formal Logic I



Math 320 Foundations of Higher Mathematics

Math 341 Applied Statistics I

Math 350 Advanced Calculus I

Math 360 Abstract Algebra I

Math 370 Foundations of Geometry

Math 382/L Introduction to Scientific Computing

Math 391 Field Experience in the Mathematics of the Public Schools

Math 490 Capstone Course

Electives (9 units of upper division math)

Recommended electives include: Math 340, Math 441, Math 450, Math 460, Math 470, Math 462, Math 463, Math 481A, Math 351, ASTR 301 (ASTR 301 also counts as an upper division G.E. in Section SE/NS).









Math 150A

Comp 110 & 110L

            or  106 & 106L

Math 150B

Phil 230

Math 250

Phys 220A & AL

Math 262


Math 320

Math 341

Math 382/L

Math 391

Math elective

Math 350 or 360

Math 370

Math 350 or 360

Math 490 (or elective)

Math elective

Math elective (or 490)


REMINDER:  To achieve subject matter clearance for the Credential Program a GPA of 2.6 is necessary for all courses in the major (excluding Physics 220B/BL) and no major course grade may be lower than C.  (Graduation requirements are less strict: A GPA of 2.0 must be achieved in all upper division major courses to graduate.) 

Use this online calculator to compute your GPA: GPA Calculator.





MATH 320       FOUNDATIONS OF HIGHER MATHEMATICS (3)  Prerequisites: Math 150B and corequisite Philosophy 230.  This course provides an introduction into to the language and methods of higher mathematics.  Sets, relations, functions, and limits are introduced using the concepts of axioms, definitions, propositions and proofs.  Students are expected to write mathematical proofs, and communicate mathematical ideas clearly in written and oral form.

MATH 341       APPLIED STATISTICS I (3) Prerequisite: Math 150B. Introduction to the practice of statistics, emphasizing the role of probability. Includes basic probability, discrete and continuous probability distributions, expectation and variance, sample surveys and experiments, displaying and summarizing data, sampling distributions, central limit theorem, inference for proportions, chi-square test, least squares regression.


MATH 350       ADVANCED CALCULUS I (3) Prerequisite: Math 320. Topics include the real number system, continuous functions, differentiation, and Riemann integration of functions of one real variable.


MATH 360       ABSTRACT ALGEBRA I (3) Prerequisite: Math 262 and 320.  Survey course in abstract algebra. Introduction to groups, rings, fields, vector spaces.


MATH 370       FOUNDATIONS OF GEOMETRY (3) Prerequisite or Corequisite: Math 320. One of the goals of this course is to help students write rigorous proofs of results of plane Euclidean geometry.  It is also expected that students visualize and develop geometric intuition through the use of dynamic geometry software. The content includes history, axiomatic structure, and theorems of plane Euclidean geometry, geometric transformations of the plane: rigid motions, similarities, and inversion, coordinate geometry and an introduction to non-Euclidean geometries.


MATH 382/L    INTRODUCTION TO SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING and LAB (2/1) Corequisite: MATH 262. This course gives students an introduction to basic numerical techniques and to programming using some of the common software packages used in mathematics. Students apply these techniques in projects from different branches of mathematics. [Note: This course does not replace a rigorous course in Numerical Analysis.] Two hours lecture, two hours lab.


MATH 441       APPLIED STATISTICS II (3)  Prerequisite:  Math 341. Continuation of Math 341 with emphasis on statistical inference. Includes design of surveys and experiments, the t-distribution, inference for means, correlation and regression with transformations, inference for slope.


MATH 460       ABSTRACT ALGEBRA II (3)  Prerequisite:  Math 360.  Second course in abstract algebra. Group theory, rings and modules, field extensions.


MATH 470       TOPICS IN GEOMETRY (3)  Math 370 or Math 350. Non-Euclidean geometries and/or advanced results in Euclidean geometry.


MATH 490       CAPSTONE COURSE (3) Prerequisite: Senior standing.  A course where prospective teachers see high school mathematics from an advanced perspective.  Considerably more emphasis is placed on issues of pedagogy than in other content courses and students see connections between the mathematics they are learning in college and some of the activities they will be engaged in as teachers.


MATH 391       FIELD EXPERIENCE IN THE MATHEMATICS OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS (2) Prerequisites:  Math 150A and 150B.  A field experience course designed to give the prospective teacher an appreciation of a quality mathematics program in a public school.   Requirements include 45 hours of observation/participation in a local school, group meetings at CSUN, and writing assignments.  See the Math Department secretary for details.


ELECTIVES    Three upper division courses (minimum 9 units) in mathematics (may include one upper division mathematics-intensive course from another department), selected with approval of an advisor.  Approved courses include: Math 340, Math 441, Math 450, Math 460, Math 470, Math 463, Math 462, Math 481A, Math 351, ASTR 301 (ASTR 301 also counts as an upper division G.E. in Section NS/SE). See your advisor to discuss additional possibilities.





1.  There are many requirements for graduation:

a)  Completion of general education

b)  Completion of the major

c)  GPA of 2.0 or higher in all course work, in all work at CSUN, in all upper division courses in your major

d)  Completion of the Title V courses

e)  Passage of the Upper Division Writing Exam

f)  120 units total, at least 40 of which are upper division.  Thirty units must be completed at CSUN: 24 of the 30 must be upper division and 12 must be in your major. 


2.  A suggested timeline

                Junior Year:          

·         Attend a Credential Program Information Session (fall semester is recommended).  Dates and times are posted on the Internet: 

·         Take the Upper Division Writing Exam. (A score of 8 is necessary for graduation, but a score of 10 will exempt you from taking an additional writing class as a credential requirement.  If you take the UDWE early, you will have ample time to retake it to improve your score, if necessary.)

·         Apply for graduation at the end of your junior year.

·         Take the CBEST & Math 391 to prepare for the Credential Program.


Senior Year:          

·         Apply for the Credential Program (early in the senior year, if possible, or during the spring semester).

·         If necessary, retake CBEST and/or UDWE.

·         See your advisor as soon as your graduation application is processed and reflected on your Degree Progress Report (DPR).

·        Make sure any necessary Substitution/Waiver forms are completed.


3.  To help plan your schedule, consult the department schedule of classes, which shows when (day or evening) and which semester(s) each upper division course is offered:


4.  The field experience course is Math 391.  This course provides observation and participation in a nearby public school.  One of the requirements for entry into the Credential Program is 45 hours working with school-aged children.  Math 391 satisfies this requirement and can be taken as soon as upper division standing is achieved (or earlier if a student is in the FYI-Math Program).  Ask the Math Department secretary for additional information.


5.  Approved upper division math electives:

                                                Math 340                Introductory Probability

                                                Math 441                Introduction to Statistical Inference

                                                Math 450                Advanced Calculus

                                                Math 460                Abstract Algebra II

                                                Math 470                Topics in Geometry

                                                Math 463                Number Theory

                                Math 462               Advanced Linear Algebra

                                Math 481A            Numerical Analysis

Math 351               Differential Equations  (only as a first course in differential equations)

                                                Astr 301                 The Dynamical Universe (offered by the Physics and Astronomy Department spring of odd numbered years only; also counts as an upper division G.E., Section NS/SE).


6.  If you want to keep your options open and prepare for a career in business and industry as well as for teaching, take more statistics, numerical analysis, and applied mathematics. 




1.  To obtain a degree, a GPA of 2.0 is required in each of the following areas: a) total course work; b) all courses taken at CSUN; and c) all upper division coursework in the major.  However, a minimum GPA of 2.6 is required for all math courses in the Academic Program in order to waive the CSET.  (The Academic Program consists of all courses required for the math major in the secondary teaching option.)  Math grades below a C are not permitted for waiving the CSET (although some passing grades below a C are permitted in the degree).  In addition, in order to be readmitted to the University after graduation, you must have a 2.5 GPA in the final 60 units before graduation.


2.  You should apply for graduation approximately one full year in advance of your anticipated graduation date.  See the Schedule of Classes for deadlines.  Plan to see an advisor at least 10 days prior to the deadline for filing, since time is needed for the necessary paper work.  In particular, make sure your advisor fills out a course substitution form declaring any courses not reported correctly on your DPR.


3.  After you have applied for graduation, it takes several months for Admissions and Records to verify your files and update your DPR.  You should print a DPR from SOLAR 8-12 weeks after filing your graduation application; use the DPR to determine which graduation requirements you have yet to fulfill and to plan your remaining undergraduate semester(s) accordingly.


4.  Any changes made in the major after the Graduation Application is filed must be approved by an advisor and a Course Substitution Form filed with Admissions and Records.  It is the student's responsibility to see that this is done. 


5.  Fulfillment of the General Education Requirements is the student's responsibility.  Follow carefully the requirements given for your catalog year.  Note that Math 150A, Phys 220A/L, and Phil 230 are all requirements of the major that can also satisfy sections of GE. 




There are many programs, scholarships, and loan programs available to students interested in teaching careers.  For example, the Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE) provides up to $19,000 in assumption of educational loans for students planning to teach mathematics or science.  Juniors, seniors and credential students are eligible.  For more information about APLE, visit the website:  For additional scholarship and loan possibilities, inquire at CSUN’s Financial Aid Office.




1.  As soon as possible after you achieve junior standing, you should attend a Credential Program Information Session; dates and times are posted on the Internet:


2.  All credential candidates must have taken (or registered for) the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) prior to submitting an application to the program.  The test examines the basic skills in mathematics, reading, and writing.  (The Academic Program is a waiver only of the CSET, not the CBEST.)  Take the CBEST as early as possible so that your admission to the Credential Program will not be delayed.  (Information about the CBEST is on their website:


3.  You should apply for the Credential Program as soon as possible during your senior year.  You may want to take a credential course in your last semester before graduation and many of these courses are restricted to those admitted to the program.  This means that during your junior year you must take care of the CBEST and Field Experience mentioned earlier.  (Note: As of January 2006, you cannot usually be accepted to the Credential Program until you have completed your major or passed the CSET at the foundation or full level; however, special exceptions are sometimes made: check with the Credential Program.)


4.  One of the requirements for your Clear Credential is 30 units of postgraduate work.  If, in your last semester before graduation, you take units that are not needed for your degree (such as courses in the Credential Program), you may petition to have some or all of those units counted toward the 30-unit postgraduate requirement.  The necessary forms are available in the Admission & Records Office.