Basic Skills Requirement

The Basic Skills requirement must be met by all credential applicants in California prior to the award of their credential. While the Department of Special Education requires that Basic Skills be met as a condition for admission to the program, candidates may be given one additional semester after admission to meet this requirement.

For detailed information about the Basic Skills requirement, you can refer to the CTC Website.

Submitting the Basic Skills Requirement

Candidates may submit any score reports or completed BSR waiver requests to the Department of Special Education at Please send electronic or scanned copies – pictures will not be accepted. If opting to use coursework or a mix of options, complete a BSR Waiver request form (link to waiver form) and submit along with a set of unofficial transcripts.

Submission Instructions for Prospective Students

Under the Program Materials section of the Cal State Apply application, go to the Documents tab and upload your score report/waiver under Basic Skills Requirement. BSR waiver requests will not be reviewed until after your application has been submitted. If you intend to use exams but have not yet taken them, you may upload proof of registration for a qualifying exam that must include the test name and date.

How to Meet Basic Skills

These are the various ways candidates can meet the Basic Skills Requirement:

Candidates can take and pass the CBEST exam. For information and registration go to the CBEST website.

Note that CBEST scores do not expire.

Candidates can take the CSET Multiple Subjects and the CSET Writing Skills exams to meet Basic Skills. This combination is often used by candidates who also need to meet Subject Matter Competency including those in the Extensive Support Needs, Mild to Moderate Support Needs, and Visual Impairment programs. For more information on these exams, visit the California Assessment website.

Qualifying scores for the CSU Early Assessment Program Exam or the CSU Placement Exams (EPT & ELM) can be used to meet Basic Skills and are valid indefinitely for this requirement.

CSU Early Assessment Program Exam: Candidates must receive a “College Ready” or “Exempt” for both English and Math.

CSU Placement (EPT & ELM) Exams: Candidates must earn a score of 151 or above on the English section. Candidates must earn a score of 50 or above on the Math section.

Please refer to the CTC’s Guidance Chart for Mixing BSR Options for minimum score requirements for these exams to apply towards Basic Skills. Candidate must provide official score reports from the testing agency.

Please refer to the CTC’s Guidance Chart for Mixing BSR Options for minimum score requirements to apply Advanced Placement exams. Candidate must provide official score reports from College Board.

The CTC accepts basic skills exams from outside California. Please refer to the CTC’s Out-of-State Basic Skills Exam Chart for list of qualifying exams and minimum score requirements.

Candidates can now use coursework to meet Basic Skills. Complete a BSR waiver request form with your eligible classes and submit with a transcript to For a course to be applicable for this requirement:

  • The course must have been taken at a regionally-accredited college or university for credit (courses that have been audited do not count).
  • The course must have been passed with a grade of B or better, be degree applicable, and be at least 3 semester units or 4 quarter units.
  • Candidates must demonstrate they have taken a course each in the areas of reading, writing, and math.
  • The course title must include one of the following terms in order to apply to that subject. For example, the reading course can be called “American Literature” or “Critical Thinking in Education,” but “English in the United States” will not count.
  • For reading proficiency: a course in critical thinking, literature, philosophy, reading, rhetoric, or textual analysis.
  • For writing proficiency: a course in composition, English, rhetoric, written communication, or writing.
  • For mathematics proficiency: a course in algebra, geometry, mathematics, quantitative reasoning, or statistics.

Additional Course Information:

  • A course that includes “rhetoric” in the title can count towards both the reading and writing proficiency.
  • Courses that do not include one of the listed areas in the title can only be considered if a letter of support is provided. The letter of support must come from the English or Math Department of the institution at which the course was taken.
  • Candidates can use courses that have already been approved to match SF State GE courses in these areas. Please see the link regarding Course Articulation.

Candidates can use a combination of any eligible exam and qualifying coursework to meet Basic Skills. For example, candidates can use the SAT to meet the reading proficiency, the CBEST for writing proficiency, and coursework for the mathematics proficiency.

Please refer to the CTC’s Guidance Chart for Mixing BSR Options to see the various exam options.

Complete a BSR waiver request form with your eligible classes/exams and submit to