Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I take courses at other colleges and transfer to HSU?

A: Yes. Take catalog descriptions, course syllabi, or other documentation to your advisor for approval.

Q: What grades do I need to get in my major classes?

A: Letter grades of C- or better are required for all courses in the major.

Q: What clubs and organizations can I get involved with at Humboldt State University?

A: There is a club on campus for students who want to become teachers: Student California Teacher's Association (SCTA). Contact Associated Students of Humboldt State University for a complete list of student-run clubs and organizations.

Q: What is the GWPE (Graduate Writing Proficiency Exam)?

A: This is an exam that assesses basic writing skills. The GWPE may be taken in your junior or senior year.

Q: When do I file a degree check/application for graduation?

A: This is generally completed three semesters before graduation and requires a fee to be paid at the Cashier's Office. Make an appointment with your advisor to sign your major contract and then complete a degree check, which can be obtained from the Office of Admissions and Records.

Q: What is a Supplementary Authorization?

A: Supplementary Authorizations qualify teachers to teach specific subjects up to grade 9. See your program advisor for the specific requirements that are issued by the California Commission of Teacher Credentialing.

Q: What is a Subject Matter Authorization?

A: A Subject Matter Authorization is modeled after a supplementary authorization and complies with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. This introductory subject matter authorization consists of 32 units of study and qualifies teachers to teach the core academic subject areas of English, reading/language arts, math, science, foreign language, civics/government, economics, arts, history, and geography up until grade 9. See your program advisor for additional information on what courses constitute subject matter authorizations.

Q: When do I apply to the Credential Program?

A: Application to HSU's Elementary Education credential program begins the fall of your senior year and is due February 15th prior to your credential year. Be sure to attend an orientation meeting in the fall semester. You can find the dates on the School of Education website by clicking here.

Q: What is the GPA requirement for admission to the Credential Program?

A: Students should strive to maintain a GPA or 3.0 or higher. Humboldt State University currently has a GPA requirement of 2.67 overall or 2.75 on your last 60 units in order to be admitted to a credential program. Low GPA candidates can appeal to be accepted.

Q: What tests are required for elementary school teachers in the state of California?


  • CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) The CBEST is a four-hour test in which examinees will complete one, two, or all three sections of the examination. Administered by National Evaluation Systems Inc. (NES), the CBEST is required for all candidates applying to teaching credential programs in the state of California, including those who seek a California emergency credential. The CBEST is designed to test basic proficiency in three areas: reading comprehension, essay writing, and mathematics.
  • Multiple Subject CSET (California Subject Examination for Teachers) This is a required exam for those who wish to participate in a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential program. If you'd like some help preparing for the CSET, we offer test prep workshops FREE here at HSU! Click here for details and dates.
  • RICA (Reading Instruction Competence Assessment) The purpose of the RICA exam is to ensure that candidates for the Multiple Subject Teaching Credential possess the knowledge and skills important for the provision of effective reading instruction to students. The RICA consists of two separate assessments :RICA Written Examination and RICA Video Performance Assessment. Multiple Subject Teaching Credential Candidates must take and pass one of the two assessments to fulfill the RICA requirement. LSEE students do not need to take this exam until their credential year, but may take it early if they wish.

Q: How do I know the test dates for the GWPE, CBEST and CSET?

A: Go to the testing center link on the HSU web site for current registration information.

Q: Is there a senior checklist for LSEE students?

Senior Year Checklist for LSEE Students

"You build great relationships with the teachers and LSEE advisors. We can go to them anytime and ask them anything. That’s important in a program like this because you're always experiencing new things in class that make you wonder, 'How am I supposed to teach this?' Just knowing that you can always get feedback from experienced teachers who know what you’re going through, is really important."

Rebecca Richardson, Junior
Former LSEE Student

photo: student showing work