Advising for Math Teaching Concentration

Preparing for Advising for the Math Teaching Concentration

Hello, welcome to the major! You have great intellectual taste. I am Eric Hsu, and you can find out more about me at my home page.  We will meet to plot out a reasonable sequence of coursework that will prepare you to be a great teacher in a timely way.  


To prepare for your advising session with me, you need to

Recommended Pathway to Becoming a Secondary Math Teacher

The recommended way to be prepared and authorized to teach math in middle or high school is to earn a single-subject math credential in the following way.

  1. Earn SFSU's BA in Mathematics, Concentration in Teaching.
  2. This degree qualifies you to take a year of graduate study in any credential program in California, to earn a single-subject mathematics credential. (Specifically, it satisfies the subject matter comptency and early field experience requirements. For other requirements, see here.)

The credential will authorize you to teach mathematics in any secondary classroom in California.


There are alternate routes, which are discussed at the very end of this page, but this one is the best preparation to be a good teacher.

A Diagram of the Major

This is a picture of the BA in Math, Concentration in Teaching.  Each oval is a required course (in Math unless noted). Arrows go from prerequisite to requiring course. Dashed means suggested or concurrent enrollment allowed. You can download this as a PDF.  If Fall/Spring is noted, then these courses are only guaranteed to be offered in that semester.  


Recommended Coursework Pattern

Math is beautiful, but difficult. It is stressful to get through the struggles with the material and you will often need time to digest the material. Therefore, it's best if you take only two math courses at a time. (Besides, you're only in college once, so why not enjoy it?)  The full recommended four-year pathway to the BA can be downloaded here.  The recommended math course sequence for first-year students is:

Common Scheduling Mistakes


If you plan to transfer, try to come in with as much coursework as possible. Most local community colleges have an articulation agreement to offer SFSU equivalents to 226, 227, 228, CS 210 and 325.  This will allow you to finish your BA in a civilized two years with the above pattern for Year 3 and 4 (swapping 301 and 325, and also that you will have to choose one upper-division elective to reach 40 upper division units, since 325 doesn't articulate as upper divison units).


Brief Highlights of the Coursework

Here are the courses that people find most challenging (and rewarding). Give yourself a fair shot by not overloading yourself when taking these courses.

There are two courses especially tuned for future teachers.

Complementary Studies for Mathematics Majors

This only applies to students who enrolled after Fall 2014.


Students who pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with Concentrations in Liberal Arts, Teaching, or Advanced Studies must complete 12 complementary units, within a coherent group of courses with a prefix other than MATH, and not cross-listed with MATH.


You automatically fulfill this requirement IF you:


(a) complete a second major;

(b) take 12 units towards a minor;

(c) take 12 units of a language other than English

(d) participate in a Study Abroad program

(e) take 12 units towards an academic certificate 




Your 12 Complementary Studies units for the MATH major may come from:


(1) Courses offered by other departments in the College of Science & Engineering (CoSE),  OR


(2) The following courses outside of the College of Science and Engineering:


Transfer students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill Complementary Studies requirements for their major only if these courses are included in the minimum units required for the major (and therefore do not have to do so for the math major).


Students can discuss potential substitutions with their advisor. All complementary studies courses must be approved by the Mathematics Department undergraduate advisors.

Alternate Pathways (optional reading)

...to a Secondary Math Teaching Credential

Here is the original recommended pathway, annotated with alternatives.

...to a Middle School / Lower HS Math Teaching Credential

If you only want to teach middle school, or mathematics in high school below trigonometry, here is an alternate pathway.

A Foundational Level Math credential is, naturally, less attractive to employers than a full Single Subject Math credential, because the latter allows you to teach any mathematics throughout high school.