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Frequently Asked Questions

I think I would like to teach at the college level. Would the Minor in Science Education or the Minor in Mathematics Education be useful for me?

Definitely. In the courses you will explore how students learn concepts at many levels, from the very elementary to the kinds of things you are studying in your college courses. Also, keep in mind that many of the difficulties your college students may have will be rooted in concepts they studied in high school or even earlier, so it is very important to know where your students are coming from.

Are the math and science education minor courses useful for people considering other careers?

Absolutely. We think everyone should take at least one of the science or math education courses in the minors. Communicating ideas effectively is essential in nearly every profession. Effective communication of scientific and mathematical ideas begins with taking stock of one's own understanding. It means learning how to ask good questions of oneself. Once one is satisfied that one's own understanding is solid, the next step is deciding what ideas to get across and how. This step depends on the audience. Thus learning how different people learn is essential to good communication in any setting. These are the kinds of things you will explore in the math and science education courses in the minors.

Do I have to be a science or math major to sign up for the Minor in Science Education or the Minor in Mathematics Education?

They are open to any majors, but note that Calculus 10C or 20C is a prerequisite for two courses in the Minor in Mathematics Education, and Chemistry 6C is a prerequisite for two courses in the Minor in Science Education. Also, for the 129/139 courses, preference may be given to students with a strong science, math or engineering background because without it, students will not be competitive for UCSD’s M.Ed./Single Subject Credential Program in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology or Geosciences.

Of course, you can’t have a major and minor in the same thing, so Mathematics Secondary Education Majors can’t also minor in Mathematics Education.  Similarly Chemical Education Majors and Physics Secondary Education Majors can’t minor in Science Education.

Is it better to take a Math/Science Education Minor or to take one of the Education Majors (i.e. Mathematics Secondary Education, Chemical Education, or Physics Secondary Education)?

Both options prepare you well for a career in teaching, but which option is right for you depends on your interests. On the one hand, you may already have your heart set on a major, say Molecular Synthesis, Math/Scientific Computation or Physics/Astrophysics. In that case, take the major you want, along with the Cal Teach minor. On the other hand, you may have your heart set on a minor, say Dance or Spanish, and don't want two minors. In that case, you could take one of the education majors and still have room for the minor of your choice.

A note to Math majors: By taking certain math courses as your electives, you can ensure that you have completed the Subject Matter Preparation that waives you from having to take the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers).  These courses include the Calculus 20 series, Number Theory (Math 104A), Probability and Statistics (Math 180A or 183), Geometry for Secondary Education (Math 153), History of Math (Math 163), Algebra (One of Math 103A, 103B, 100A or 102) and Mathematical Reasoning (Math 109).  For more information, please come speak with a program advisor.  Science majors, you will have to take the CSET, and taking a well-rounded course load (including introductory courses in the other science disciplines) is useful.  Please come speak with program advisors about CSET preparation.  We can help.

I'm not sure if I want to be a teacher, but I'd like to get some experience working with K-12 students. Are there any other courses suitable for me?

Yes. In addition to CHEM 96/MATH 95 + EDS 39, you should check out the Partners At Learning program offered by Education Studies. These classes are open to all majors, and give you the opportunity to work with students in under-served schools.

I think I want to be a teacher, but my schedule is already so full that I don't know if I have room for many education courses. Should I consider dropping something so I can fit them in?

You don't have to. You can opt for the two year Master of Education degree/Credential Program after you get your Bachelor’s. Of course, it is good to get at least some experience working with K-12 students, through volunteer work or an Education Studies class, to make sure teaching is the right career for you.  Relevant experience is also important for your application to a credential program.

I've heard that teachers do not earn a very good living. Is that true?

The average salary of a secondary school teacher in California is approaching $70,000.  Teachers with higher degrees earn more money than those without, which is why it is worthwhile to get your Master's and Teaching Credential, rather than the Teaching Credential alone. Also, factors that should be taken into consideration are good health and retirement benefits, as well as the many scholarship and loan repayment programs specifically to help future teachers fund their education.