University of Washington Credit

PCMI Teacher Program

What is it?

Participants in the Teacher Program can optionally sign up for 6 quarter credits of Math 497 (Special Topics in Mathematics for Teachers) 

Note: 6 quarter credits = 4 semester credits since there are 3 quarters in an academic year. 

(UW course catalog listing is:

How does one sign up and how much does it cost?

There will be application forms available early during the PCMI summer session. For summer 2019 the total cost will be $225. Teachers will need to submit their application forms to the UW by mail, phone or fax no later than the end of the PCMI session (earlier is preferable), so teachers should come to PCMI ready to decide whether to enroll or not. 

Everyone who signs up should keep their copy of the info sheet with important contact information for getting transcripts. 

How does one pay and submit the application?

The UW accepts checks or credit card payment (MasterCard or Visa only). There is a space for a credit card number on the application form. The form must either be sent to the UW by US mail or fax or phone by the individual teacher.

What work is necessary for the credit and how is the course graded?

The work for the credit is full participation in the regular work of the PCMI Teacher Program for 3 weeks. The course has no letter or numerical grade. The grade is will be either CREDIT (or theoretically NO CREDIT). 

Can one decide later and sign up later? Is this a good deal or not?

Alas, no later additions are possible; the credit must be applied for during PCMI, and that is the only chance to sign up. For some teachers, this is a very good deal, since the price is rather low for this much credit, and the credit is for work being done anyway. However, other teachers may not need credit or may find that they cannot use the credit at their home institutions. For them it is clearly not such a good deal. The most difficult cases are teachers who are not sure whether they will need it in the future or not. In this case it is a judgment call or even a gamble as to whether to sign up or not.

Is this credit Graduate Credit? Will XYZ University accept it or School District ABC accept it as Graduate Credit?

The answers is "yes, it is graduate-LEVEL credit," but acceptance is up to your local authorities, so this can occasionally be complicated. The term "graduate credit" is ambiguous (credit for what graduate program?) and not uniform across institutions, and certainly course numbering is not either.  Courses that are accepted for credit in graduate programs vary from department to department. 

The answer for UW students is "yes." Courses at the UW are numbered from 100-level to 500-level.  Courses at the 400-level are at the lower end of graduate-level courses or but also the upper end of undergraduate courses.  One can receive a Master's Degree in Mathematics at the UW only taking 400-level courses. Graduate Students in the UW College of Education can apply Math courses at the 300-level and above as math content courses for graduate programs (doctoral students in Math Ed have counted Math 497 for credit in their degree programs). (For Math Masters requirements, see this link). However, only some, not all of the courses can be graded Credit/No Credit, as Math 497 is.

CAUTION! Your grade form from the UW will say this is NOT graduate credit. This means that it is not credit towards a UW degree (unless you have already been admitted to a graduate degree program at the UW, not elsewhere). This does not mean that the course is not graduate LEVEL or could not be applied towards a grad degree if you were in a UW program. 

As evidence, if you need it, here is the general policy from the UW Graduate School on Master's Degrees (which are graduate degrees!) 

As you can see from browsing the official UW catalog, courses at this level are accepted for Master's and even Doctoral degrees. The concept of "graduate credit" is not a property of the course. It is a property of the degree program. So a Doctoral student in Education, can count a 300 level Math course toward a degree but not a 300 level Psych course, but a Doctoral student in Math cannot count a 300 level math course, but can count (some) 400 level courses but must have some 500-level courses also, but cannot count any 500-level English classes. It is all in the degree requirements. 

It seems quite clear that this credit is graduate level by any reasonable yardstick. And each year a couple of dozen teachers get the credit and seem to have no problem making use of it. But also usually every year, there is someone who has problems with a local university or school district about this. 

If you think there may be problems with your local institution, it would be a good idea to do some investigation at home, during the spring, before arriving at PCMI, to see what evidence is required. In the end, we can provide the credit, but we cannot dictate what other institutions will do with it. 

Summary: How to show Math 497 credit should be acceptable as professional development credit at your local institution:

Contact person and Instructor of Record

This document is an attempt to answer all the questions that have come up about this credit. The instructor of record, and the contact person is James King ( Feel free to ask questions, but please read this document carefully and also check the PCMI Teacher website during the summer for answers to most questions.