1-2 years

Credits earned




Time commitment


Upcoming deadline

May 17, 2024

Ambitious, equitable teaching

The U-ACT program is an alternative teacher education program designed for educators  working full-time in schools (public, charter, or independent schools). In one year you can earn your WA residency teaching certificate and, if you choose, you can add a second year to earn your Master in Teaching (M.I.T.) degree.

We offer the following alternative routes to support educators in these varied scenarios:

Route 2: Educators working as paraeducators or instructional assistants in public, charter or independent schools. If you are not working in a classroom with opportunities to practice teaching with a whole class of students, we will work with the you and your school to ensure there are ample opportunities to practice teaching and complete coursework and fieldwork requirements

Route 3: Educators working in independent schools OR educators hired by public/charter schools and are entering the teaching profession from a different career field. If you are not working as a teacher-of-record in your own classroom, we will work with you and your school to ensure there are ample opportunities to practice teaching and complete coursework and fieldwork requirements

Route 4: Educators working in public/charter schools on a limited teaching certificate as a teacher-of-record in their own classroom.

Our Partners

We prioritize enrollment for students who are employed full-time with one of our partners:

There is limited space for students who are not affiliated with these organizations. For more information about our partners' hiring processes, please contact them directly.

Young student raise their hand in an elementary classroom

What you'll learn

Our program equips you with a strong foundational knowledge of ambitious equitable teaching. Ambitious teaching skills will help you draw out and respond to all students in your classroom, so they view themselves as competent sensemakers. As an ambitious teacher, you will be committed to children, embrace content areas as important tools to understand the world, and seek opportunities to continually grow your knowledge of children and teaching.

After graduation

U-ACT graduates are ready to serve as elementary and secondary teachers. Further, the foundations learned through this program support future career goals of leadership in schools and districts.

After graduating from U-ACT and teaching for a few years, you might want to consider one of our leadership programs.

Let's connect

We're excited that you're interested in our program! By joining our mailing list, you can receive updates on info sessions, deadlines, financial aid and more!

Connect with us

Questions? Please contact Megan Kelley-Petersen, U-ACT Program Director.


    Key components of U-ACT include:

    • Coursework and assignments grounded within your practice, specific context, and school community
    • Partnership between instructors, coaches, administrators, mentors and school community to best support your learning
    • Focused coursework in your desired endorsement content area
    • Assessments aligned to your school or district's evaluation processes within specific, data-driven feedback provided by your instructors

    To support our students who are working full-time across Washington, U-ACT coursework is completed entirely online. Our courses consist of synchronous sessions via Zoom and asynchronous assignments. You will have one evening online class per week, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday. An additional online class is held bimonthly, typically on a Thursday.

    You are expected to have reliable internet access and technology for video conferencing. If accepted to the program, the Student Technology Loan Program is available to students who need support.

    Year One: Residency Teaching Certificate (31 credits)

    • “Summer learning experience” means that courses begin in August
    • Foundations coursework
    • Methods coursework in your content/endorsement area 

    Year Two: Master in Teaching Degree (22-25 credits)

    • Students  opt into this year
    • Content and context-specific coursework relevant to you
    • Foundations coursework
    • Culminating capstone project

    Admission requirements and process

      To be eligible for the U-ACT Program, you must be hired in a teaching position that aligns with route 2, 3 or 4. Your employment must include routine work in the same classrooms with the same students for the academic year (not subbing across school sites or classrooms). The U-ACT Program does not “place” applicants in a teaching position, but works in partnership with the candidates and their school or district after the applicant has been hired as an educator.

      Bachelor's degree and unofficial transcripts
      • Degree can be in-progress when applying but must be completed before program starts
      • Include transcripts from all schools attended within the previous five years
      • Include transcripts from all schools from which a degree was earned
      • Minimum GPA of 3.0
      Two letters of recommendation

      These letters should detail your academic potential, leadership, collaboration, adaptability, and/or any teaching experience(s). During the online application, you will submit the names of your recommenders, along with their email address. We appreciate recommendations that speak in detail about your:

      • Teaching experience
      • Desire to become a teacher
      • Academic experience(s)
      Letter of intent to hire

      Because we are an alternative route 2, 3 and 4 program, teacher candidates must be hired as educators to be fully accepted. Please submit a letter or documentation from a school or district that clearly states their intent to hire you for the upcoming academic year.  

      If you are hired as a substitute teacher and working in a long-term substitute teaching context, you could be eligible to apply to the program. Please contact the U-ACT Program Director Megan Kelley-Petersen to discuss this possibility.

      If you are not yet hired by a school or district at the time of your application, please clearly note this in your application. We will review your application, even if you are not yet employed, as we may be able to act as an advocate and resource in connecting you with potential teaching positions.

      Personal goal statement

      Successful U-ACT applicants demonstrate strong knowledge of subject matter content knowledge, a passion for teaching historically underserved populations, and an interest in issues of social justice. In a 1-2 page statement, draw upon your personal experiences and qualities to explain your interest in becoming a teacher.

      • Explain your views on the role of education in society and your reasons for wanting to enter the teaching profession.
      • Describe how your educational background and your educational experience working with youth have influenced your interest in teaching.
      • Indicate how your talents, skills, and experiences might contribute to the UW College of Education community (may include: diverse cultural experiences, family background, extracurricular activities, accomplishments, career goals, life and work experiences, obstacles you have overcome, special talents, etc.).

      When we review your Personal Goal Statement, we will pay attention to the following aspects:

      • Substance: your understanding of the work that teachers do
      • Alignment with the U-ACT Program in regards to serving diverse communities, schools, students, and families
      • Experience you’ve had in working with diverse communities (including but not limited to the identities of race, ethnicity, culture, language, and socio-economic status).
      • Conventions: the clarity and organization of your writing 
      Basic skills test

      Applications will not be reviewed until these tests are complete. If you have not taken the test by the time of your application, you must tell us which test(s) you will be taking and when.

      Most applicants take the Washington Educator Skills Test-Basic (WEST-B) for their basic skills test. In lieu of WEST-B, you may also use reading, writing and math subtest scores from the following providers:

      • Praxis I
      • CBEST
      • ACT
        • Older scores that do not include a writing subtest can be used for reading and math, but must be supplemented with a new writing test
        • Call 319-337-1270 to order your ACT score report, to request that your scores be sent to University of Washington, Seattle (code 4484)
      • SAT
        • Older scores that do not include a writing subtest can be used for reading and math, but must be supplemented with a new writing test
        • Call 866-756-7346 and ask that your scores be sent to University of Washington, Seattle (code 4854)

      You can upload your score report when completing your application. Official scores are only needed if you don’t have a score report or if you haven’t previously submitted scores to UW as an undergraduate.

      Learn more about substituting WEST-B scores

      Endorsement evaluation (secondary teaching only)

      Endorsement courses do not need to be completed at the time of your application but must be completed prior to the start of the program.

      Washington state requires all secondary teacher candidates to have an approved endorsement in an academic subject that is taught in Washington state schools.

      Download the MIT Endorsement Evaluation form and contact the academic advisor in your endorsement subject to have your transcripts evaluated for content requirements. A minimum grade of 2.0 is required for each course to be used toward an endorsement (unless set higher by the department). The links below will provide details on endorsement requirements:

      Early evaluation is recommended in case additional coursework is needed.

      WEST-E or NES: Content knowledge test

      Applicants who have passed these tests before applying are highly preferred. However, these tests are not required at the time of application. But they must be passed in order to complete the program.

      WEST-E and NES are state-required content knowledge tests in your specific subject area.

      • History and social studies candidate must pass the WEST-E
      • All other candidate must pass the NES test that is appropriate to their endorsement

      Visit the WEST website for details

      1. Gather all required documents
      2. Visit the Graduate School website
      3. Log into your account or create a new profile if you are a first-time applicant
      4. Complete all steps in application process and upload your documents
      5. Pay the nonrefundable $90 application fee
        • You may request a fee waiver during the application process
      6. Submit your application

      Here is our general timeline for decisions. Have questions about the process? Visit our graduate admissions page.

      Step 1: Application processing

      • Within 7 business days after the deadline, we will check if your application if fully complete
      • We will email you whether your application is complete or incomplete
      • If your application is missing anything, you will have a short amount of time submit these items
      • You can also log into the online application and check your status and see any missing items

      Step 2: Application review

      • Committees begin reviewing applications about three weeks after the deadline
      • You will receiving an email when your application has entered the review phase

      Step 3: Decision notification

      • The final decision will be emailed to you
      • Your status will also be updated in the online application

      Costs and funding

        U-ACT is a self-sustaining, fee-based program. Students pay all fees at the beginning of each quarter. The current estimated cost is:

        • Year one: $16,075 (about $5300 per quarter)
        • Year two: $12,475 (about $4000 per quarter)
        • Total: $28,550

        These estimates are based on previous years and may be subject to change.

        U-ACT Program does not receive funding from the Washington State legislature, and therefore does not qualify for some scholarships and grants that are available to state-funded programs.

        Long-term student loans are available to help your tuition and fees. For further information on financial aid, visit the following websites: 

        You might also qualify for other scholarships and grants. We recommend the following resources: 

        Program Director

        Associate Teaching Professor

        Program Faculty

        Teaching Associate
        Teaching Associate
        Teaching Associate
        Teaching Associate

        Program Affiliated Faculty

        Assistant Dean for Teacher Preparation

        Program Staff

        Recruitment and Support Specialist, Teacher Education