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Math Circle at the University of Washington

New! The UW Math Circle for the 2014-2015 academic year will meet every Thursday, 5–7 PM, on the UW campus. The Math Circle in 2015 will resume on Thursday, January 15.

New! The math circle for 2014-15 is now full and not accepting new students. If you would like to join the circle next year, consider coming to the Math Hour next spring and the Olympiad in June.

We invite you to join our mailing list to receive up-to-date information about this and related events that we organize. We also invite you to check out the UW Math Hour for some fun mathematics in the spring!

Congratulations to our math circle students and instructors on the following accomplishments over the past year.

What is UW Math Circle?

The UW Math Circle is intended for Seattle-area 7th, 8th, and 9th graders with mathematical minds, with the intent of continuing their development in this direction.

The students meet weekly in the Math Circle to engage in a variety of activities. Here, we develop many areas of mathematics, including (but definitely not limited to) logic, graph theory, combinatorics, and geometry. Follow the links at the top of the page for a more detailed breakdown of what's being covered in each meeting.

To reinforce the lessons learned at each Math Circle, weekly homework assignments are given at the end of the meetings. The students are encouraged to delve even further than the problem statement, in order to really get a feel for the solution. To reinforce this behavior, the first hour of each meeting is spent by the students explaining their solutions and methods to their peers, with the listening students free to critique the solutions and offer help when things get confusing.

The last half of the meeting is spent covering new material. We introduce the concepts to the students with a major emphasis on hands-on activities. For the students, this means that much of their time is spent actively engaging in problem-solving, with ample time to ask probing questions to their colleagues and the instructors.

Structure of the Circle

We currently offer three math circles: The first year circle, the second year and beyond circle, and the advanced circle.

The first year circle is designed for students who do not already have UW Math Circle experience. Registration for the first year circle opens in the beginning of September and is announced through our mailing list. Successful participants in the Math Hour Olympiad are given priority; the remaining slots are distributed on a first come first served basis.

Upon successful completion of the first year circle, students are promoted to the “second year and beyond” circle where they can study for as many years as they find the math circle experience beneficial. The curriculum of the intermediate circle varies from year to year so returning students do not have to worry about repeating the same material if they stay for a third or fourth year.

Finally, the advanced circle is intended for a very small group of highly motivated students. Students are admitted to the advanced circle only by invitation from the instructors and the Math Circle directors.

Costs Involved

In the past, the UW Math Circle had been offered at no cost, thanks to two grants form the National Science Foundation that supported the Department of Mathematics outreach efforts. The larger of those grants expired in the Spring of 2014. With the majority of our funding now gone, we have to ask families to contribute to the operational expenses of the Math Circle, if they are able to do that. We suggest a donation of $100 per semester. This will cover the very basic needs of the Circle. But any amount your family is able to contribute – large or small – will help.

To make a donation, follow this link. Please make your donation by the third week of class in the and then again in the Winter. This will help us with our financial planning. Your donation is tax-deductible and might be matched by your employer. Please talk to Julia Pevtsova if you think this is a possibility.


If you have any questions or comments, please contact:


Map showing parking garages and inbound University District bus stops (click for larger view):

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The Math Circle at the University of Washington is partially supported by NSF CAREER Grant DMS-095-3011 and NSF RTG Grant DMS-083-8212.