Making a difference with data
Assistant professor LeAnne Johnson and her students are simplifying the way early educators collect and analyze data to help kids with and without emotional and behavioral challenges succeed in school. Read more.
Help all students get the support they need to succeed
Improve outcomes for individuals who require specialized support to achieve success throughout their lifespan. At the University of Minnesota, we are committed to engaging in meaningful research—and to bridging research and practice—to improve the lives of children and families in diverse contexts, and to have a lasting impact on teacher education, leadership, and policy. Watch videos on our research in special education.
U.S. News & World Report recently rated our program #8 in the nation among special education graduate programs.
Events & deadlines
Programs & degrees
Conduct research in special education and train other researchers and special educators.
Conduct research and work toward your Ph.D.
Become licensed to teach individuals with disabilities from birth to age 21.
Earn your degree and teaching license in four years. Upon graduation, you'll be certified to teach students with mild-moderate disabilities in K-12 and 18-21 transition programs
Our Academic Behavior Strategist (ABS) license qualifies you to work with students with mild to moderate disabilities. Once enrolled in the ABS licensure program, you will choose an area of moderate-severe disabilities to specialize in to add to your ABS, including:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Developmental disabilities
- Learning disabilities
We also offer core licenses which do not require an ABS license and allow for specialization in the following areas:
Assist children and youth with ASD and their families. This program offers professional development opportunities for autism resource specialists, public and private social service agency staff, personnel at public and private schools, treatment facility personnel, and psychology and education professionals.
"After working in schools for five years, I realized that I wanted to contribute to research and training future educators. I decided to join the department after speaking with Dr. McMaster and realizing that the program was ideal for helping me achieve my goals."
Kyle WagnerPh.D. student | email@example.com
Interests: Increasing efficiency and effectiveness of academic interventions; passing current research and best practice on to practitioners.
Work: Kyle worked five years in the field as a nationally certified and Minnesota licensed school psychologist in Texas and Minnesota. Currently, he's a graduate research assistant on a grant developing data based instruction for writing and finding effective ways to train teachers to use it. Kyle's personal research focuses on the area of practice schedule manipulation in academic interventions.
Faculty & staff
For general questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Establishing systems to promote collaboration between staff members working in self-contained EBD classrooms
- Alternative pathways to special education teacher licensure
- Using Multi-Tiered Systems of Support to creative inclusive school climates for transgender and gender diverse students
Veronica FleuryAutism Spectrum Disorder licensure & M.Ed. coordinator
- Examine how core characteristics of ASD inhibit or promote students’ ability to participate in classroom activities
- Identify and develop instructional strategies to address early academic and social-communication difficulties for young children with ASD
- Support parents and educators use of evidence-based practices with high fidelity in home and school settings
Deaf/Hard of Hearing licensure & M.Ed. coordinator
- Developing and evaluating the effects of educational media in ASL on young deaf and hearing children's language and literacy skills
- Examining the portrayal of deafness in media and literature from a cultural perspective and it's effects on children's identity development
- Exploring alternative routes to literacy development, that meet the needs of visual learners, particularly deaf children
LeAnne JohnsonEarly childhood special education licensure & M.Ed. coordinator
email@example.com | Lab
- Motivating and engaging adults in the adoption and implementation of interventions that improve the quality and quantity of learning opportunities available to young children with challenging behavior
- Closing the research to practice gap and speeding the adoption of new innovations into practice by improving professional development systems
- Enhancing data driven, precision oriented, problem solving through new tools for monitoring children’s development and response to intervention
- Evaluating the effectiveness of interventions addressing the social and communication needs of young children with Autism and emotional/behavioral disorders
Jennifer McComasAssociate department chair, emotional behavioral disorders licensure & M.Ed. coordinator
- Functional analysis of problem behavior in educational and residential settings
- Basic behavioral processes maintaining desirable and undesirable behavior, such as schedules of reinforcement, stimulus control, and establishing operations
- Behavioral treatment of problem behavior based on concurrent schedules of reinforcement as well as antecedent stimuli
- Analysis of academic performance of students with behavior problems
- Skills and competencies that enable pre-school aged children to learn and participate in school and other settings
- Design, evaluation, and application of:
- Easy-to-use tools for describing children’s current language, literacy, and other important skills
- Interventions that support development of these skills, particularly in “non specialized” settings
- Design and improvement of programs – from classroom efforts to comprehensive community-wide efforts – that help children of all ages develop fully
Kristen McMasterProgram coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org | Lab
Create conditions for successful response to intervention of academically diverse learners by:
- Promoting teachers’ use of data-based decision-making and evidence-based instruction
- Developing individualized interventions for students for whom generally effective instruction is not sufficient
Frank SymonsCEHD Associate Dean for Research and Policy
email@example.com | Lab
- Development, assessment, and treatment of severe problem behavior among children and adults with neurodevelopmental and emotional/behavioral disorders
- Bio-behavior analysis of self-injurious behavior
- Problem of pain among children and adults with significant cognitive impairments and associated developmental disabilities
- Rett syndrome - refining measurement approaches to improve understanding of the behavioral phenotype
Jason WolffAutism Spectrum Disorder certificate coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org | Lab
- Early brain and behavioral development in children with autism spectrum disorder
- Restricted and repetitive behaviors associated with autism and other developmental disabilities
- Identifying neurodevelopmental moderators of response to early intervention
- Integrating neuroscience with special education research