Academic Behavioral Strategist (A.B.S.) teaching licensure & M.Ed.

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College of Education and Human Development wordmark.
Department of Educational Psychology wordmark.

Academic Behavioral Strategist (A.B.S.)
teaching licensure and M.Ed.

Become certified to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities,
then specialize in one area of moderate to severe

Each student with a disability has a unique set of academic, behavioral, social, emotional, communication, and functional needs. The academic behavioral strategist (ABS) licensure program will prepare you to meet the needs of young people -- kindergarten through age 21 -- with mild to moderate disabilities. During the program, you'll receive your initial ABS license. You may choose to pursue a specialty license in moderate to severe autism, developmental disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, or learning disabilities to add to your license.

Rated #8 in the nation among special education graduate programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2017


Graduates of the academic behavioral strategist (ABS) licensure program:

  • Teach in classrooms, resource rooms, or 18-21 transition programs
  • Provide consulting to general classroom teachers
  • Work with students and their families directly as itinerant teachers
  • Serve students from kindergarten through 21 years old from a variety of cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic backgrounds


Most classes are offered in the evening—to allow students to maintain full time employment while completing course requirements—and are taught in person on the Minneapolis campus.

The ABS licensure and special education M.Ed. program require the completion of 30 to 42.5 credits. Your total number of credits required may vary based on previous educational experience or licensures. Additional credits will be required for the anchor license (see "Anchor licensure").

Sample plans/schedules:

Note: These plans are examples only. You'll work with your advisor to develop a couse schedule specific to your needs.

Core courses (17 credits)

  • EPSY 5613 – Foundations of Special Education (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5605 – Collaborative Practices for the Special Educator (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5614 – Assessment and Due Process in Special Education (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5616 – Classroom Management and Behavior Analytic Problem Solving (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5618 – Specialized Interventions for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities in Reading and Written Language (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5631 Module 1: Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (1 credit)
  • EPSY 5705 – Practicum in ECSE / Elementary settings (1 cr)

Required ABS licensure courses (22 credits)

  • EPSY 5604 – Transitions from Work to School or Community Settings for Persons with Sepcial Needs (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5611W – Research-Based Practices in Academic and Behavior Disabilities (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5617 – Academic and Social Interventions for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5619W – Specialized Interventions for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities in Mathematics (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5657 – Interventions for Behavior Problems in School Settings (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5704 – Practicum in Middle / Secondary Settings (1 credit)
  • EPSY 5741 – Student Teaching: Academic Behavior Strategist (6 credits)

Required courses for M.Ed. (2 credits)

Students seeking the ABS license only do not need to take this course.

  • EPSY 5690 – Experimental Teaching Seminar: M.Ed. Culminating Project (2 credits)

Initial licensure requirements (10.5 credits)

  • OLPD 5005 – School and Society ( 2 credits)
  • OLPD 5009 – Human Relations (1 cr)
  • PubH 6003 or 3005 – Fundamentals of Alcohol and Drug Abuse (1 cr)
  • CI 5307 – Technology (1.5 credits)
  • EPSY 5001 – Learning Cognition and Assessment (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5701 – Practicum: General Education Experience (2 credits)

Anchor licensure

Once enrolled in our program, you are strongly encouraged to choose an area of moderate-severe disabilities to add to your ABS (listed below). Depending on the license you choose, an advisor will work with you to select specific certain electives referenced in the University Catalog link above.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (18 credits)

Note: The ASD licensure requires more credits than the others listed below because it leads to a full birth - grade 12 ASD licensure.

  • EPSY 5632 – Module 2: Evidence-Based Methods for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Assessment and Intervention (2cr)
  • EPSY 5661 – Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders (3cr)
  • EPSY 5663 – Assessment and Intervention for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (3cr)
  • EPSY 5681 – Educating Preschoolers with Disabilities: Methods and Materials (3cr)
  • EPSY 5705 – Practicum: ECSE setting (1cr)
  • EPSY 5742 – Student Teaching: ASD (6cr)

Developmental disabilities (12 credits)

  • EPSY 5621 – Assessment and Instructional Design for Students with Developmental Disabilities (3cr)
  • EPSY 5622 – Programs and Curricula for Students with Developmental Disabilities (3cr)
  • EPSY 5624 – Biomedical and Physical Impairments of Students with Developmental Disabilities (2cr)
  • EPSY 5636 – Sensory Impairments of Students with Developmental Disabilities (2cr)
  • EPSY 5706 – Practicum in Moderate/Severe Developmental Disabilities (2cr) or EPsy 5755/6 – Student Teaching: Developmental Disabilities (6cr)

Learning disabilities (12 credits)

  • EPSY 5627 – Seminar: Advanced Issues in Learning Disabilities (3cr)
  • EPSY 5628 – Characteristics of Moderate/Severe Learning Disabilities (3cr)
  • EPSY 5629 – Strategic Instructional Methods for Students Academically At-Risk (3cr)
  • EPSY 5707 – Practicum in Moderate/Severe Learning Disabilities (3cr)

License exam requirements

Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exam (MTLE) Requirements

How to apply

Faculty and staff

Michelle Marchant-Wood headshot

Michelle Marchant-WoodABS licensure and M.Ed. coordinator, lecturer

  • Positive behavior support
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Multi-tiered systems of support
  • Teacher pedagogy
  • Applied behavior analysis
Kathy Seifert headshot

Kathy SeifertLearning disabilities and ABS licensure and M.Ed. program coordinator

  • Adult literacy
  • Effective teacher preparation


Program contact

Alicia Vegell, program staff special education


University contacts

Disability Services