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

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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

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. During the program, you'll receive your initial ABS license which qualifies you to work with students with mild to moderate disabilities in the following areas:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Emotional and behavioral disorders
  • Learning disabilities
  • Other health disparities

Rated #5 in the nation among special education graduate programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2018


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 51.5 credits. Your total number of credits required may vary based on previous educational experience or licensures.

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)


Visit the College of Education and Human Development's Finance and Funding page for information on tuition.


Project PACT

Are you interested in a teaching license in Academic and Behavioral Strategist (ABS) or Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH), or cross collaboration between the two? Apply to Project PACT to get funding you need to support your tuition throughout your graduate program!

Financial aid

Visit OneStop Student Services for more information on available financial aid.


Visit the College of Education and Human Development’s Awards page for scholarship information.

How to apply

Faculty and staff

Michelle Marchant-Wood headshot

Michelle Marchant-WoodLicensure and M.Ed. coordinator

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

Kathy SeifertDirector of undergraduate studies

  • Adult literacy
  • Effective teacher preparation


Program contact

Alicia Vegell, program staff special education


University contacts

Disability Services