Special education M.Ed. & teacher licensures

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

Special education M.Ed. & teacher licensures

Teach special education for young people birth through age 21

As a special education teacher candidate, you'll be trained to use the IDEAL Problem Solving Model in special education to:

  • Identify the problem
  • Define the problem
  • Explore alternative solutions
  • Apply solutions
  • Look at the effects of solutions

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

Comparison: M.Ed. vs. licensure

Licensure only vs. licensure and degree

Enrollment in the M.Ed. degree program is required to obtain initial licensure. Students are usually eligible for licensure near degree completion. Students interested in adding a special education license to an existing license may enroll in the M.Ed. or additional licensure program.

M.Ed. degree requirements

A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the M.Ed. degree. Depending on the licensure you choose, an additional 12.5 - 31 credits may be required. Prior equivalent coursework may be substituted for some courses (maximum 12 credits). You and your advisor will review specific requirements once you are admitted.

Licensure requirements

Course requirements vary by licensure program. Depending on the licensure you choose, an additional 12.5 - 31 credits may be required. Prior equivalent coursework may be substituted for some courses (maximum 12 credits). You and your advisor will review specific requirements once you are admitted.


Dual programs

The Academic Behavior Strategist (ABS) license is generally the first special education license teachers obtain. An ABS license qualifies you to work with students with mild to moderate disabilities. After earning your ABS license, you're strongly encouraged to choose an anchor or area of moderate-severe disabilities to specialize in and add to your license, including:

  • ABS licensure + Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) anchor
  • ABS licensure + Developmental Disabilities (DD) anchor
  • ABS licensure + Learning Disabilities (LD) anchor

Single programs

We also offer core licenses which do not require an ABS license and allow for specialization in the following areas:


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


Fellowships & awards

Submit your application materials by Dec. 1, and you’ll automatically be considered for Graduate School fellowships and departmental awards based on scholastic achievement. Notification of awards will be sent in March.

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

"The College of Education and Human Development is a community where the staff are knowledgeable, experts within their fields, and provide real life classroom situations. The individuals within CEHD will selflessly make themselves available to you in order to help you succeed and go far. This is how I knew that this was the perfect program for me."

Yakira Moore headshot

Yakira MooreM.Ed. student | moor0808@umn.edu

Interests: Educating parents and students about the vast amount of possibilities available for them and the different accomplishments they can have, because they are exceptional individuals.

Work: Yakira's practicum experience was at Northern Voices and Humboldt High School. She currently student teaches at Humboldt High School.

Future plans: To help student's, their families, and fellow teachers navigate through the difficult and complicated world of Special Education. She also plans on continuing her education in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Special Education or Deaf Education.


For general questions, contact sped-adm@umn.edu

Janet Caven headshot

Janet Cavenjcaven@umn.edu

  • Language and literacy development in learners who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • Effective teaching preparation to meet the needs of diverse learners using differentiated instruction and assessment
Dave Edwards headshot

Dave Edwardsedwar375@umn.edu

  • 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 Fleury headshot

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
Debbie Golos headshot

Debbie Golos 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 Johnson headshot

LeAnne JohnsonEarly childhood special education licensure & M.Ed. coordinator
chaf0032@umn.edu | 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
Michelle Marchant-Wood headshot

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

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

Jennifer McComasAssociate department chair, head emotional behavioral disorders licensure & M.Ed. program

  • 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
Kathy Seifert headshot

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

  • Adult literacy
  • Effective teacher preparation
Virginia Zeyer headshot

Virginia ZeyerDevelopmental disabilities supervisor and advisor; instructor

  • Developmental cognitive impairments
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Transition programming
  • Assistive technology
  • Work Based Learning options for students with disabilities
  • Professional development for teachers, paraprofessionals and parents
  • College accommodations for students with disabilities