Academic Behavioral Strategist (ABS) teaching licensure & MEd

Skip to main content

Academic Behavioral Strategist (ABS)
teaching licensure and MEd

Become licensed 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 prepares you to meet the needs of young people—kindergarten through age 21. The program prepares you to be recommended for an ABS license, which qualifies you to work with students in K-12 school systems with a broad array of mild to moderate disabilities in the following areas:

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


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

  • Teach in K-12 classrooms, resource rooms, or 18-21 transition programs
  • Collaborate/consult with general classroom teachers
  • Work with students and their families directly as itinerant teachers
  • Serve students 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 predominantly taught in person on the Minneapolis campus.

The ABS licensure and special education MEd program requires the completion of 30 to 49.5 credits. Your total number of credits required may vary based on previous educational experience or licensures.

Required ABS licensure courses (40 credits)

  • CI 5645 – Methods for Teaching English Learners (3 credits)
  • MTHE 5355 – Mathematics for Diverse Learners (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5604 – Transitions from Work to School or Community Settings for Persons with Special Needs (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5605 – Collaborative Practices for the Special Educator (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5613 – Foundations of Special Education (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 5617 – Academic and Social Interventions for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities (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 5657 – Interventions for Behavior Problems in School Settings (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5704 – Practicum in Middle / Secondary Settings (2 credits)
  • EPSY 5705 – Practicum in ECSE / Elementary settings (1 credit)
  • EPSY 5741 – Student Teaching: Academic Behavior Strategist (6 credits)
  • Required for initial licensure and MEd

  • EPSY 5699 – Experimental Teaching Seminar (2 credits)
  • OR

    Required for additional licensure and MEd or MEd only

  • EPSY 5991 – MEd Paper/Project Independent Study (2 credits)

Common content courses (7.5 credits)

  • OLPD 5005 – School and Society ( 2 credits)
  • OLPD 5009 – Human Relations (1 cr)
  • CI 5307 – Technology (1.5 credits)
  • EPSY 5001 – Learning Cognition and Assessment (3 credits)

Add an Autism Spectrum Disorder certificate

Help young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. The ASD certificate program helps educational professionals gain additional content knowledge about working with individuals with ASD. While the program does not prepare you to be a licensed teacher in the field of ASD, it does provide a focused set of expertise and an additional credential that may be embedded into other teacher licensure or MEd degree programs with minimal additional coursework.


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


Project I-LEAD

Project I-LEAD helps fund future special educators or school psychologists interested in supporting students with severe learning disabilities in schools. Get more information on Project I-LEAD.

Scholarships, fellowships and awards

Special education scholarships, fellowships, and awards

College of Education and Human Development awards

TEACH Grants

TEACH Grants are part of a federal program to provide financial support to students who will teach in a high need area at a low-income school for at least four years. Application information is available from Onestop on their grants and waivers page.

Financial aid

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

Faculty and staff

Amy Kunkel head shot

Amy KunkelAssistant teaching professor, special education licensure coordinator, ABS program lead

  • Effective preparation of future teachers of special and general education
  • Use of technology to augment learning and academic intervention
  • Dissemination of effective practices through teaching and meta-analysis of educational research
  • Functional assessment of behavior to fully support student engagement and communication
  • Multi-tiered systems of support and data-based decision making in K-12 education
Laura Paczkowski headshot

Laura PaczkowskiAcademic advisor

  • Academic advising
Kathy Seifert headshot

Kathy SeifertDirector of undergraduate studies

  • Adolescent literacy
  • Effective teacher preparation


Program contact

Laura Paczkowski

Academic advisor

University contacts

Disability Services