Special education BS and ABS licensure

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Special education BS and ABS licensure

Earn your degree and teaching license in four years

Become an expert at meeting students’ needs by providing individualized instruction to students with disabilities in grade K through age 21. The program leads to an Academic and Behavioral Strategist (ABS) teaching license, which qualifies you to teach students with mild-moderate disabilities in the following areas:

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


  • Your BS coursework can be applied to advanced licenses in early childhood special education (ECSE) and Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH). Should you choose to apply for your master of education (MEd) degree, additional requirements for these advanced licenses will be fulfilled as part of your master's coursework.
  • Careers

    • Elementary, middle, and high schools
    • 18-21 transition programs
    • Social service agencies

    Get more information on careers in special education.

    Interested in making a difference in the field of special education, but don’t want to be a teacher?

    Check out our foundations of special education for schools and society degree.

    Tuition & financial aid

    Visit the College of Education and Human Development's Tuition and financial aid page for more information on available financial aid.

    Financial aid

    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.


    Special education scholarships, fellowships, and awards

    Incoming first-year students who are interested in special education are automatically considered for the Campbell Scholarship for Education. Visit the Office of Admissions scholarships page for more information on this and additional CEHD scholarships available to incoming first-year students.

    Learn more about teaching scholarships available to undergraduates in the College of Education and Human Development.

    Shane Barton headshot
    Through the special education program, I completed at least one practicum every semester. This allowed me to get practical, real-world experience while learning about important teaching concepts.

    Shane Barton, BS '17
    Special Education Teacher

    Faculty and staff

    Rob Henery head shot

    Robert HeneryLecturer

    • Preparing teachers to:
      • Meet behavioral challenges in schools
      • Take on leadership roles in schools and districts
    • Prejudice and stereotyping in school settings
    • Stimulus equivalence
    • Teacher preparation
    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
    Jennifer McComas headshot

    Jennifer McComasProgram coordinator, head special education MA with emphasis in ABA and emotional behavioral disorders licensure and MEd programs
    jmccomas@umn.edu | Lab

    • 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
    Charissa O'Neill headshot

    Charissa O'NeillField placement coordinator
    coneill@umn.edu | Make an appointment

    • Diversity in teacher preparation programs
    • Early intervention
    • Inclusive classrooms
    Laura Paczkowski headshot

    Laura PaczkowskiAcademic advisor

    • Academic advising
    Kathy Seifert headshot

    Kathy SeifertDirector of undergraduate studies

    • Adolescent literacy
    • Effective teacher preparation


    Kathy Seifert

    Director of Undergraduate Studies


    Laura Paczkowski

    Academic advisor