Special education MEd and teacher licensures

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Special education MEd and 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

Note: The ABS, EBD, and ECSE programs have extended their fall 2020 deadlines to July 15. Applicants will be notified of decisions by August 1.

Watch a recent info session on the program.

Rated #9 in the nation among special education graduate programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2020

Comparison: MEd vs. licensure

Licensure only vs. licensure and degree

Enrollment in the MEd 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 MEd or additional licensure program.

MEd degree requirements

A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the MEd 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. You and your advisor will review specific requirements once you are admitted.


ABS licensure

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 in the following areas:

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

Core licenses

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.


Project PACT

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

Scholarships, fellowships and awards

Special education scholarships, fellowships, and awards

College of Education and Human Development awards

Financial aid

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

How to apply

Student profile

"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 MooreMEd student | moor0808@umn.edu


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
Debbie Golos headshot

Debbie Golos Deaf/Hard of Hearing licensure and MEd 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
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
LeAnne Johnson headshot

LeAnne Johnson 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-WoodLicensure and MEd coordinator

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

Jennifer McComasProgram coordinator, head emotional behavioral disorders licensure and MEd and special education MA with emphasis in ABA and 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
Laura Paczkowski headshot

Laura PaczkowskiAcademic advisor

  • Academic advising
Brenna Rudolph headshot

Brenna RudolphEarly childhood special education coordinator, lecturer

Kathy Seifert headshot

Kathy SeifertDirector of undergraduate studies

  • Adult literacy
  • Effective teacher preparation