Graduate Special Education Licensure with Optional Master of Science in Teaching

Special Education Licensure with Optional Master of Science in Teaching

Program Philosophy

The College of St. Scholastica's Graduate Special Education Licensure Program is an innovative online program designed to provide professional preparation of teachers for the Minnesota Academic and Behavioral Strategist (K-12) licensure. The licensure program will allow practicing novice, apprentice, and veteran educators the opportunity to extend their teaching credentials, advance their teaching practices and enhance their work with learners with exceptionalities. Members of the program will be prepared to work with students with mild to moderate needs in the categories of: autism spectrum disorders (ASD), developmental cognitive disability (DCD), emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD), other health disorders (OHD), and specific learning disabilities (SLD)s. The ABS program is premised on the belief that all learners are valued individuals who must be treated with respect and dignity. All learners, including those with exceptionalities, deserve an educational experience in which they are given every opportunity to learn and become contributing members of their communities. Thus, the ABS program will build reflective practitioners who work to facilitate inclusion as a way to meet the needs of academically and behaviorally diverse learners in order to provide them the educational experiences in which they are encouraged, valued, and respected. In addition to fostering students' efficacy, addressing the attitudes and biases of others toward individuals with exceptionalities is equally important. The program reinforces the need to embrace all students' strengths, and increase candidates' knowledge of exceptionalities in an effort to reframe attitudes, and the construction of attitudes, toward and about exceptionalities in our schools and the community.

Program Description and Format
The Academic and Behavioral Strategist Licensure Program (ABS) prepares students for an additional Minnesota teaching license that may lead to an optional Master of Science in Teaching degree. It is designed for certified teachers who wish to add another endorsement to their Minnesota teaching license, though is open to those in other fields that would benefit from the curriculum. The program allows for flexibility due to online learning design. Field experiences occur in a variety of school settings and require some school day hours. Working teachers may be able to complete some hours while on the job. Students can complete the program in under 2 years, provided they have the necessary pre-requirements. The program is standards-based and emphasizes active, results-oriented learning.

Admissions Requirements
The Special Education Licensure Program will consider applicants who:

  • Submit a completed Graduate Admissions Application form.
  • Have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Submit all official transcripts of baccalaureate and graduate coursework.
  • Have earned a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.8.
  • Submit a complete Special Education Program Application Essay.
  • Submit two completed, professional Graduate Recommendation forms
  • Initiate and receive a clear background check if you are not currently working in a Minnesota school
  • Submit a completed Student Immunization form.
  • Submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) test scores, including the TWE (Test of Written English) essay rating. A score of 550 on the written test, score of 213 on the computer-based test or a score of 79 on the iBT TOEFL test or a four on the TWE essay rating are required for admission. The British International English Test (IELTS), will also be acceptable, a minimum score of 6.5 is required for admission.

Note: Meeting minimal entrance requirements does not necessarily guarantee admission. Exceptions to minimum criteria may be made at the discretion of the admissions committee. The admissions committee may choose to interview applicants.


Students must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.

Application Deadline

See the Academic and Behavioral Strategist website or call the Graduate Admissions office for admissions due dates. The web address is or call (218) 723-6285.

The Academic and Behavioral Licensure Program grants acceptance in the following categories:

  • Full Acceptance: granted to those students who meet all admission requirements.
  • Provisional Acceptance: granted to those students who have not submitted all required materials but who otherwise have met the admission requirements. Students are allowed one semester to submit remaining credentials and are not eligible for financial aid until full acceptance is attained.
  • Probational Acceptance: may be granted to those students with cumulative GPA below the 2.8 requirement, but have strong Graduate Recommendations, and a strong Application Essay. The student must then achieve a 3.0 after completion of their first term to receive financial aid.

Transfer Credits

Students may transfer graduate credits they have earned from an accredited college or university toward completion of their St. Scholastica program. A maximum of six transfer credits can be applied towards the master's degree. The College of St. Scholastica will consider transfer credits from students who:

  • Submit an official transcript sent from the accredited institution;
  • Submit the course syllabus, catalog or other pertinent descriptive information;
  • Demonstrate that course content is applicable to the program enrolled;
  • Earn a course grade of "3.0" or better; and
  • Complete the course within seven years prior to graduating from the St. Scholastica program.
  • Students are advised to get pre-approval for before registering for courses they intend to transfer.

Academic and Behavioral Strategist (ABS) Licensing Requirements
The licensure program requires the completion of 32 graduate-level credits for those holding a current Minnesota teaching license.
Chair of Graduate Programs in Education: Chery Lucarelli, Ph.D.
Faculty Lead: Amy Murzyn, Ed.D.

Master of Science
The Master of Science degree requires the graduate-level licensure courses (32 credits) and 7 credits in educational research to complete the degree. Students have seven years from starting the ABS licensure program to complete the Master of Science degree. If students need other graduate-level credits, elective credits are available through our Master of Education program. Up to 6 graduate credits can be transferred in from another accredited institution with program approval.
EDU 6180 Understanding & Evaluating Educational Research, 3 cr.
EDU 6190 Using Data to Improve Student Learning, 4 cr.

Special Education Licensure Program Requirements (Academic and Behavioral Strategist K-12)

EDU 5600 Foundations of Special Education (3 cr)
EDU 5630 Collaboration Skills (3 cr)
EDU 5640 Behavior Theories, Analysis, and Interventions (3 cr)
EDU 5650 Assessment Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities (3 cr)
EDU 5670 Fundamental Characteristics of Mild/Moderate Disabilities (3 cr)
EDU 5660 Special Education Law (3 cr)
EDU 5680 Transitional Planning and Secondary Services for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities (3 cr)
EDU 5690 Instructional Strategies/Methods: Mild/Moderate Disabilities (3cr)
EDU 5605 Clinical Practicum and Seminar (4 cr)

**Elementary Reading Credits: EDU 5325 (2 cr) and EDU 5330 (2cr)
**may be waived for those with a Minnesota Elementary Education teaching license

Course Descriptions

Out of State Considerations and Those not Currently Licensed

Disclaimer: The Academic and Behavioral Strategist program at the College of St. Scholastica meets the add on licensing requirements of the state of Minnesota. You will need to check with your state education agency to determine if this program meets your state's licensing requirements. This program does not include Minnesota initial teacher preparation Standards of Effective Practice.