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Special Education: Graduate Degree Programs

The University of Tennessee offers distinctive pathways to earn a graduate or advanced degree in Special Education or Applied Behavior Analysis.

Through our Special Education graduate programs, we provide advanced professional training and development to individuals who want to teach children with disabilities from kindergarten through high school.  These programs include an initial licensure option for teachers who are teaching on a practitioner license or teachers already TN certified in another field and seeking an additional licensure endorsement in Special Education. Additionally, for teachers who already are licensed in Special Education, the Educational Studies program can advance your knowledge and qualifications.

Special Education, Master of Science, Professional Internship (initial licensure)

Educational Studies, Master of Science, Special Education (already licensed)

Practitioner, Master of Science, Special Education  (job-embedded)

Applied Behavior Analysis & Advanced Degrees

The Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program prepares teachers and professionals to use the science of applied behavior analysis and encompasses the Verified Course Sequence (VCS) required to apply to become a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

The TPTE Departments provides the Verified Course Sequence* (VCS) approved by the Association for Behavior Analysis International® as meeting the coursework requirements to take the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) exam. The VCS is available as an option for students enrolled in graduate, degree-seeking programs in Applied Behavior Analysis, Special Education, and School Psychology.


The Education Specialist (EdS)  degree is an advanced program for practicing educators dedicated to preparing teachers for leadership roles. Students with a variety of undergraduate experiences who are dedicated to helping improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities are encouraged to apply to these graduate programs.

The Doctorate in Special Education, Deaf Education & Interpreter Education (PhD) is designed to prepare teachers and professionals for leadership positions in special education or ABA in a school, college, university, or research setting. Our doctoral students work closely with their advisors to create highly tailored programs of study that include advanced coursework in special education and research methodologies and opportunities to gain a broader perspective and insight into specialized topics. Successful PhD applicants may be eligible for assistance in the form of funding for tuition, health insurance, and competitive stipends.

Tara C. Moore, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Associate Professor, Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education