The Best Online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction 2020

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Online master's in curriculum and instruction programs appeal to teachers with classroom experience who want to advance their careers.

Students gain the skills needed to develop teaching standards and create educational materials and programs, preparing for in-demand jobs, such as instructional coordinator.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for instructional coordinators to grow 6% between 2018 and 2028. These professionals earned median annual salaries of $64,450 in 2018, with the top 10% of earners making more than $102,200 that year.

This guide ranks the best online master's in curriculum and instruction programs to help students find the right program for their needs. It also covers important information for prospective students, including common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.

Top 10 Online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Programs 2020

#1 Boston University Boston, MA
#2 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
#3 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
#4 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
#5 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
#6 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
#7 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
#8 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
#9 Texas A & M University - College Station College Station, TX
#10 George Mason University Fairfax, VA

The Best Online Master’s in Curriculum Instruction Degree Programs

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4

Michigan State University 

East Lansing, MI

About this school

Established in 1855, Michigan State University is a land-grant institution that serves around 100,000 students each year. The school's fully online master's degree in curriculum and instruction comprises 30 credits.

Students take professional development and inquiry core, concentration, and elective courses. The professional development and inquiry core comprises nine credits and includes a capstone course. Students choose from seven concentrations:

  • English language learning/English as a second language (ESL)
  • Educational technology
  • Science and mathematics educations
  • Educational psychology
  • Socio-cultural perspectives in teaching and learning
  • K-12 educational administration
  • Literacy and language instruction

Students can add additional specializations that lead to endorsements in content areas like reading, reading specialist, and ESL. All courses in the program cover P-12 education. Students culminate the degree with a synthesis paper and a professional portfolio.

Full-time learners can graduate in about one year. MSU offers three start dates per year. Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Candidates may submit GRE scores to bolster their applications, but MSU does not require them.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
80%
Percent Receiving Loans
41%
5

University of Florida 

Gainesville, FL

About this school

University of Florida offers 170 distance learning programs, including an online master's in curriculum and instruction with two tracks: educational technology and teacher leadership for school improvement. Both tracks comprise 36 credits.

Students pursuing the educational technology focus area take courses such as designing integrated media environments, distance teaching and learning, games and simulations for teaching and learning, and mobile technologies in education. Students pursuing the teacher leadership for school improvement path choose between seven specializations:

  • Reading
  • Secondary (6-12) science
  • Educational technology
  • ESOL
  • Media literacy
  • Secondary (6-12) mathematics
  • Interdisciplinary

The educational technology track prepares learners to work as educational technologists and instructional designers. The teacher leadership for school improvement option prepares students to work as master teachers, teacher leaders, and teacher researchers.

Starting in fall 2020, applicants do not need to submit GRE scores. Candidates should work full-time in education and hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit a statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
90%
Percent Receiving Loans
19%
6

University of Kansas 

Lawrence, KS

About this school

Established in 1866, the University of Kansas is a premier research institution that hosts more than 28,000 students annually across its five campuses and its online division. The school's online master's in curriculum and instruction blends practical skills with educational theory.

The 30-credit program includes 10 courses. Learners take classes such as multicultural education, constructivist learning technologies, pedagogical considerations in the 21st century classroom, and planning for school improvement. Students culminate the degree with a master's project.

The fully online program uses flexible, asynchronous classes. Each course lasts eight weeks, allowing learners to graduate in two years while taking one course at a time. Learners can connect with alumni through KU's flash mentoring program, which sets up 30-minute phone calls.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and submit three academic or professional letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a current resume or CV. Although not a requirement, KU strongly recommends that applicants have teaching experience.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
65%
Percent Receiving Loans
47%
7

University of Cincinnati 

Cincinnati, OH

About this school

The University of Cincinnati offers a variety of online undergraduate and graduate programs. About 87% of the school's online students receive job offers within 90 days of graduation. Students can choose from more than 100 online degrees, including a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

In addition to a general teaching and learning track, the program offers specializations in STEM education and gifted education. The 30-credit program includes 15 core credits and 15 specialization credits. Core courses include teaching and learning in diverse classrooms, educational research for masters students, and applications and issues of teaching with technology.

Degree candidates also complete clinical experiences, which can take place at their current places of work or other sites near their homes. During the STEM specialization, students learn how to encourage problem-solving and evidence-based learning in their classrooms. The gifted education focus area explores how to instruct gifted learners in P-12 settings and multicultural environments.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some candidates may need to submit GRE scores.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
68%
Percent Receiving Loans
52%
8

Florida State University 

Tallahassee, FL

About this school

Florida State University's College of Education dates back to 1905, making it the oldest education college in Florida. Students can pursue a fully online master's in curriculum and instruction that comprises seven core courses and four specialization courses.

Core classes include culturally responsive teaching, making sense of data to inform instruction, and teachers as informed curriculum decision-makers. The program offers eight specializations:

  • Social science education
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Science education
  • Early childhood education
  • Mathematics education
  • Elementary education
  • Foreign and second language education
  • English education

Some specializations require on-campus learning. All students culminate the degree with a portfolio. Learners begin the program in the fall.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit official GRE scores from the previous five years.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
83%
Percent Receiving Loans
32%
9

Texas A & M University - College Station 

College Station, TX

About this school

Established in 1876, Texas A&M University hosts more than 69,000 learners each year. Texas A&M offers 48 online graduate programs, including an online master's in curriculum and instruction.

This master of education program has a generalist focus. The 36-credit curriculum includes 15 core credits that cover cultural foundations of education, analysis of teacher behavior, and trends in curriculum and instruction. Students also complete two research courses and five electives, and they can optionally pursue specializations in STEM, reading and literacy, graduate teacher certification, or urban education. All learners culminate the degree with a reflective inquiry capstone course.

Learners can begin on one of three start dates per year. Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA and submit transcripts, two essays, and three letters of recommendation.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
82%
Percent Receiving Loans
32%
10

George Mason University 

Fairfax, VA

About this school

George Mason University is the largest public research university in the commonwealth, hosting more than 37,000 students from 50 states and 130 countries. Mason offers over 50 online and hybrid programs, including a master's in curriculum and instruction.

The program offers three primary specializations: learning technologies, literacy leadership for diverse schools, and advanced studies in teaching and learning (ASTL). Online students pursuing the learning technologies track choose between two concentrations: instructional design and technology and blended and online learning for schools. The literacy leadership track offers a hybrid concentration in K-12 reading specialist. ASTL concentrations include:

  • Advanced international baccalaureate concentration
  • Gifted child
  • Literacy P-12 classroom teachers
  • Literacy: reading specialist
  • Physical education
  • Special education
  • Teacher leadership
  • Mathematics specialist leader (K-8)
  • Transformative teaching

The programs comprise 30-39 credits, depending on the student's specialization. Mason offers many of these programs fully online, though some specializations require on-campus components. In-person requirements may include summer intensives.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
70%
Percent Receiving Loans
53%
11

North Carolina State University 

Raleigh, NC

About this school

North Carolina State University is a public research institution that hosts more than 36,000 students each year. NC State's College of Education offers a hybrid master's in curriculum and instruction that focuses on new literacies and global learning (NLGL).

Learners can earn a 30-credit master of education (M.Ed.) or a 36-credit master of science in education. Both tracks include four core classes: new literacies and media, theory and research in global learning, teacher as a researcher, and teachers as leaders. The programs offer four concentrations: K-12 reading certification, middle grades English language arts, secondary English, and secondary social studies.

All students complete a capstone course during their final semester and present their projects at a showcase. MS students also complete thesis and research courses. The M.Ed. program prepares students to advance their teaching careers or enter administrative positions. The MS program prepares learners for research-intensive jobs or doctoral programs.

The hybrid programs use a cohort format. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and teaching experience and submit three letters of recommendation.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
81%
Percent Receiving Loans
47%
12

Ohio University 

Athens, OH

About this school

Founded in 1804 as the state's first university, Ohio University hosts 11 campuses across Ohio, plus an online division. The school's Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education boasts a 125-year history and offers an online master's in curriculum and instruction.

This 30-credit program includes courses such as teacher as action researcher, foundations of language and diversity, and advanced studies of children and adolescents. The program also includes clinical requirements that students can complete at their current places of employment. Students can work with academic advisors to add additional courses for endorsements or specializations.

The program follows standards set by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, preparing graduates for certification. The fully online program features mostly asynchronous courses.

Candidates need a bachelor's degree and teaching certification in any age range. They must also remain employed in education for the duration of the program. Applicants must submit a personal statement and two copies of their official transcripts.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
64%
Percent Receiving Loans
66%
13

University of Nebraska 

Lincoln, NE

About this school

The University of Nebraska system comprises four regionally accredited universities that share the same online programs and distance education software. This agreement gives learners access to many educational opportunities, including 51 online master's degrees related to education. The system offers an online master's in curriculum and instruction with 11 specializations:

  • Montessori - elementary I
  • Montessori - early childhood
  • Instructional effectiveness
  • Reading/special education
  • School librarian
  • Elementary education
  • Early childhood education
  • Secondary education
  • STEM
  • Transitional certification
  • English as a second language

The fully online program requires 36 credits. Some specializations have practicum requirements, which students can complete at their current workplaces. Most courses use asynchronous learning, though some may require specific meeting times.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA and submit transcripts and a professional biography. Students can begin on one of three start dates per year.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
69%
Percent Receiving Loans
46%
14

University of Maine 

Orono, ME

About this school

Established in 1865, the University of Maine is a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution that offers more than 100 online degrees, including a fully online master of education in curriculum, assessment, and instruction.

The 33-credit program includes core courses such as classroom practice to improve learning, dynamics of the curriculum, and prevention and intervention in school settings. Learners can design their own concentrations, focusing on a content area or pursuing formal certificates. Certificate options include classroom technology integrationist, positive behavior intervention and support, early childhood teacher, instructional design, and high leverage practices to promote inclusion.

The online master's in curriculum and instruction prepares graduates to work in elementary and secondary education. Students can take part- or full-time course loads.

Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit an essay describing their motivations. UMaine recommends that applicants submit letters of recommendation. UMaine accepts online applications on a rolling basis.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
60%
Percent Receiving Loans
66%
15

Kansas State University 

Manhattan, KS

About this school

Founded in 1863, Kansas State University educates more than 22,000 learners each year. K-State's online learning department offers more than 100 programs, including a master's in curriculum and instruction.

The 30-credit master of science program divides core courses into five areas: curriculum, research and scholarship, teaching and learning, educational technology, and diversity. Students can personalize the degree through one of the following specializations:

  • Educational technology
  • Teaching civics and government
  • English as a second language (ESL)
  • Reading specialist
  • Learning skills/school improvement
  • Mathematics education

The fully online program features mostly asynchronous learning. Graduates can advance into doctoral programs, work as master teachers, or find administrative positions. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the final 60 credits. They must also submit three references, a resume, and unofficial transcripts.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
64%
Percent Receiving Loans
48%
16

University of North Texas 

Denton, TX

About this school

Established in 1890, the University of North Texas is one of the largest public universities in the country, serving more than 38,000 learners each year. The school offers a fully online master's in curriculum and instruction that comprises 30 credits.

Students take core classes such as schooling in a multicultural society, research in classroom settings, curriculum development, and advances in teaching. The program offers several specializations, including bilingual education, mathematics education, diversity, literacy education, and early childhood education.

Prospective students must apply to UNT through two steps. First, candidates must gain acceptance to the Toulouse Graduate School. This step requires official transcripts and GRE scores. Then, candidates can apply to the College of Education. Applicants to the education school need a minimum 2.88 GPA and a valid Texas teaching certificate. They must also submit an essay, a letter of intent, and a letter of recommendation.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
53%
Percent Receiving Loans
51%
17

Texas Tech University 

Lubbock, TX

About this school

Established in 1925, Texas Tech University is the largest comprehensive research university in west Texas, educating more than 38,000 learners each year. The Texas Tech College of Education offers an online master's in curriculum and instruction that comprises 36 credits.

Learners take 18 core credits and 18 elective credits. Students can use electives to design their own concentrations or pursue one of the following formal concentrations:

  • Curriculum studies/teacher education
  • Bilingual education and English as a second language
  • Language and literacy education
  • Blended learning/personalized learning
  • STEM

Students can take courses from other programs at Texas Tech to support their career goals. For example, candidates may take science courses to earn teaching certification in science. All students culminate the fully online program with a capstone course or comprehensive exam.

The curriculum prepares graduates to work in public education, business, and government. Texas Tech offers three start dates per year. Prospective students must submit transcripts, a resume, writing samples, and two professional recommendations.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
60%
Percent Receiving Loans
44%
18

Bowling Green State University 

Bowling Green, OH

About this school

At Bowling Green State University, 97% of students start their own businesses, find employment, or enter graduate programs within six months of graduation. The school offers an online master's in curriculum and teaching with a variety of potential endorsements and certificates.

The program includes core classes such as curriculum inquiry, classroom technology for teachers, advanced pedagogy and best practices, and curriculum issues and trends. Students take 12 elective credits, which they can apply toward the following professional endorsements and certificates:

  • Assistive technology certificate
  • Workforce development certificate
  • Autism spectrum disorders certificate
  • Secondary transition certificate
  • Instructional design certificate
  • Computer technology endorsement
  • Reading endorsement
  • Early childhood generalist endorsement

These certificates and endorsements allow graduates to pursue specialized career paths after graduation, even outside the education field. For example, graduates with a workforce development certificate may train employees in the business sector. All students culminate the degree with a thesis or final project.

The fully online program features seven-week courses. Applicants must submit official transcripts and recent scores from the GRE, Praxis, or Ohio Assessment for Educators.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
56%
Percent Receiving Loans
67%
19

University of North Dakota 

Grand Forks, ND

About this school

The University of North Dakota hosts more than 13,000 students through a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Learners enjoy an average class size of 24 students and tuition fees 13% lower than similar universities in the region. Students can choose from more than 250 programs, including an online master's in curriculum and instruction.

The program offers a 34-credit thesis option and 32-credit non-thesis option. Both tracks require courses such as models of teaching, multicultural education, assessment of learning, and differentiated instruction. Degree candidates enjoy the option to add minors or cognate areas to their programs.

UND offers two tracks for students with different educational backgrounds. The first track offers guidance and mentoring for first-year teachers with bachelor's degrees in education. The other track is for learners with bachelor's degrees in other areas and leads to initial teaching licensure.

Learners can complete the program in two years. Coursework takes place fully online, though some program options require fieldwork in the student's community. UND offers three start dates per year.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
55%
Percent Receiving Loans
63%
20

Florida International University 

Miami, FL

About this school

Florida International University is one of the biggest universities in the United States. More than 42,000 learners take online classes with FIU each year. Students can choose from a variety of fully online programs, including a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

The program leads to a master of science in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in curriculum development. The 36-credit curriculum includes courses such as learning styles applications, foundations of educational research, developing a global perspective, and education of the child in urban society. Learners work on an action research project throughout the program.

This degree emphasizes how educators can create curricula to meet the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms. Students complete six accelerated, eight-week terms, graduating in one year.

The program offers two start dates each year. Candidates need a teaching license and a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA during the final 60 credits.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
58%
Percent Receiving Loans
22%
21

East Carolina University 

Greenville, NC

About this school

East Carolina University serves more than 28,000 learners annually through a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. ECU offers 70 master's degrees, including an online master's in curriculum and instruction.

This master of arts in education comprises 36-39 credits. Core requirements cover three competency areas: diverse learners; research, trends, and issues; and effective communication and leadership. Learners also choose between two teaching areas: English and history/social studies. Graduates qualify for M-level teacher licensure in North Carolina.

Applicants need A-level licensure in North Carolina and a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 2.7 GPA. They must also submit GMAT or GRE scores.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
65%
Percent Receiving Loans
66%
22

Portland State University 

Portland, OR

About this school

Portland State University is the most diverse public university in Oregon and educates more than 27,000 learners each year. The school offers over 200 programs and an average student-to-faculty ratio of 18-to-1. PSU's College of Education offers both an online MA and an online MS in curriculum and instruction.

Core courses in both programs include theoretical models of curriculum, guidance for classroom teachers, issues in education, and teacher leadership. Degree candidates can use electives to earn endorsements in early intervention special education, reading, or special education. Students can also earn certificates of completion in the following subjects:

  • Asperger's and high functioning autism
  • Teacher leadership
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Literacy education
  • Early childhood education

The program features a cohort model, cultivating collaboration and discussion among students. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit an essay, unofficial transcripts, a resume, and two references.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
49%
Percent Receiving Loans
45%
23

University of Memphis 

Memphis, TN

About this school

The University of Memphis offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines, including a master of science in instruction and curriculum leadership. The program offers three paths: instructional design and technology (IDT), school library information specialist (SLIS), and literacy.

Each path features unique curricula and career opportunities. Graduates with the IDT degree can work in K-12 education or private businesses. The SLIS program leads to a P-12 library information specialist endorsement, allowing graduates to work in public school libraries. This program can also lead to initial teaching licensure. The literacy program prepares students to work with children in a variety of settings, including in the classroom.

All pathways use fully online coursework. Depending on licensure requirements, some learners may need to complete fieldwork at a local school.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
48%
Percent Receiving Loans
56%
24

University of Idaho 

Moscow, ID

About this school

Established in 1889, the University of Idaho enrolls more than 11,000 students annually. The university offers an average student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1, with 94 undergraduate major options and 62 graduate programs. U of I's online master's degree in curriculum and instruction emphasizes teacher education.

Learners study topics such as assessment and evaluation, diversity, philosophy and educational organization, and research. Students can customize their degree plans around their interests and goals. All students must culminate the degree with an inquiry project, professional alternative exploration, or professional portfolio.

U of I recommends this program for professionals with at least three years of teaching experience who want to engage in educational research. Graduates can work as master teachers, supervisors, curriculum specialists, and administrators.

U of I offers three annual start dates for this program. Candidates need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants who do not meet GPA requirements may earn conditional admission. Candidates must also submit writing samples from previous academic work, such as thesis papers, journal articles, or term papers.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
59%
Percent Receiving Loans
52%
25

Ball State University 

Muncie, IN

About this school

Ball State University set an enrollment record of 22,541 learners in the fall of 2019. In the previous five years, the public university saw graduate student enrollment increase by more than 26%. The school offers diverse online undergraduate and graduate programs, including an online master's in curriculum and educational technology.

The 30-credit program focuses on technology integration in K-12 classrooms. Core classes include curriculum integration of learning technology, evaluation of educational programs, technology policy and pedagogy, and research on the impact of student learning. Students choose between two specializations: curriculum or educational technology.

Learners can also earn the school's certificate in computer education without any additional credits. The fully online program uses an asynchronous format and offers three annual start dates.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university with a minimum 2.75 GPA and must also submit transcripts.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
63%
Percent Receiving Loans
66%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Programs

Online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Choosing an Online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Program

When researching online master's in curriculum and instruction programs, students should consider factors such as program cost, transfer policies, and on-campus requirements. The following list outlines several important considerations for prospective students.

Program Cost

Public schools typically cost less than private schools, and in-state students often pay less than out-of-state students. However, many schools allow all online students to pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency, so be sure to do your research.

Transfer Policies

Many schools offer transfer credits for prior academic, professional, volunteer, or military experience. Generous transfer policies can help students save time and money on a degree.

School Size and Type

A school's size and type can affect factors like cost, class sizes, and student engagement. For example, a small private school may cost more but also offer more individualized attention from faculty than a larger public school.

Program Length

While most programs require two years of full-time study, some programs offer accelerated timelines that allow students to graduate in just one year.

On-Campus Requirements

Some online master's in curriculum and instruction programs have on-campus requirements. Students should ensure they can meet these requirements before committing to a program.

Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements

Some programs require learners to write a thesis, while others require an in-person practicum. Students should choose a program with requirements that align with their interests and goals.

What Is Curriculum and Instruction?

Curriculum and instruction professionals often work in public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, developing and implementing new teaching standards, educational programs, and instructional materials. They may also work in social service agencies focused on adult education or oversee training programs for businesses or nonprofit organizations.

Students pursuing an online master's degree in curriculum and instruction can often specialize the degree through concentrations in areas such as adult education, gifted education, inclusive classroom instruction, and special education. Many master's in curriculum and instruction programs require applicants to have some relevant experience. They also typically need a bachelor's degree in a related field.

What Is a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Degree?

A master's degree in curriculum and instruction gives learners the skills and knowledge they need to oversee curricular decision-making. Students learn how to create protocols for differentiated learning; evaluate new textbooks and teaching materials; create plans and programs aligned to testing standards; and meet local, state, and federal regulations. They also learn how to train teachers in new methodologies.

Most degree-seekers have at least two years of classroom experience when they apply. Earning a master's in curriculum and instruction online gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Graduates can make informed decisions, implement large-scale plans, and provide leadership through times of transition.

What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Program?

Master's in curriculum and instruction programs commonly examine topics such as student learning assessments, differentiated instruction, and curriculum design and evaluation. In addition to coursework, these programs may have thesis or practicum requirements.

Students can further specialize their skills through related certificates in areas like instructional assessments; elementary, middle, or high school curriculum and instruction; and special education curriculum development.

Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Program Courses

  • Theories of Learning: This survey class provides an overview of various learning theories and how they inform personal learning, cognition, behavior, and growth mindsets. Students examine both historic and contemporary learning theories.
  • Teaching Diverse Learners: This course focuses on creating differentiated learning approaches for learners with various learning abilities and exceptionalities. Students learn how to provide culturally sensitive teaching materials to support learners from myriad backgrounds. They also learn teaching approaches for gifted and special education programs.
  • Educational Psychology: Educational psychology examines psychological theories and principles used in developing and implementing instructional materials. Students explore topics like social development, cognitive development, and cultural awareness.
  • Curriculum Design: This course covers curriculum design theories and how they relate to educational standards set by schools and governments. Students gain skills in curriculum development, design, and modification.
  • Pedagogy: This course examines teaching methods and instructional strategies. Learners study topics like activity design, memory and metacognition, learning theories, and mental models and conceptual change.

Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Certifications and Licenses

Many curriculum and instruction professionals need a state license to work in public schools. Professionals may need a teaching license or an educational administrator license if working as instructional coordinators. Educational administrator licensure requirements vary by state, but they typically include a master's degree from an accredited institution, previous teaching experience, and completion of a practicum.

Licensure candidates may also need to take edTPA or Praxis exams or a subject area test. Additionally, some states may require national board certification. Because every state sets unique requirements, newly located instructional coordinators may need to meet additional requirements to earn licensure in a new state.

Curriculum and Instruction Careers

Graduates with a master's degree in curriculum and instruction can pursue roles in classroom teaching, administration, curriculum design and implementation, and teacher coaching. Below, we cover several common careers and potential salaries for graduates.

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators work with school administrators, teachers, and local boards of education to design and implement new teaching standards and instructional materials. They also train educators on how to implement new materials and standards.

Instructional coordinators need relevant work experience and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction or a related field. Some states also require these professionals to hold a teaching or education administrator license.

Median Annual Salary

$64,450

Projected Growth Rate

6%

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work in K-12 settings at public and private schools, instructing students with learning exceptionalities. They conduct individual assessments to provide appropriate instruction and work with other teachers to ensure activities engage learners at their ability levels.

Special education teachers need at least a bachelor's degree in education or a related field. Some states require a degree in special education, while others accept general degrees in education or particular content areas. All public schools also require state licensure.

Median Annual Salary

$59,780

Projected Growth Rate

3%

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

These professionals help K-6 students develop the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to advance to middle school. They develop and teach lesson plans, create assessments, and grade assignments.

K-6 teachers need at least a bachelor's degree in education. Some states require teachers to hold a degree in one or more subject areas, such as math, reading, or music, and to have student-teaching experience. Teachers in public schools also need state licensure.

Median Annual Salary

$57,980

Projected Growth Rate

3%

High School Teachers

High school teachers instruct students in grades 9-12. They teach individual subjects and AP courses, help learners prepare for standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, and write letters of recommendation for students applying to college.

High school teachers need at least a bachelor's degree. They also need state licensure if they want to work in a public school.

Median Annual Salary

$60,320

Projected Growth Rate

4%

School Principals

School principals oversee K-12 learning institutions. They manage staff, develop class schedules, set and maintain curricular standards, and provide student discipline when needed. They also communicate with parents about student progress.

School principals need a master's degree in education administration or a related subject. They also need teaching experience and a school administrator license when working in a public school.

Median Annual Salary

$95,310

Projected Growth Rate

4%

Accreditation for Online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Degree Programs

When researching prospective online master's in curriculum and instruction programs, students should consider a school's accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to faculty quality, academic rigor, and student learning outcomes. Only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and credits from accredited institutions. Many employers also prefer candidates with an accredited degree.

Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. Programs within a school may also receive accreditation, such as social work, business, and education programs. The Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation accredits education programs.

Curriculum and Instruction Professional Organizations

Curriculum and instruction students and professionals benefit from joining professional organizations, which often offer networking opportunities, continuing education courses, and professional resources. They may also provide access to advocacy services, professional discounts, and conferences and workshops.

Association of American Educators

AAE is the largest nonunion association dedicated to professional educators. Members can access professional resources, scholarships and grants, state chapters and partnerships, and several in-house publications.

American Federation of Teachers

AFT represents more than 1.7 million educators throughout the United States. The organization provides legislative advocacy and offers networking opportunities.

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

ASCD is an international organization that represents more than 113,000 supervision and curriculum development professionals across 130 countries. Members can access industry publications, professional learning opportunities, annual conferences, and a subscription to Educational Leadership.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can You Do With a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction?

Graduates with a master's in curriculum and instruction can work as administrators and instructional coordinators in public and private K-12 settings, developing and implementing new curricula and standards.

What Is Curriculum and Instruction?

Curriculum and instruction involves ensuring that teaching materials follow best practices, meet state testing standards, and promote strong student learning outcomes.

What Does a Curriculum and Instruction Specialist Do?

These professionals review and implement new teaching materials, set education standards, and help teachers adjust to new curricula.

How Long Is a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Degree?

An online master's in curriculum and instruction typically takes two years of full-time study to complete, though some programs offer accelerated timelines.

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