Online Master’s Programs In Curriculum and Instruction

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Earn an Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction

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There are many benefits to obtaining a master’s in curriculum and instruction. An online program allows students to balance education and career and allows teachers to incorporate differentiated instruction based on students’ specific areas of interest. Achieving a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction makes teachers more marketable and offers opportunities for increased pay. Find out more about master’s programs in curriculum and instruction, what types of courses are available, and opportunities for career advancement following graduation.

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A high-quality online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction should provide skills to improve classroom effectiveness and enhance student achievement. The data collated for these college rankings comes from the Department of Education, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, as well as each university’s own published materials. All schools included in this ranking are accredited.

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Top 10 Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction

Best Online Master’s in Education Curriculum & Instruction

  1. Mount Vernon Nazarene University
    Location

    Mount Vernon, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Mount Vernon Nazarene University's online Master of Arts in Education Teaching and Learning degree is a Christian-based program designed to allow flexibility, as students can choose their start dates and class schedules according to their preferred goals. The 31-credit program can be completed in 16 to 24 months, and students can take 1 or 2 classes at a time. The program is intended to improve teaching effectiveness and student performance. The courses operate in a cohort model, so that the same group of students proceeds through the courses together, which is meant to enhance the rapport. The program includes 7 courses that are required of all students, including a practitioner's project, as well as the choice of 6 elective courses in various specific subject areas such as adolescent literature; play, creativity and imagination; or curriculum leadership. To apply, prospective students must submit their free online applications as well as evidence of having earned baccalaureate degrees from accredited institutions with at least a 3.0 GPA, official transcripts from all institutions attended, a registration agreement form and an admissions interview. Those from countries outside the U.S. should also show evidence of English proficiency by submitting Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores of 70 or higher that were taken in the last 20 years. No GRE or GMAT scores are required for admission. MVNU offers several career-oriented events throughout the year to help students with career preparation such as resume writing and job searches.

  2. Missouri Baptist University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Master of Science in Education (M.S.E.) program at Missouri Baptist University can be completed either fully online or as a hybrid program that offers coursework both online and face-to-face. Courses are taught from a Christian point of view and are designed to prepare working adults for leadership positions in education, such as lead teacher in K-12 schools or coordinator for curriculum and instruction. Students can earn the M.S.E. by completing 31 credit hours comprised of M.S.E. core requirements, curriculum and instruction courses and special electives. Graduates must maintain cumulative GPAs that are at least 3.0 with only 2 C grades on coursework while enrolled in the program. The Continuing Portfolio Development course helps students build portfolios that showcase their curriculum and instruction work as they progress through the program. Students may take courses full or part time. To apply, students submit their free online applications along with official transcripts from all institutions attended showing GPAs of at least 2.75. A letter of recommendation from an employer or professional in the field and a professional statement also are required. The school stresses that students should complete their Free Applications for Federal Student Aid as part of their admissions process, as most students receive some form of financial aid. Both in-state and out-of-state students pay the same per-credit tuition, and fees aren't charged. Once students are enrolled, they have access to support services including video tutorials, articles, tools to help with time management and study skills and online help with papers. Students also gain access to tutoring assistance and counseling help.

  3. Columbia International University
    Location

    Columbia, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Columbia International is a Christian university that offers a fully online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Instruction and Learning that is taught through a biblical lens. The program is intended to prepare graduates for leadership positions in school settings, such as instructional supervisor, curriculum developer, school administrator or master teacher. This 30- to 33-credit program is composed of 3 foundation courses, 4 core courses and 4 generalist concentration courses. However, students may choose to replace those generalist concentration classes with individualized concentration courses related to their area of interest (for example, elementary or secondary education, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, or learning disabilities). The program can be completed in 2 to 4 years (it must be finished within 6), and it was developed to align with the Association of Christian Schools International's certification requirements. In order to earn the degree, students must complete their courses while maintaining GPAs of at least 2.7 and no grade lower than a C in any class. To apply, students must submit their online applications, as well as show evidence of earning their undergraduate degrees with GPAs of at least 2.7, GRE scores in at least the 50th percentile and demonstrated experience in the field, which may include 1 of the following: 2 years' classroom experience, current teaching licenses, undergraduate degrees in education or a minimum of 2 years' educational administration. Also required is a reference from a church leader who has known the student for at least 2 years and an application essay. Though tuitions don't vary between on-ground and online credits, online students are not charged certain fees that would apply only to on-campus students.

  4. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Christian-affiliated Liberty University's Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction prepares graduates for careers as elementary, middle school and special education teachers, as well as a wide range of related occupations, such as school technology director, technology instructor and curriculum development professional. Admission in good standing into this degree program requires possession of a regionally or nationally accredited bachelor's degree earned with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0, however, may still be admitted on caution at the discretion of the program. Candidates who have previously earned a master's degree or minimum of 12 graduate-level credits may be evaluated for admission based on their masters-level work. Additional admission requirements include submission of college transcripts, letter of recommendation and proof of English proficiency. LU's MEd in Curriculum and Instruction is offered with 11 specialization options, including Education Technology and Online Instruction, Gifted Education, Special Education, Student Services and Early Childhood Education. The program requires successful completion of 36 credit hours of coursework which includes an in-course field experience. The entire program is designed to be completed in less than 2 years. However, students may transfer in up to 50% of their credit hours upon program approval, providing the opportunity to substantially reduce the time needed to earn their degree. Credits may also be available for military training. Coursework is presented in an asynchronous format that allows students to login and complete their coursework on their own schedule. All coursework is completed 100% online. Active military, veterans, military spouses, and Department of Defense employees enjoy a substantial tuition discount.

  5. York College
    Location

    York, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction degree offered by Nebraska-based York College is designed for individuals either currently working or seeking to work in the education field in variety of positions, such as principal, teacher, project manager and development professional. Students receive a Christ-centered education that provides them with the knowledge and skills needed to develop curriculum and instruction training, and to create more effective learning environments. To be admitted into York College's online MA in Education program, an applicant must possess a bachelor's degree from a properly accredited college or university earned with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher. Admission of applicants whose degrees were earned from a non-accredited institution, such as an international program, will be considered on a case-by-case basis. An applicant with an undergraduate GPA of less than 2.5 who submits a written statement indicating their personal goals and aspirations will also be considered for admission. GRE test scores aren't required to apply. Students accepted into the degree program must successfully complete 36 credit-hours of coursework covering a wide range of core education and curriculum and instruction topics, including Research Design and Methodology, Learning through Technology, Effective Strategies of Instruction, and Curriculum Development and Design. The program concludes with completion of a capstone project in which the student presents a written report based on an action research plan created in the Research Design and Development course. All degree coursework is completed fully online with no specific class or login times and both full-time and part-time study options are available, allowing students to fit their coursework into their current work and life schedules.

  6. Concordia University-Saint Paul
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Concordia University's fully online Master of Arts in Education with an Emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction prepares licensed teachers to be experts in curriculum design, instruction and assessment, as well as the integration of national and state literacy standards into meaningful learning experiences for their students. The degree program additionally prepares educators to integrate use assessment and technology into their lesson plans. To qualify for admissions into this degree program an applicant must hold a bachelor's degree conferred by a regionally accredited college or university earned with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants must additionally submit a personal statement that demonstrates their written communication skills and covers their employment history and long-term academic and career goals. Students must successfully complete 30 credit hours (10 classes) of coursework to earn their MA degree. Course topics include Foundations of Literacy, Diversity in Education, Educational Research and Applications, and Legal and Ethical Issues in Education. Study culminates in a capstone project consisting of a review and critical analysis of a specific question regarding current educational research. By completing the coursework for the degree, students also qualify for the Minnesota K-12 Reading Endorsement. All coursework for CU's online MA in Curriculum and Instruction is delivered and completed entirely online. Distance learning students are, however, welcome to visit CU's St. Paul campus and meet with their instructors in person if they desire. In addition, online students have access to a number of resources and support services, such as academic counseling, online tutoring, the CU library and the IT Helpdesk.

  7. Texas A & M University-College Station
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Texas A&M's online non-thesis Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degrees are designed to provide students a solid foundation in theory, methodology, and substantive content that allows for greater educational opportunity and workplace access. Along with the generalist MEd, there are three online emphasis options available: Reading and Literacy, Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM), and Urban Education. All 4 degree options are available 100% online. To earn the MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, a student must successfully complete 36 credit hours of coursework consisting of 4 core curriculum courses common to all emphasis options, and 24 elective courses related to the student's chosen emphasis. In addition to earning their degrees, Reading and Literacy emphasis students have the option to pursue Texas state Reading Specialist and/or Master Reading Teacher Certifications. Acceptance into any of the 4 MEd in Curriculum and Instruction programs requires a bachelor's degree from a properly-accredited college or university earned with a recommended 2.75 minimum cumulative GPA. In addition, applicants must submit written answers to 2 essay questions (3 for STEM emphasis) and 3 letters of recommendation. International students must also submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores. GRE scores aren't required for application to this major. Texas A&M distance education students have access to a wide range of academic services and resources, including those provided by the Academic Success Center (academic coaching and tutoring, etc.), Career Center (job search, resume writing and interview prep, etc.), the University Writing Center (writing and public speaking support), and Help Desk Central (IT questions). Online students additionally have access to the university's library online database, book, ejournal, research and other services.

  8. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Florida's online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with Emphasis in Educational Technology is designed for students interested in careers as instructional designers and educational technologists. The 36-credit hour degree program includes 3 Curriculum and Instruction Core courses, 4 Education Technology core courses, and 6 Education Technology electives. The program culminates in a practicum in which the student poses a question related to technology and learning, develops a systemized way to gain insight into the question the practitioner inquiry process, and writes a master's-level document on the question and resulting findings. The program is designed to be completed in 2 years when taking 2 courses per session, but students may take more than 2 courses at a time or move more slowly through the curriculum, if preferred. All regular coursework can be completed fully online, and the culminating practicum is situated to the student's own current work context, meaning that no on-campus participation is necessary. UF online students enjoy a full range of support services including 1-on-1 academic and career counseling and full access to UF's online and on-campus library resources. To be admitted into this MEd program, a student must possess a bachelor's degree earned with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA on their last 60 credits of upper-division undergraduate work, and submit an acceptable GRE test score. Applicants must additionally submit 3 letters of recommendation, a resume describing their current employment and career goals, and a statement of purpose that explains how earning thier degree will enable them to best reach their career goals. Admission is determined holistically, based on an overall evaluation of the applicant's qualifications.

  9. University of Idaho
    Location

    Moscow, ID

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Idaho's online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree provides students with advanced professional and foundation coursework that emphasizes teacher education and prepares graduates for a variety of teaching and administrative careers. There are 2 degree emphasis options available: MEd in Curriculum and Instruction and MEd in Curriculum and Instruction plus Teacher Certification (which qualifies graduates to teach on the 6-12 grade levels in Idaho). Both options require satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours consisting of 15 credit hours of core courses and a minimum of 15 credit hours of emphasis-related courses. The program culminates with the completion and defense of a non-thesis research project. Courses are presented in an asynchronous format that allows students to complete coursework at their convenience. All coursework for this degree is available fully online. Admittance into the program requires possession of a bachelor's degree earned with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA. Students opting for the Teacher Certification emphasis must hold a bachelor's degree in one of the 18 content areas taught in an Idaho school for which UI has an approved program. Applicants not meeting the GPA requirement may still be admitted either with proof of a 3.0 GPA on the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate study or, alternatively, if the applicant has worked in the specific profession for at least 5 years, obtains a letter of support from a department faculty member, and submits a personal statement describing their professional experience and potential for academic success. Out-of-state online students pay the same tuition rates as Idaho residents.

  10. Northern Michigan University
    Location

    Marquette, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online program in Educational Instruction is 1 of 6 curricula offered by Northern Michigan University that leads to a master of arts in education. All graduate programs offered by NMU's School of Education, Leadership and Public Service prepare students to become educational leaders who are effective communicators, understand the role of education in society, and can successfully apply knowledge and learned skills in the education field. A foundational course helps students develop instructional strategies based on concepts from history, philosophy, sociology and psychology, while an instruction course focuses on improving teachers' classroom performance through clinical and developmental supervision. Sample courses in the 32-credit-hour Educational Instruction program include Cultural Foundations of Education, Psychology of Education, Curriculum Development, Supervision of Instruction, Issues and Trends in Special Education and Learning Technologies. To graduate with a M.A. in Educational Instruction degree, candidates must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and complete a graduate research project or a thesis. Courses are taught via EduCat, NMU's student learning portal, where students participate in real-time class chats and discussion forums, view videos or video-conference, receive and submit assignments, and take tests. All students enrolled in online courses must first complete an online course preparation tutorial to learn about the strategies, tools, and technology needed to be a successful online learner. Online students are assigned an academic adviser to assist with class registration, financial aid, and tutoring support. Military members may be eligible for special resources, including reduced tuition fees. Northern Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and all of the school's education programs by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.

What Can I Learn in an Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Program?

Typically, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction requires students to earn 30 to 36 credit hours, depending on the program. This usually takes two years. However, some online colleges offer an accelerated program which may be completed sooner. Students should expect to acquire the following skills from an online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction:

  • A deeper knowledge of educational research
  • A broader knowledge of teaching practices
  • Improved student ability assessment skills
  • The ability to recognize students who are struggling to keep up with classroom projects
  • The skills to adapt a curriculum to meet individual student’s needs

What common courses are offered in a master’s in curriculum and instruction program?

Although curriculum and instruction programs differ from college to college, some common courses are typically offered. These may include:

Cognitive Processes in Education

Students are introduced to the psychological theories that influence student learning. This type of course enables teachers to develop a deeper understanding of what motivates students, how they solve problems, use reasoning and how they learn.

Curriculum Theories and Design

The main focus of this course is to show students how to create and implement a curriculum that combines a specific knowledge base with overall classroom goals. This course provides teachers with the analytical skills to design a curriculum based on effective theories of learning.

Differentiated Instruction and Assessment

Teachers are introduced to several ways of guiding students on an academic path to success, using a range of different teaching styles, classroom materials and individualized learning plans. Teachers also learn how to assess and react to student outcomes.

Policy Issues in Education

Because education and politics are often intertwined in a complex way, it is important for teachers to stay abreast of current changes in standards and policy. This course brings teachers up to speed with current policy issues.

Research Design

Typically, a master’s program in curriculum and instruction requires teachers to conduct original research related to learning or teaching methods.

What exams or projects should I expect?

Typically, students taking an online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction are required to complete the program with one or more of the following:

A Practicum

A guided practicum may be required to give the student hands-on experience implementing the skills acquired from the master’s curriculum and instruction program in a real-life classroom. Students may be able to choose where they will complete their practicum.

A Thesis

In some online master’s programs in curriculum and instruction, a thesis is not a requirement. In these cases, students will be required to complete 36 credit hours. In other cases, graduation requires fewer credit hours and completion of a thesis. The thesis must be defended, and any revisions made before final submittal.

A Capstone Project

This type of research project applies the knowledge the student has learned during the master’s curriculum and instruction program to a real-world situation. The Capstone Project typically takes around ten weeks to complete.

An Exam

In cases where an examination is required, students will take a comprehensive exam during the final semester of the program, by which time, 30-34 hours of credit will have been completed. The exam is usually taken in one sitting.

What specializations are available in a master’s in curriculum and instruction program?

Some master’s in curriculum and instruction programs offer the chance to specialize in certain subject areas. These may include:

Educational Technology

This subject area explores the role of technology in education and society. Teachers will learn about the historical, sociological, and philosophical influences on current information technologies and how these present challenges and opportunities for teachers and students.

Coaching and Leading Technology Innovation in Schools

The aim of this subject area is to focus on planning and implementing technology-rich lesson plans in today’s schools. Teachers will learn how to use and troubleshoot, hardware, software and cloud-based solutions. They will also focus on programming and web-based authoring.

Mathematics and Science Specialization

This subject area gives teachers a deeper understanding of natural sciences, with a choice of focus on fields such as chemistry, biology, physics, oceanography, or earth science. Areas of mathematical specialization may include teaching mathematics at elementary or secondary levels, mathematical thinking in the classroom, current issues in mathematical education, and discourse in mathematics education.

Library Media Science

This subject area allows teachers to acquire licensure as a school library media specialist. Courses in this area introduce teachers to the management of school library media centers, including information sources and services, designing instruction for school media centers, and children’s and young adult literature.

Reading and Literacy

This subject area addresses up-to-date research and current practices related to developing motivated readers and writers in the classroom. It also gives teachers an opportunity to deepen their understanding of multicultural children’s reading material and to be able to understand and assess literacy development for students who are at-risk or disabled.

What Can I do with a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Degree?

Teachers who graduate with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction have access to a number of potential careers including:

K-12 Lead Teacher

A lead teacher with a master’s in curriculum and instruction can simultaneously hold a leadership position within the school while teaching in the classroom. A lead teacher is responsible for organizing curriculum and instructional programs and implementing them throughout the school, as well as developing research-based instructional methods.

Instructional Coordinator

This role involves working at a district level, typically in elementary and secondary schools, to supervise school-wide curriculums and teaching standards. Coordinators will work alongside teachers and school principals to develop instructional materials and to make decisions regarding educational technology.

Assistant Principal

An assistant principal or vice principal is an entry-level position in school leadership and may be used as a stepping-stone to becoming principal. The vice principal’s duties include supervising teaching staff and making sure that school-wide standards are followed for curriculum implementation and appropriate discipline.

School Principal

Graduates with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in leadership could potentially hold this position. The principal’s duties include providing a safe and nurturing learning environment, coordinating curricula throughout all grade levels, and managing daily school activities.

Teachers who are enrolled in a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, or who have recently graduated, may find it beneficial to join one or more professional organizations related to their qualifications or chosen career path. These may include:

The American Association for Teaching and Curriculum

This national organization recognizes instruction and curriculum as a field of study and research. It promotes the scholarly study of this field through conferences, journal papers, and member interaction.

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

The ASCD is comprised of more than 114,00 members who include teachers, principals, superintendents, and advocates from more than 120 countries.

The National Education Association

The NEA is North America’s largest organization for professional employees. It aims to advance public education from pre-school to university graduate programs and has almost 3 million members.

The Association of American Educators

This organization is North America’s largest non-union body of professional educators. It aims to advance the profession by representing and advocating for educators, and promoting excellence in the field.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Curriculum and Instruction?

CAREERLOWEST 10% EARNED ANNUALLYMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARYHIGHEST 10% EARNED ANNUALLYJOB GROWTH 2016-2026
K and Elementary School TeachersLess than $37,340$57,160More than $92,770+7%
Instructional CoordinatorLess than $35,550$63,750More than $101,500+11%
School PrincipalLess than $60,760$94,390More than $140,780+8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employment for instructional coordinators is expected to grow 11 percent by 2026, which is a faster rathe of growth than other education occupations and all occupations, which are expected to grow 9 and 7 percent respectively. The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that those with leadership and experience and a background in teaching should have the best career prospects.

An educator who earns a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction can expect to earn more as a lead teacher than a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in education. Salaries may also vary depending on the type and location of the school. For example, high school vice principals and principals have a higher average earning than those in elementary schools. Also, principals and vice principals teaching on the east and west coasts, tend to have a higher incomes than those teaching in the central United States.

Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Program Accreditation

A master’s degree in curriculum and instruction is for experienced teachers who wish to specialize in this field. Applicants will need a bachelor’s degree in education and teaching from an accredited school to be eligible for acceptance. Accreditation status of online colleges and universities is a major consideration. Prospective students can find out if a program is approved for certification by checking the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and by looking for information about a school’s accreditation on their website.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Degree

Students have a variety of options when it comes to paying for a curriculum and instruction master’s degree. Here are some of the options:

  • Federal Financial AidApplying for financial aid for an online course is generally the same as applying for funding for an on-campus course. Students may fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which will help the school to determine eligibility for awards.
  • ScholarshipsScholarships are available to those in curriculum and instruction programs. For example, Learn.org offers a $500 Master’s Degree Scholarship in Education and Teaching for those enrolled in curriculum and instruction master’s programs and other education-related degrees.
  • Employer AssistanceThese days, many employers value continuing education, particularly within the field of curriculum and instruction. For teachers who wish to increase their skills by pursuing this type of master’s degree, it may be possible to obtain some funding for your online program.
  • GrantsGrants for educational expenses are the preferable way to fund an online master’s in curriculum and instruction because they do not have to be repaid. There are many different types of grants on the state and federal level and from private organizations. Students who are looking for this type of financial assistance should start their search at Collegescholarships.org.
  • Tax CreditsGraduate students may apply for up to $2000 from the Lifetime Learning Credit to spend on educational materials.

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