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Online Master’s Programs in Curriculum and Instruction

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Updated on: 09/24/2018

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.

Best Online Master's in Education Curriculum & Instruction 2018-2019

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Best Online Master's in Education Curriculum & Instruction 2018-2019

Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our 2018 college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors

Data Sources: Eligibility Criteria:
  • Each college must be accredited
  • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
  • Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
  • Each college must have at least one online program 1
Ranking Factors:
  • Affordability
  • Quality
  • Flexibility
  • Program

Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.

Notes:
  • A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
  • Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.
2-Year Schools

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.

Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Mount Vernon, Ohio $14,497 100% 74% 58% 1 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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2 Missouri Baptist University Saint Louis, Missouri $25,816 98% 51% 44% 1 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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3 Columbia International University Columbia, South Carolina $23,690 100% 36% 67% 1 No Yes Yes

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.

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4 Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia $23,800 96% 24% 55% 1 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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5 York College York, Nebraska $19,310 97% 50% 38% 1 No Yes Yes

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.

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6 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, Minnesota $11,138 100% 57% 49% 1 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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7 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, Texas $10,252 72% 67% 81% 1 No Yes Yes

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.

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8 University of Florida Gainesville, Florida $6,380 29% 46% 88% 1 No Yes Yes

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.

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9 University of Idaho Moscow, Idaho $7,864 89% 76% 60% 1 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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10 Northern Michigan University Marquette, Michigan $7,904 82% 76% 52% 1 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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11 Appalachian State University Boone, North Carolina $4,744 36% 68% 71% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The online Curriculum Specialist M.A. at Appalachian State University prepares graduates to create curriculums that result in top-notch student learning outcomes. Students in the 39-credit-hour program learn how to lead administrators and teachers on curriculum and staff development and instruction. The degree, which takes 2 years to complete, prepares graduates to pursue careers as instructional coordinators, curriculum specialists, educational specialists or lead teachers. Coursework for the program is delivered both synchronously and asynchronously. One evening per week per class students join classmates and instructor for a 3-hour class in real-time in a virtual classroom, then, except for occasional individualized online meetings with the instructor, all additional coursework is completed when convenient for the student. Courses include Curriculum Planning, Teacher Leadership and School Improvement, Public School Administration, Advanced Topics in Diversity, and Public School Administration. One course, Applied Curriculum Specialist Skills, places the student in a school system to gain first-hand understanding of the applications of curriculum specialist standards. The program complies with North Carolina Department of Public Instruction requirements leading to North Carolina Licensure as a curriculum-instructional specialist. Potential out-of-state applicants must confirm, prior to enrollment, whether the Appalachian program meets the professional licensure requirements for their state. Distance Education staff are available to assist online students with course selection and career counseling and connect them with additional campus resources. Financial aid is available for eligible students; military members may qualify for discounted tuition rates. Appalachian State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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12 South Dakota State University Brookings, South Dakota $7,516 57% 91% 60% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Students pursuing a online M.Ed. in Curriculum Instruction at South Dakota State University have many options from which to choose to tailor their degree, including 4 specialization programs and 1 certificate program. The 4 specialization options are Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Secondary Education and Adult and Higher Education. Within those specializations, students can choose a coursework-only option, which is 35 credit hours, or a 32-credit hour option that requires a research project. Finally, students can also opt to pursue English as a Second Language coursework, to earn a K-12 English as a New Language endorsement on a teaching certificate. Core courses shared by all versions of the M.Ed. program include Assessment and Program Design, Educational Assessment, Informational Literacy and Education in a Pluralistic Society. Depending on the specialization, additional coursework could include Early Childhood Educational Administration and Practices, Educational Technology, Current Issues in Education, Research Problems in Adult Education and an internship or practicum. Potential applicants to the program should note that the M.Ed. in Curriculum program doesn't lead to a South Dakota teaching certificate nor to an endorsement on the teaching certificate. Online students have access to most of the student academic, financial and technical resources available to on-campus students. The school's Veterans Affairs Office assist military members and their families in obtaining federal and state educational benefits, including financial aid. South Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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13 Bowling Green State University-Main Campus Bowling Green, Ohio $7,632 69% 76% 56% 1 Yes Yes Yes

With 8-week classes and 6 start dates throughout the year, students can earn an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching from Bowling Green State University online in just 18 months. Several endorsement and certification options are available to customize the 34-credit-hour degree. The program, based on National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and the Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession, is aimed at helping students advance their career with progressive curricular and teaching practices. Example courses include Curriculum Issues and Trends, Classroom Technology for Teachers, Qualitative Approaches to Classroom Inquiry, Using Assessment and Research to Improve Practice and a final master's project or thesis research. The required 12 credit hours of electives offers students choice in selecting a certificate or endorsement program. Endorsement options include Early Childhood Generalist, Middle Childhood Generalist, Reading and Computer Technology. There is also a K-12 Online Teaching and Learning certification option or students may tailor elective selections to meet their own interests and goals. Courses are taught on Canvas, BGSU's online learning management system, where students access course information and assignments and interact with instructors and classmates. Classes are taught by the same instructors who teach on-campus classes using a variety of media including video, text, assessments, projects and discussion forums. Advising, career and library services are available for online students, as is financial aid for those eligible. The school offers support services for members of the military, including enrollment assistance, tuition discounts and guidance understanding veteran benefits. Bowling Green is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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14 Union College Barbourville, Kentucky $9,600 100% 67% 35% 1 No Yes Yes

Union College is a small liberal arts institution serving approximately 1,300 students. The Master of Arts in Education degree with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction is available online or in a hybrid format. This degree requires a total of 34 credit hours. The program is designed to train the future teachers and administrators of P-12 educational programs. Online learners take several core "professional component" courses such as Introduction to Graduate Studies, Assessment and Accountability for Teacher Leaders, School Law and Curriculum Design and Practices for Teacher Leaders. Distance learners follow a curriculum that relies heavily on research-based practices, educator performance and clinical experiences. Union students learn to be helpful leaders, organizers and how to be a liaison between P-12 students, their parents, administrators and community members. Graduates of this program move on to careers as curriculum developers, academic consultants and coordinators for extended educational services inside school districts. With this unique leadership skill set, some graduates choose to apply for the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) for the Teacher as Leader Endorsement. Applicants to this program should have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. GRE or GMAT scores, a copy of the applicant's valid teaching certificate, undergraduate transcripts, a list of 3 professional references and documentation of recent professional development activities are also required. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the program to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation. With classes offered online, multiple summer terms and on weekends, hybrid and online students can take advantage of Union's flexible scheduling. Additionally, Union's student resources, including online library access with full-text journals, searchable databases and self-paced tutorials on research and source citation, help distance learners produce top-quality academic work from afar.

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15 Ball State University Muncie, Indiana $8,386 40% 62% 62% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Ball State University is a public research institution founded in 1918 with approximately 22,600 students. Its Master of Arts in Curriculum and Educational Technology degree can be completed entirely online. This program is designed for professionals interested in pursuing careers in K-12 education. Over the course of 30 credit hours, online students learn how to strengthen instructional practices through the integration of technology and innovative educational techniques. Upon completion of the degree, you will be able to develop diverse curricula and utilize modern technologies to cater to the needs of K-12 students. Distance learners choose from 2 tracks: Curriculum or Educational Technology. Students in the Curriculum track choose from specialized courses such as Alternative School Curricula, Evaluation of Educational Materials and Staff Development to Strengthen Curriculum. Those in the Educational Technology track take Multimedia Web Design and Development for Education, School Information Infrastructures, Computer Technology and the Learner with Special Needs and other technology-focused classes. Ball State's online courses may be both asynchronous or "fixed-time" classes. In the latter format, students log in to stream live lectures at a scheduled time. These classes typically take place after 6 p.m. Prospective students should have a bachelor's degree with at least a 2.75 GPA. No GRE is required for admission. Distance learners have access to many online student resources, including academic advising services, peer mentoring, tutoring, technology support and career planning services. Ball State uses the DegreeWorks program to help you get the most out of your master's degree while preparing for your future career.

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16 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, Texas $4,896 58% 69% 46% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The University of Texas at Tyler offers an online or hybrid Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree. Online learners explore education and teaching skills through a blend of theory and practice and by studying basic research techniques and methodologies in the behavioral sciences. Graduates of this program are prepared to teach at the high school and junior college levels. Master's students choose between the following focus areas: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Education; a single academic content area such as English or History; Educational Technology; Engineering Education; Academic Coaching or Master Teacher Skills. At least 4 of the total 10 classes come from the chosen focus area. All online students take foundation courses such as Research Methods for the Behavioral Science, Research in Curriculum and Instruction and Curriculum Foundations. This flexible program allows you to choose from several electives such as Curriculum and Instruction, Human Diversity and Educational Technology to further tailor your degree to fit your career and educational goals. All students complete a final research project under the guidance of their adviser. Incoming students may transfer up to 9 credit hours with a "B" or higher toward their master's degree. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and possess a teaching certification in any field. Competitive applicants have a 3.0 GPA, but lower GPAs are also considered. Those with a GPA under 3.25 during their last 60 hours of undergraduate work must submit their GRE scores. Students in this program must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout this 30-credit hour degree to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation.

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17 Arkansas State University Jonesboro, Arkansas $4,626 70% 70% 41% 1 No Yes Yes

Arkansas State University is a public research institution established in 1909. With approximately 22,000 students, A-State is the 2nd largest university in Arkansas. Distance students can take advantage of A-State's online Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction program. Degree seekers develop leadership skills and learn the most current instructional and curriculum development techniques for today's modern classrooms. Students must complete 36 hours of coursework, including core courses like Introduction to Statistics and Research, Philosophies of Education, Curriculum Management and School Law. A-State offers two concentrations: Curriculum Director and Special Education Director. Each concentration requires 9 dedicated credit hours. Students complete an internship during their last semester in which they demonstrate their level of leadership skills and mastery of course material. All classes and the internship are 7 weeks in duration. Most students complete this online degree in as few as 20 months. Prospective students should have at least 2 years of teaching experience that can be verified by a school administrator. Competitive applicants have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with at least a 2.75 GPA. Students may begin courses during the spring, summer or fall semesters, provided they meet the application deadline for their first semester. Online students have access to 24/7 technical support and library research assistance via instant messaging. Distance learners can even get help with their research strategies with 1-on-1 research consultations through email or Skype. Up to 9 transfer credits may be accepted toward the master's degree provided the credit is no more than 6 years old and has a "B" average or higher.

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18 Harding University Searcy, Arkansas $15,678 93% 70% 67% 1 No Yes Yes

Harding University's Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction will grant graduates Curriculum Program Administrator licensure in curriculum. Interested candidates must have a valid teaching license in addition to 2 years of teaching experience and a minimum undergraduate GPA of a 2.76. Students must submit 3 professional references along with written approval from their immediate supervisor to participate in field experiences. A total of 36 credit hours, including 4 hours of an internship and a professional portfolio that will be presented prior to graduation, must be completed within 6 years in order to graduate. In addition, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA with no individual grade lower than a C. Core courses for the program include School Organization and Building Level Leadership, School Finance and Resource Management, and Curriculum Instructional Alignment and Mapping. While certain courses are offered online, other courses must be taken at one of Harding University's campus locations in Arkansas (Memphis, North Little Rock, Rogers, or Searcy). Students should confirm course offerings and confer with their academic advisers to ensure necessary courses are offered at specific locations and times. Graduate students have access to over 120 online databases and the Interlibrary loan services through the Brackett Library. The Meredith Susanne Floyd Scholarship is available to Harding University graduate students in the curriculum and instruction focus, and other state financial aid opportunities are also available. Graduate students can also apply to be graduate assistants, which benefits students by providing a scholarship and stipend in addition to providing real-life experience.

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19 Plymouth State University Plymouth, New Hampshire $9,108 99% 79% 59% 1 No Yes Yes

Plymouth State University's Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction is a 33-credit graduate degree program offered in a hybrid format. Students must take 15 core credits in addition to 15 credits of electives, referred to by the university as the "specialization component." The online Instructional Design Certificate can be taken in order to meet the specialization elective requirements. This certificate prepares students in planning, creating and managing online learning experiences in order to pursue careers in instructional design or to improve and deepen their work in education and training. The last 3 credits are comprised of the capstone experience, which is a graduate capstone project that integrates the knowledge learned throughout the program. The purpose of this work is to enhance personal professional goals as well as contribute to the professional educational community. Students will work with advisers to complete this project as well as present their research and work to the Plymouth State University faculty members. A 3.0 is required to complete the graduate certificate. To grain acceptance into the program, students should have a bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA and must submit all official transcripts. In addition, 3 professional recommendations, a current resume, statement of interest, New Hampshire Residency Verification form (NH residents only) and a $75 application fee are also required. Plymouth State offers a limited number of merit-based scholarships to graduate students. Academic and professional achievements and goals, along with commitment to graduate study, are all taken into consideration when determining the allocation of these scholarships.

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20 Warner University Lake Wales, Florida $6,168 96% 44% 36% 1 Yes No Yes

Warner University's Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction requires prospective students to have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students with a GPA lower than a 3.0 will be required to obtain and submit a median GRE score for both verbal and quantitative sections. Students should hold a part-time or full-time teaching position or provide evidence of willingness and commitment to field experiences in the classroom. It is preferred that interested applicants hold teacher certifications in Florida or another state in the US, and transcripts, a recommendation form, application and a written graduate essay should all be submitted as part of the application. The master's degree is offered completely online and is designed to provide active educators the opportunity to complete the 33-credit program in 2 years while maintaining full-time employment. Candidates for the program will create, write and present a graduate-level research study related to the education field prior to graduation. Classes are provided in an asynchronous format so students can work at their own pace, as long as they submit assignments by the deadline. The Department of Teacher Education strives to support students in achieving academic excellence, maintaining good Christian character, becoming leaders and dedicating themselves to service. Online students can utilize the Academic Skills center, which provides peer tutoring in various subjects and can also help with organization and study skills. Students also have access to writing support, including peer review, support with pre-writing and Biblical exegesis.

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21 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, Nebraska $5,418 70% 85% 60% 1 No Yes Yes

The University of Nebraska at Kearny's Master of Arts in Education Curriculum and Instruction program offers 11 different concentrations, allowing students to select which path will best serve their professional goals. Early childhood education, elementary education, reading/special education, English as a second language, secondary education, instructional effectives, STEM and transitional certification are some examples of concentration options offered within this program. Students are required to complete 36 credits, consisting of core courses and classes devoted specifically to their focus, in order to graduate. Additional credit hours may be needed for state certification in certain concentrations, and students must successfully complete a comprehensive examination or project prior to graduation. Offered completely online, the usual time to complete this degree is 2.5 to 3 years. Online tutorials as well as technological support are available to online students, and small classroom sizes result in more support and personalized attention from professors. This degree prepares teachers to design and develop school curriculums as well as grow professionally, address certain educational issues or expand their work within their given field of study. Interested students should have a bachelor's degree with a teaching certificate. Prospective students should submit the application, $45 fee, GRE scores and official transcripts for admissions. In addition, students may also choose to submit a professional biography, which outlines a student's professional qualifications (degrees, teaching endorsements, licensures and certifications currently held), professional experiences (teaching and career experiences), professional and educational goals, familiarity with technology and experience with diversity, for admissions consideration.

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22 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, Texas $10,350 70% 23% 42% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The Master of Education in Curriculum Development at Southwestern Assemblies of God University is an online program offered to Christian students who already have bachelor's degrees. Students of this program learn how to design and implement curriculum for language arts, mathematics, social studies and science for public or private educational institutions. The interplay of classroom management, curriculum and instruction are studied as well as differentiated instruction for diverse populations. Required courses include Research Literature and Technology, Differentiated Learning Strategies and Studies in Classroom Management. Before they begin the program's coursework, however, students must have completed 3 prerequisite courses: Developmental Psychology, Theories and Principles of Learning, and Foundations of Literacy Instruction. Graduates of this degree may find careers as teachers of various subjects and grade levels, principals, school administrators, counselors, librarians and superintendents. Online students have full access to campus support and resources, including the Career Center and the Counseling Center. Scholarships and grants are available to help fund the education of graduate students, including academic scholarships, grants in partnership with the teacher's school employer and the Assemblies of God Minister and Missionary Grant, which provides 10% off for licensed or ordained ministers. Interested applicants should have a minimum 2.5 GPA and should submit a Christian character reference, official transcripts, GRE scores, an essay and additional references along with their application. Completion of this degree consists of 36 credits, which are divided into professional, core, resource area and elective components of study. Southwestern Assemblies of God University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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23 Indiana State University Terre Haute, Indiana $7,128 68% 86% 41% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Indiana State University's online Master of Science in Educational Technology degree equips its students with the technological knowledge and literacy to fully optimize technology and media for instruction and training. Students will utilize technology in conjunction with designing and developing instruction in order to implement, manage and evaluate teaching and learning in a variety of educational environments. Graduates of this degree often pursue careers as instructional designers, e-learning specialists, educational consultants, museum education specialists, teachers and professors in settings such as schools, the military, businesses and the government. Students can complete this 33-credit degree in 18 months with full-time study while also having the option of extending the program based on their schedule. Studies will cumulate with a field experience. This online program is available to eligible students in the US, Canada, and military service members and State Department personnel, as well as their family members, in other countries. Interested students should hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and submit their online application with the $45 application fee. All official transcripts from previously attended institutions, including both undergraduate and any graduate studies, should be sent directly from the school attended, and a written statement of purpose describing the amalgamation of the degree with the professional goals of the student is recommended but not required. Online courses for this degree are taught by the same professors as on-campus courses, and various resources, including academic advisers, student service concierges, online tutoring and IT support, are available to assist and support online students.

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24 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati, Ohio $12,790 58% 76% 72% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The University of Cincinnati's online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction is designed for currently active educators interested in advancing into leadership positions in both formal and informal education settings involving students of all ages. Students learn to examine, create and employ research in learning and teaching for better educational practices. The degree is offered with 3 concentrations: STEM Education, Gifted Education and Teaching and Learning: General Studies. Students opting for the Teaching and Learning: General Studies concentration design their own individualized study program in collaboration with their academic adviser. Earning this MEd degree requires completion of approximately 30 credit hours of core and concentration coursework (total credit hours varies slightly by program) which can be accomplished in as few as 21 months. All coursework is available 100% online, meaning that no campus visits or other in-person participation is required. Once admitted into the degree program, each student is assigned an official adviser with whom the student confers on creation of their customized plan of study. Students also consult with their adviser on a regular basis throughout the degree program for additional guidance and approval of course choices. Students have the option of meeting with their adviser face-to-face or through online or telephone sessions. All online students also have access to a wide range of UC support services and resources including academic coaching and tutoring services through the Learning Commons, writing assistance through the Academic Writing Center and research resources via the UC Libraries system. Ohio-resident online students pay the same tuition rates as their on-campus counterparts, while out-of-state online students pay an additional $15 per unit non-resident fee.

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25 University of Virginia-Main Campus Charlottesville, Virginia $15,026 31% 30% 95% 1 No Yes Yes

The University of Virginia's online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction program features flexible study options and small class sizes to better prepare students for advanced positions throughout the education curriculum and instruction field. Earners of this degree most often establish careers in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade education, developing and improving curricula for public and private schools and school districts, charter and alternative schools, adult education programs and technical and community colleges. Graduates also find employment with foundations and nonprofit organizations, government agencies, museums and military training facilities. This degree program is open to qualifying residents of Virginia and most other states. California residents aren't eligible, however. To receive UV's MEd in Curriculum & Instruction, students must complete a total of 30 credit hours of coursework consisting of 15 credit hours of core courses covering each of the 4 "pillars" of the degree program (Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment and Diversity) and 15 credit hours of courses from the student's chosen focus area. Completion of all coursework culminates in a comprehensive examination that allows students to demonstrate their competency with the knowledge and skills gained during the degree program. Students may choose between full-time and part-time study with full-time students typically completing all program requirements in a single academic year. Online UV students can avail themselves of many of the same support services as their on-campus counterparts, including academic and career counseling, Canvas learning management system support and access to the extensive resources of the UV Library's Curry Off-Grounds Program.

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26 Texas A & M International University Laredo, Texas $3,350 22% 53% 45% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Peru State College Peru, Nebraska $7,800 76% - 40% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
28 North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, North Carolina $8,088 48% 48% 78% 1 No Yes Yes School website
29 Texas Tech University Lubbock, Texas $5,400 43% 63% 62% 1 No Yes Yes School website
30 University of Montana Missoula, Montana $4,135 52% 92% 53% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
31 Chadron State College Chadron, Nebraska $3,600 66% - 39% 1 No Yes Yes School website
32 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, Mississippi $7,549 68% 60% 51% 1 No Yes Yes School website
33 Cleveland State University Cleveland, Ohio $9,565 45% 87% 42% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
34 West Texas A & M University Canyon, Texas $4,402 43% 60% 44% 1 No Yes Yes School website
35 University of Houston Houston, Texas $7,956 61% 59% 53% 1 No Yes Yes School website
36 University of Colorado Colorado Springs Colorado Springs, Colorado $9,983 46% 93% 50% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
37 George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia $10,628 29% 81% 70% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
38 University of Maine Orono, Maine $7,524 87% 90% 61% 1 No Yes Yes School website
39 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, Texas $5,439 42% 64% 48% 1 No Yes Yes School website
40 Marygrove College Detroit, Michigan $8,064 92% 41% 22% 1 Yes No Yes School website
41 National Louis University Chicago, Illinois $10,962 5% 76% 25% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
42 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, Louisiana $5,738 49% 62% 40% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
43 The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, Texas $7,141 48% 70% 47% 1 No Yes Yes School website
44 Armstrong State University Savannah, Georgia $3,798 8% 80% 35% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
45 Kansas State University Manhattan, Kansas $9,670 71% 94% 61% 1 No Yes Yes School website
46 Florida State University Tallahassee, Florida $9,684 44% 58% 80% 1 No Yes Yes School website
47 University of Memphis Memphis, Tennessee $8,820 44% 57% 46% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
48 Minnesota State University Moorhead Moorhead, Minnesota $6,480 59% 60% 43% 1 No Yes Yes School website
49 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Virginia $12,467 38% 71% 84% 1 No Yes Yes School website
50 Claflin University Orangeburg, South Carolina $10,674 69% 42% 50% 1 No Yes Yes School website

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?

Career Lowest 10% Earned Annually Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Earned Annually Job Growth 2016-2026
K and Elementary School Teachers Less than $37,340 $57,160 More than $92,770 +7%
Instructional Coordinator Less than $35,550 $63,750 More than $101,500 +11%
School Principal Less than $60,760 $94,390 More than $140,780 +8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

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 Aid

    Applying 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.

  • Scholarships

    Scholarships 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 Assistance

    These 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.

  • Grants

    Grants 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 Credits

    Graduate students may apply for up to $2000 from the Lifetime Learning Credit to spend on educational materials.