Home > Top 25 Online Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction Programs for 2017

Top 25 Online Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction Programs for 2017

An online master’s in curriculum and instruction teaches the latest education theories and practices, giving you the skills to improve learning outcomes for all students. In addition to developing your teaching practice, earning a curriculum and instruction master’s degree will increase your career and salary potential. PayScale reports that the average starting salary for an elementary education teacher with a bachelor’s degree is about $34,000, while a beginning teacher with a master’s degree can expect to earn about $39,700 annually. This listing compiles some of the top online curriculum and instruction master’s programs.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION PROGRAMS?

1

University of FloridaGainesville, FL

UF is a public research university that was founded in 1853 in Gainesville, Florida. Today, the school serves more than 50,000 students each year and offers 123 master’s degree, including an online master’s in curriculum and instruction. The M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in educational technology combines nine credits of core coursework in curriculum and instruction with 24 credits in educational technology, including a course on games and simulation in teaching and learning. Students must also complete a three-credit practicum course during their final semester. This 36-credit program can be completed in just two years of full-time study. The courses in this online master’s program are delivered on a 16-week semester schedule with most students enrolling in two courses per semester. All online students at UF pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency.

2

University of ScrantonScranton, PA

Scranton is a private nonprofit university that was founded in 1888 as St. Thomas College. Today, the school serves 5,500 students each year and offers 32 graduate programs, including a master’s of science in curriculum and instruction. This 36-credit program includes 12 courses and can be completed in just 14 months.

This online curriculum and instruction degree is designed for current teachers who want to improve the effectiveness of their instruction. The curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as educational assessment, literacy and diversity, improving instruction, and curriculum theory and development. Students must also complete a practicum under supervision in a local school district according to an approved schedule during their final semester. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and be certified teachers or current private or parochial teachers to be considered.

3

North Carolina State University at RaleighRaleigh, NC

NC State is one of three schools in North Carolina’s Research Triangle alongside Duke University and the University of North Carolina. The school offers curriculum and instruction master’s programs in both master’s of science and master’s of education formats. Students in the master’s of education and master’s of science in curriculum and instruction: new literacies and global learning can choose one of the following concentrations: K-12 reading, English language arts (middle and high school), or social studies (middle and high school).

The main difference between these two programs is that the MS requires a six-credit research methodology sequence. Both of these master’s program offer 50% of their coursework online and culminate in a design studio showcase, where students present creative synthesis projects. NC State is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

4

University of VirginiaCharlottesville, VA

UVA is a public research university that traces its origins all the way back to Thomas Jefferson. Today, the school serves more than 22,000 students each year with innovative programs such as the master’s in curriculum and instruction degree. The 30-credit master’s of education degree in curriculum and instruction is offered in both full- and part-time formats and offers specializations in the following areas: reading education, gifted education, English language learners, and instructional technology.

The curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as principles of curriculum design, classroom assessment, education across cultures, and more. This program can be completed in just one year of full-time study. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and submit two letters of recommendation and GRE scores to be considered.

5

Columbia International UniversityColumbia, SC

CIU is a private Christian institution that was founded in 1923 in Columbia, South Carolina. Today the school offers a variety of distance learning programs, including an online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. The 33-credit M.Ed. in instruction and learning prepares educators for Christian school administrative and leadership roles. This master’s program prepares students for leadership roles in Christian day, missionary, international, or national cross-cultural schools.

The program consists of 11 courses on a variety of topics, including transformational education, biblical foundations for curriculum, understanding the learner, and educational research. Every students can choose a generalist concentration or customize their degree with courses from other CIU programs as approved by an academic adviser. All online courses are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. CIU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

6

Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale, FL

NSU is a private nonprofit university that was founded in 1964 in Davie, Florida. Today, the school serves more than 24,000 students each year and offers a variety of distance learning programs, including a master’s of science in education with a specialization in curriculum, instruction, and technology. This master’s degree in curriculum and instruction prepares students to incorporate contemporary learning technology into their classrooms.

The curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as theories of learning, media and instruction, technology and the school curriculum, and research in education. This 36-credit program requires two special topic courses that emphasize the practical application and synthesis of the program’s learning experiences. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and have a minimum GPA of 2.5 to be considered. There is no teacher certification requirement. NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

7

University of Massachusetts LowellLowell, MA

UMass Lowell is a national research university that serves more than 17,000 students each year and offers more than 170 academic programs. The school offers an online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction that offers specializations in either science education or autism studies. This 30-credit program includes 10 courses and culminates in an action research capstone project. Science education students earn 18 credits of science education coursework while autism studies learners enroll in 15 credits of concentration courses. These specializations include cutting-edge courses on topics like climate change in the classroom and functional analysis and treatment of challenging behavior. Applicants to this M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction must hold teacher certification and currently serve as classroom-based instructors to be considered. UMass Lowell’s College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

8

Concordia UniversityIrvine, CA

CIU is a private Christian university that was founded in 1976 in Orange County, California. Today the school serves more than 4,000 students each year and offers an online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction that does not require face-to-face or residency component. This program is ideal for both credentialed teachers and non-credentialed teachers serving in parochial or private schools.

Students can complete this 30-unit master’s of arts in education: curriculum and instruction in just one to two years. The school recommends that students spend at least 10-15 hours per week on coursework. Courses are offered in eight-week sessions and new students can begin the program in either the fall or spring semester. CIU’s online master’s degree includes innovative coursework on topics like coping with stress & violence in today’s classroom and brain-based teaching and learning. CIU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

9

University of South FloridaTampa, FL

USF offers a curriculum and instruction master’s program that can be completed online, on-campus, or in a hybrid format. The master’s in education in curriculum & instruction with a concentration in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) consists of 33 credits divided between educational foundations and current trends in language learning. The curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as applied linguistics for teaching ESOL, psych foundations of education, and foundations of education research. Students pass a comprehensive exam to graduate.

There are three admissions periods throughout the year and transfer students can apply up to eight graduate credits towards their master’s degree. Applicants must have two years of relevant experience and a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be considered. USF also offers an alternative admissions process for prospective participants who have a GPA below 3.0.

10

Greenville UniversityGreenville, IL

Greenville is a Christian school in the Free Methodist tradition that was founded in 1892 in Illinois. The school offers a curriculum and instruction master’s degree that prepares students to serve in K-12 classrooms, community colleges, and corporate training settings. This master’s of arts with a major in curriculum and instruction consists of 10 courses and can be completed in two years of full-time study. The curriculum includes classes that cover a variety of topics, such as curriculum design, assessment of learning, managing change in an educational setting, literacy in today’s society, and managing educational technologies.

This online graduate degree does not lead to licensure, and applicants do not need to be licensed teachers. However, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and meet certain technology requirements to be considered. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Greenville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

11

Northwest Nazarene UniversityNampa, ID

NNU offers a master’s of education in curriculum, instruction, and innovation that is ideal for certified teachers, counselors, and school psychologists who want to advance their careers. This graduate education program is aligned with the university’s Ed.S. program, which in turn is aligned with its Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs. NNU’s master’s degree in curriculum and instruction includes 30 credits of coursework that can be completed in just one year. The curriculum includes courses on a variety of subjects, such as the learning process, instructional coaching, innovative instruction, and teaching as leaders. Students must complete a culminating research project and create a professional portfolio during their final semester. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and educator licensure to be considered.

12

Florida State UniversityTallahassee, FL

FSU offers an online master’s in curriculum and instruction that allows students to choose one of six majors: elementary education, English education, mathematics education, science education, social science education, and special education. This 33-credit program includes 11 courses and concludes with a portfolio defense. The curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as positive behavior support, mathematics for learners with disabilities, literacy for learners with disabilities, and teaching and technology.

Students can complete this program in two years of full-time study, including summer terms. This online education master’s program allows transfer students to apply credits earned at another institution towards their degree. Classes are delivered asynchronously online, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. This program does not lead to initial teacher licensure.

13

Ball State UniversityMuncie, IN

Ball State offers an online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction that is ideal for educators who want to integrate new learning technologies into their classrooms. Ball State designed its master’s of arts in curriculum and educational technology to meet the professional needs of K-12 educators, though it can also lead to careers in other instructional contexts. Students can choose to customize their degree with a specialization in either educational technology or curricula.

The 30-credit curriculum includes courses on a variety of education topics, such as principles and procedures of curriculum development, curriculum integration of learning technology, evaluation of educational programs, and research of the impact of student learning. This innovative master’s degree also includes a three-credit program evaluation course and a three-credit research component. Students can earn a computer education license or a certificate in computer education concurrently with their degree without taking additional coursework. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with either a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 or a minimum of 3.0 in the latter half of their undergraduate studies to be considered.

14

Florida International UniversityMiami, FL

FIU offers an online master’s of science in curriculum and instruction degree with a specialization in curriculum development. This program prepares current K-12 teachers to meet the needs of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Students can complete this 36-credit program in just one year by enrolling in two courses during each eight-week term.

This master’s degree includes courses on a variety of subjects, such as politics of curriculum, developing a global perspective, field research for educators, and learning styles applications. Students must also complete field research and an action research project to conclude the program. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, teacher certification or a letter of eligibility, and access to K-12 students or teachers to be considered.

15

LeTourneau UniversityLongview, TX

LeTourneau is a private interdenominational Christian university that was founded in 1946 in Longview, Texas. The school offers a master’s of education – curriculum and instruction that prepares licensed teachers to enhance their skills of curriculum design and advance their careers. Students can complete this curriculum and instruction degree one course at a time over the course of two years.

The school allows transfer students to apply credits earned at another institution towards their degree, as long as they earn at least 25% of their credits at LeTourneau. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and meet LeTourneau’s GPA requirements to be considered. LeTourneau is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the Texas Education Agency, and the Association of Christian Schools International.

16

Olivet Nazarene UniversityBourbonnais, IL

ONU is a private Christian university that was founded in 1907 in Bourbonnais, Illinois. The school offers a master’s of arts in education: curriculum and instruction that is ideal for licensed educators who want to advance their careers. This 33-credit online education degree can be completed in just 22 months.

The curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as habits of exemplary teachers, integrating the curriculum, applied learning theory, exceptional learners, and critical issues in education. This program concludes with a creative project or practicum. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Students can enter this online master’s of curriculum and instructional program at four different times each year. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree, an educator’s license, and verification of employment to be considered.

17

Indiana Wesleyan UniversityMarion, IN

IWU is a private Christian university that was founded in 1920 in Marion, Indiana. The school offers an online master’s of education – major in curriculum and instruction that emphasizes the constructivist approach to teaching and learning. The 33-credit curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as leading instructional improvement, the culturally competent teacher leader, leading for differentiated instruction, and the teacher leader as a change agent.

All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution or one holding accreditation with the Association for Biblical Higher Education. They must also have a valid teacher license provided by the state or an approved private education body as well as one year of teaching experience to be considered.

18

Regent UniversityVirginia Beach, VA

Regent is an interdenominational Christian university that was founded in 1977 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The school offers an online teacher education degree that is ideal for Christian school teachers who want to advance their careers. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers as department heads, content specialists, teachers, and curriculum developers.

This online master’s of education – curriculum and instruction emphasizes learner characteristics, instructional design, and the effective integration of technology into instructional programs. The 37-credit curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as technology in education and philosophy of Christian education. This online master’s in curriculum and instruction can also lead to Association of Christian Schools International certification. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree to be considered. Regent is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

19

Virginia TechBlacksburg, VA

Virginia Tech offers an online master’s of arts in education, curriculum and instruction with focus on instructional technology that enhances the technological skills of classroom teachers, corporate trainers, and instructional designers outside of educational settings. This program emphasizes the creation of effective solutions to support learning and improve performance.

The 30-credit curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as design for learning, distance education, visual literacy, software evaluation, and the applications of digital media. Virginia Tech joined the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements in 2015. The school offers classes on a semester schedule, and students can earn their teacher education degree in just three years. Virginia Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

20

Appalachian State UniversityBoone, NC

Appalachian State offers more than 200 academic programs to over 19,000 students each year. The school offers a master’s of curriculum and instruction that is ideal for licensed teachers from North Carolina. The 39-credit master’s of arts in curriculum specialist offers both synchronous and asynchronous courses. Synchronous courses include one evening class per week where students join their classmates and instructor for a three-hour class in a virtual classroom. However, the asynchronous courses allow students to complete coursework at their own pace.

This online program is compliant with the state’s Department of Public Instruction requirements, which lead to North Carolina Licensure as a curriculum-instructional specialist. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a valid North Carolina “A” level teaching license or equivalent from another state to be considered. Appalachian State is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

21

Robert Morris UniversityMoon Township, PA

RMU offers an online master’s of science in instructional leadership that is perfect for classroom educators, corporate trainers, scholastic sports leaders, and recreation managers. This instructional leadership degree allows students to earn the following certifications: teaching endorsement in autism spectrum disorders, PA certification as an instructional technology specialist, teaching endorsement in online instruction, post-baccalaureate teacher certification, principal certification, and supervisor of curriculum and instruction certification.

The program includes a required practicum that provides students with the opportunity to conduct a field-based project. Students can complete additional course requirements to earn a Pennsylvania Instructional I Teacher Certificate. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be considered. This program does not require teacher certification for admission.

22

Buena Vista UniversityStorm Lake, IA

Buena Vista is a private Christian university that was founded in 1891 in Storm Lake, Iowa. This program requires 30-31 credits of coursework and is ideal for licensed teachers who want to advance their careers. This master’s degree in curriculum and instruction offers three academic tracks: effective teaching and instructional leadership, talented and gifted education, and teaching English as a second language. Each track requires 21-22 credits in addition to nine credits of educational foundation courses that form the program’s core. Finally, all students must complete a capstone portfolio project or a practicum to conclude the program. All programs at Buena Vista are approved for the G.I. Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 to be considered. Buena Vista is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

23

George Mason UniversityFairfax, VA

George Mason offers a master’s of education in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in blended and online learning in schools. This master’s of curriculum and instruction prepares current K-12 teachers to become effective online educators. Graduates are prepared to pursue positions as teachers, virtual course designers, school technology coordinators, and district technology leaders. The curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as facilitating K-12 online learning, understanding online presence, and models for K-12 online learning. Students must also complete a 12-credit, two-part practicum to conclude the program.

The content and design for this program are compliant with the International Association for K-12 Online Learning’s National Standards for Quality Online Teaching. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their last 60 credits of study to be considered. George Mason is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

24

Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI

MSU is a public university that was founded in 1855 in East Lansing, Michigan. The school offers an entirely online master’s of arts in teaching and curriculum that emphasizes all P-12 grade levels. This 30-credit teacher education degree includes courses on a variety of topics, such as professional development and inquiry, curriculum in its social context, and teachers as teacher educators.

This program allows students to choose from nine different concentrations: educational technology, educational psychology, K-12 educational administration, literacy and language instruction, socio-cultural perspectives in teaching and learning, science and mathematics education and English language learner or English as a second language. Students can complete this master’s of curriculum and instruction program in one to two years, and must earn their degree within five years from admissions. This program does not lead to initial teacher certification. MSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

25

University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, NE

UNK offers a curriculum and instruction degree that is ideal for students who have a bachelor’s degree and a teaching license. The master’s of arts in education in curriculum and instruction is perfect for educators who want to improve their skills in the design, development, and evaluation of school curricula. This flexible 36-credit program allows students to choose one of the following concentrations: early childhood education, elementary education, English as a second language, instructional effectiveness, reading/special education, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), or secondary education.

While this program does not lead to initial licensure, students concentrating in English as a second language can earn an additional supplementary endorsement. Students must also complete a comprehensive examination or culminating capstone project to conclude the program. Online courses are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. UNK is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction Program

There are several factors to consider before making a final decision, including program length, tuition, required curriculum, and potential campus requirements. The curriculum is perhaps the most important factor, as many schools offer different concentrations. It’s important to consider your personal and professional goals before choosing a program.

Time is also a major factor: some schools offer accelerated programs that allow you to complete your degree in under two years, while others allow you to take several years of part-time courses. Teachers may find a part-time program useful if they plan to continue teaching while pursuing their degree. Some degrees include intensive campus sessions that take place during the weekends or summer, while others may require you to visit campus weekly for certain classes.

Careers for Graduates of Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction Programs

A online master’s in curriculum and instruction prepares you for a range of challenging careers inside and outside of the classroom. Many teachers earn the degree to enhance their teaching practice and continue teaching at the K-12 level, but others use the master’s of curriculum and instruction to move into leadership or curriculum development positions. All graduates have a deeper understanding of education and learning processes, allowing them to reach students more effectively.

Job Outlook and Salary for Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction Graduates

Careers for teachers who hold an online master’s in curriculum and instruction are expected to keep pace with most other professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects positions such as K-12 teacher, K-12 principal, and instructional coordinator to grow by about 6-7% between 2014-2024. Postsecondary teachers can expect to see faster than average job growth; the BLS projects a 13% increase within the same period. The projected average throughout the entire economy is 6%. Your growth and salary potential will vary based on factors such as the industry you work in, your specific career, and your location. This chart records projected employment growth across several common education positions.

Employment Growth for Education Professionals
Career Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
High School Teacher 961,600 1,017,500
Principal 240,000 254,000
Postsecondary Teacher 1,313,000 1,490,000

SALARY GROWTH BY EXPERIENCE FOR GRADUATES OF CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION MASTER’S PROGRAMS

Teachers and other education professionals earn a higher salary depending on their experience. This chart presents salary data based on work experience for some of the most common positions among teachers who earn their master’s in curriculum and instruction.

CURRiCULUM & INSTRUCTION PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Professional organizations offer a range of opportunities for educators, including networking, professional support, teaching resources, and specialized publications. Less experienced teachers can connect with seasoned educators, gaining valuable knowledge and insight in instruction methods and practices. The following organizations offer a generous selection of resources to education professionals.

National Education Association

The NEA, one of the largest teaching organizations in the country, has more than 3 million members. Resources available to members include teaching materials, digital and print publications, and discounted legal resources for teachers.

Kappa Delta Pi

KDP, the international honor society in education, is dedicated to professional growth opportunities for teachers. The organization offers networking, leadership opportunities, and mentorship programs for young teachers.

American Federation of Teachers

Founded in 1916, the AFT is a labor union that sits at the intersection of political activism and education. The organization represents more than 1.7 million members nationwide, working for educational reform and equitable treatment for teachers.


To determine the best online master’s in curriculum and instruction programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in curriculum and instruction programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.