Why This Matters


    Also called curriculum specialists, instructional coordinators will enjoy faster-than-average job growth through 2029. A graduate degree is required to work in the field of curriculum design and evaluation.


    While you dive into a career you love, build a stable financial future with a median income of $25,000 more than the median for all occupations. Graduates in the top 10% earn six figures.


    The majority of instructional coordinators work in elementary or secondary schools, but some apply their knowledge in corporate training departments. Enjoy the flexibility to work in varied environments.

Our Research

This list highlights the best master’s degree programs in curriculum and instruction, often administered within a school’s College of Education. Degrees listed include a Master of Arts, Master of Science, or Master of Education in curriculum and instruction. We reviewed programs available fully online, on-campus, or in hybrid formats.

We discovered that the best curriculum and instruction master’s degree programs are accredited by general or education-specific entities. Accreditations from the latter include those awarded by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Other reputable accreditors are the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 60 hours to write this article
  • 189 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 377 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Master’s in Curriculum And Instruction Degree Programs

The Best Masters in Curriculum And instruction Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

A master’s degree in curriculum and instruction prepares educators to plan, design, and evaluate subject-specific curricula with the goal of improving student achievement. Similar degrees include the master’s in education administration and master’s in educational leadership. These degree programs focus on the administration of educational institutions and school leadership, whereas the master’s in curriculum and instruction concentrates on curriculum development and testing.

Prospective students should look for degree programs that are accredited by a major accrediting body in education, such as NCATE or CAEP, or a well-respected general accrediting body like SACSCOC or HLC. Earning your degree from an accredited program lends credibility to your education and makes your skills as a curriculum and instruction expert more marketable to potential employers.

The job outlook for graduates with a master’s in curriculum and instruction is positive. Instructional coordinators with a master’s degree have 6% projected job growth through 2029, which is faster than average for all occupations. Training and development specialists with a master’s degree can expect earnings above the median income of $61,210 and 9% job growth through 2029.

There are no certifications or licenses required to receive a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. However, most professionals who have earned this degree are licensed educators in their home state or obtain additional certifications to gain a competitive edge. Two certifications to consider are Educational Leadership and Educational Technology.

What’s Next?

As you review master’s in curriculum and instruction programs, answer the following questions:

  • Am I eligible for this program? To be eligible for a master’s in curriculum and instruction, you need a bachelor’s degree. Teaching experience is highly recommended, if not required, for certain degree programs. However, an active teaching license isn’t needed for admission.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most programs offering a master’s in curriculum and instruction require completion of 30-36 graduate-level credit hours. If attending the program full-time, you can typically complete your degree in two years. Part-time students should expect the degree to take 3-4 years.

While researching degree programs, pay attention to application requirements and deadlines. Though many programs are offered online, some adhere to traditional fall and spring semesters, while others allow enrollment throughout the year. You should gather admissions materials — such as official transcripts, an updated curriculum vitae, and letters of recommendation — well in advance to ensure your application is ready before the deadline.

Discover the best ways to finance your degree by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It will provide you with the maximum possible federal funding options. Additional financing opportunities include student loans, graduate assistantships, grants, and scholarships. Check with each program’s financial aid office to determine if it offers college-specific financial aid.