Discover More Programs

If you’re a teacher who wants to shape the bigger picture, analyzing educational theories and trends, an online master’s in curriculum and instruction can further your career plus prepare you to work as an academic administrator or instructional coordinator.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for instruction coordinators, who earn a median annual salary of $63,740, is expected to grow by 7% through 2031. In addition, the BLS predicts the job growth for elementary, middle, and high school principals at about 5%, with a median annual salary in 2021 of $98,420.

Most schools estimate this degree takes about one to two years to complete, requiring 30 to 45 credits. Tuition costs per credit can range from about $270 to $1,700. Overall, average tuition for graduate programs during the 2020-21 academic year was $12,394 at public universities and $26,621 at private institutions.

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

Choose your area of study

The first step in choosing an online master’s in curriculum and instruction program is deciding on your career goals. Some students pursue these degrees to earn a doctorate or advance to an administrative role. Others want to specialize in areas such as gifted and talented studies, integrated STEM education, special education, educational technology, early childhood education, mathematics education, or English as a second language. You’ll want to select a school that aligns with your intended path.

Research schools and programs

If you’re pursuing an online master’s in curriculum and instruction to teach, you’ll need a degree from an accredited school to obtain your teaching license. Accreditation ensures that the program meets specific quality educational standards and impacts whether students can receive financial aid and qualify for future job opportunities. As you research schools and programs, check whether they’re accredited through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Aside from checking the school’s accreditation, you’ll also want to learn more about what your student experience will be like, including answers to the following questions:

  • Are classes delivered synchronously, asynchronously, or in a hybrid format?
  • Are there any in-person requirements, such as internships or student teaching?
  • What support services does the school offer for online students?
  • What networking opportunities are available?
  • Who are the faculty, and what are their credentials?

The school’s website, marketing materials, and social media profiles often have this information. Speaking with program representatives can give you answers to your questions as well.

Prepare for tests and applications

Each program’s application requirements and processes vary, so it’s a good idea to confirm with schools before starting your applications. Also, determine if the program has eligibility criteria, such as a minimum undergraduate GPA or a specific bachelor’s degree.

In general, students applying to an online master’s in curriculum and instruction program will have to submit the following:

  • Completed application and fees
  • Official transcripts from previous colleges
  • An updated resume or record of employment history
  • Letter(s) of recommendation from academic and professional references
  • A personal statement or statement of purpose outlining your achievements and plans

Some schools require GRE scores, so if you need to take this standardized test, prepare and sit for the exam while researching schools.

Select your program

There are varying approaches to choosing which programs to apply to. Some students submit multiple applications to boost their odds of acceptance, while others target a single program based on their interests and needs. Whatever path you choose, most schools charge an application fee. That money can add up if you’re applying to several programs. Contact the school to ask about a fee waiver if you need financial assistance with these fees.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

When researching, find out how much programs cost (including tuition and fees) and what types of financial aid are available to students, including scholarships, grants, fellowships, and assistantships.

Students should also fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is what schools will use to determine eligibility for federal student loans, need-based institutional aid, work-study jobs, and special programs for educators, like the TEACH Grant Program.

Be sure to research scholarships and grants from other entities like nonprofits, local and state organizations, religious groups, and more. If you’re already working, ask your employer about employer tuition assistance benefits, and if you’re a veteran, find out if the school accepts GI Bill benefits or offers military tuition discounts.

Talk with your school’s financial aid office if you have detailed questions about how to pay for your degree.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Programs

Best Online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Degree Programs

FSU College of Education

Penn State World Campus

UF College of Education

Arizona State University

Ball State University

Michigan State University

TAMU School of Education and Human Development

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Education

University of Georgia

Clemson University

Appalachian State University

University of Kansas

Indiana University Bloomington

Purdue University

University of Houston

Kansas State University

NC State University

Auburn University

East Carolina University

Arkansas State University

Florida International University

University at Albany

Kennesaw State University

Emporia State University

George Mason University

Florida Atlantic University

Central Michigan University

California State University at Fullerton

University of Cincinnati

Bowling Green State University

South Dakota State University

Ohio University

University of North Texas

Minnesota State University Moorhead

Liberty University

Georgia Southern University

Angelo State University

University of Nebraska

Western Governors University

Regent University

Virginia Tech

University of West Florida

Chadron State College

Fitchburg State University

Texas Tech University

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

For this list, we focused our research on master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction. The most common types of degrees available in this field are Master of Education (M.Ed), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Arts (MA).

All programs are offered by schools that have regional accreditation. Many programs also have specialized accreditations for educational programs through the Council for the Accreditation of Educational Programs (CAEP). These accreditations ensure that programs meet the high-quality standards for postsecondary education.

We specifically sought programs that can be completed entirely or primarily through online coursework. These programs are accessible to most students regardless of geographic location or schedule.

Our researchers evaluated the programs based on their reputation, outcomes, cost, flexibility, and faculty. Using this information, we calculated the Intelligent Score of each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Program?

Online master’s in curriculum and instruction programs vary based on the school. Still, students can expect a core curriculum that helps foster a critical understanding of changing demographics, transdisciplinary knowledge, educational trends and policies, and serving a diverse and inclusive community.

Depending on your specialty, you’ll also have coursework that might involve assessing students’ English language development, designing programs for gifted students, or learning to integrate instructional materials with technology and techniques.

Because this program covers teaching methods, theories, research, and technology, it doesn’t typically have the in-person fieldwork that other teaching-based degrees require. It might offer more flexibility for students already employed or those who need to work on their degrees part-time. If you want hands-on experience, seek out programs with an internship or practicum component.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in curriculum and instruction degree program

  • Educational Theories and Trends: Because this program focuses on assessing and developing curriculum, expect to explore different curriculum models and strategies for implementing them. Such classes also discuss what impacts curriculum development, from students’ learning styles to legislation and socio-political issues.
  • Educational Research: Here, students analyze and explore a variety of scholarly methodologies and research approaches. They develop the skills to find qualitative and quantitative studies and learn how to express educational topics that need further research.
  • Educational Technology: Education integrates technology in the classroom and professional training settings. A course like this would allow students to evaluate various educational technologies and methods and explore how to fold these advancements into a curriculum.
  • Writing and Reading Across Curricula: To connect with a diverse group of learners, instructors need to know traditional and alternative ways of study. A course like this focuses on developing skills through reading, comprehending, and creating written content.
  • Teachers as Leaders: Relationships developed through leadership and coaching models can improve teaching practices. A course like this examines the critical role that teachers and their relationships play in creating conditions for improvement.

Online Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in curriculum and instruction degree program?

The first step is to confirm the requirements and application processes for any program you’re applying to by talking to the school’s admissions office. If you’re applying to multiple schools, create a spreadsheet or checklist to keep track of deadlines.

Most schools use an online application portal where students can submit their application and supporting documents. Ensuring you have digital versions of all the required information, such as college transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, and work experience, will help streamline the application process. Some specializations, such as a STEM concentration, require a certain amount of previous coursework in mathematics or science.

Talk with a school admissions counselor to verify you have everything the school needs successfully submitted or mailed in by the submission deadlines.

How much does an online master’s in curriculum and instruction cost?

The cost of an online master’s in curriculum and instruction is based on factors unique to each student and school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition for graduate programs was $12,394 at public universities and $26,621 at private schools during the 2020-21 academic year. Public universities may charge different tuition for in-state and out-of-state students or a flat-rate tuition for distance learners.

Online students can expect to pay fees for technical support, online library resources, and technology purchases like an updated computer. However, they can save money by not paying for transportation, on-campus housing, and activity fees.

How long does it take to earn a master’s in curriculum and instruction degree?

While this depends on the curriculum, most schools estimate their online master’s programs in curriculum and instruction take about one to two years to complete. Attending part-time instead of full-time will lengthen that time frame, and the total number of credits in the program also impacts the program’s length. Look into whether any schools offer accelerated learning options or asynchronous learning, where you can complete the required coursework at your own pace.

Compare School Options

Related Degrees