Compare School Options

Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

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, instructional coordinators earn a median annual salary of $66,490 per year, while K-12 principals make $101,320.

Most schools estimate this degree takes about one to two years to complete, requiring 30 to 45 credits. The average tuition for graduate school is $12,596 at public universities and $28,017 at private institutions.

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

Choose your area of study

This degree is available in several formats, including Master of Education (MEd), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Arts (MA). MEd programs focus on practical applications, while MS and MA options are a good fit for those who plan to continue their education and earn a doctorate.

Some programs allow you to select a concentration and focus your studies on a particular niche, such as gifted and talented studies, integrated STEM education, special education, educational technology, early childhood education, mathematics education, or English as a second language. If you already know what you would like to do after you graduate, look for programs that closely match these career goals.

Research schools and programs

You should only apply to institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

Ideally, your master’s in curriculum and instruction program will also be accredited by a respected industry group like the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. This accrediting organization has particularly high standards for education-related programs.

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 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?

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Each program’s application requirements and processes vary. Many programs have eligibility criteria that you must meet in order to be accepted, 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.

Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

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.

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Do you want your program to be as online as possible, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a fair amount of in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

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

All of the programs on this list are offered by schools that have regional accreditation. Many of these options also have programmatic accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educational Programs — this organization holds education-related programs to an exceptionally high standard.

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, and educational trends and policies.

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

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 and interpret both qualitative and quantitative studies.
  • 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. This course 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.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Degree?

Career outlook

In the dynamic field of education, the demand for skilled curriculum and instruction professionals is on the rise. Indeed, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction opens the door to a wide range of career paths in this field, including:

  • Instructional coordinator — Develop, implement, and assess the effectiveness of educational materials.
    • Median annual salary: $66,490
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 2%
    • New job openings projected: 19,200 annually
  • Elementary, middle, or high school principal — Oversee school staff and operations at the K-12 level.
    • Median annual salary: $101,320
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 1%
    • New job openings projected: 20,200 annually
  • Postsecondary education administrator — Help manage administrative functions and develop academic policies for a college or university.
    • Median annual salary: $99,940
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 4%
    • New job openings projected: 15,300 annually

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, the average annual tuition for graduate programs is $12,596 at public universities and $28,017 at private universities. Private schools are typically more expensive than public schools, and public schools tend to charge out-of-state students a higher tuition rate than in-state students. Also, online students can expect to pay fees for technical support, online library resources, and technology purchases like an updated computer.

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.

Is an online curriculum and instruction degree worth it?

An online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction can open doors to career advancement, higher earning potential, and eligibility for positions that require advanced qualifications. It enhances your teaching skills but also expands your career opportunities and enables you to make a significant impact on education, from designing effective curricula to improving student outcomes.

This degree program focuses on improving instructional techniques and strategies. You’ll gain insights into effective teaching methods, assessment practices, and ways to differentiate instruction for various student populations. With a master’s degree, you become a more competitive candidate for educational leadership roles that can lead to salary increases and promotions.

Online programs provide the flexibility to study from anywhere, allowing working professionals and those with busy schedules to pursue advanced education without disrupting their current commitments. The convenience of online learning eliminates the need for commuting to a physical campus, which can save you a significant amount of time. Online education also offers access to a wide range of programs from various institutions, including prestigious universities, expanding educational options for students.

Compare School Options

Related Degrees