Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction

If you’re a current or prospective education professional looking to advance your career, consider a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), education professionals with a master’s degree receive salary boosts of approximately 33% over those with only a bachelor’s degree. Graduate degree holders also have a 2.4% unemployment rate, far less than the 4.1% unemployment rate of experienced college graduates. While some careers — instructional coordinators and K-12 principals, among others — often require a master’s degree, any educator looking to transition into the fields of training and development will benefit from a master’s degree.

Curriculum and instruction graduate degrees usually require 30-39 total credit hours, and available programs include master of arts, master of science, master of education, or Ed.S in curriculum and instruction. Many programs also offer concentrations that let you specialize in a specific education level or content area, such as instructional technology. Read on to discover how you can advance your career through an affordable online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

Online Curriculum and Instruction Master’s Degrees at a Glance

Fast Facts

Time to Complete Two to three years for full-time students
Credit Hours 18-27 credits per year for full-time students
Concentrations
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Leadership
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics)
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages ESOL)
  • Instructional Technology
  • Various Content Areas (English, Science, Math, etc)
Accreditation
Additional Considerations
  • Some programs require applicants to hold a current state teaching certification, submit GRE or MAT scores, or meet certain GPA requirements.
  • Some programs require students to pass a comprehensive examination in order to graduate.

25 Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Educational Curriculum
Rank School Score Toggle Content
1

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Value Score 8.60
Average Tuition $3,630
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 81%
Number of Online Programs 13
Part-time cost per credit hour $202

Professional educators who seek to advance their careers at A&M-Commerce have two degree options, each with room for customization around personal interests. The university's 36-credit master of education in curriculum and instruction and master of science in curriculum and instruction programs each feature 18 credits of core instruction. Both degrees supplement courses on classroom management, diversity, and research methodology with classes that cover special issues in the field. Distance learners meet remaining degree requirements with elective courses that allow them to pursue a dual major, graduate certificates in several educational specialties, or additional teaching credentials. Graduates are qualified to work with student populations like the gifted and talented, bilingual/ESL, high school, or community college; alternatively, they may pursue master reading teacher, school librarian, or principal positions. The program is available entirely online. A&M-Commerce delivers its online master's in curriculum and instruction asynchronously, and classes follow a traditional semester calendar. Non-resident tuition rates apply.


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2

The University of Texas at Tyler

Value Score 8.58
Average Tuition $4,662
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 80%
Number of Online Programs 14
Part-time cost per credit hour $50

UT Tyler offers its master of education in curriculum and instruction degree both fully online and in a hybrid format that combines online and in-person classes. The program's 30-credit curriculum begins with nine credits of instruction in fundamentals and research methodology, followed by nine credits of study in curriculum and instruction, human diversity, or educational technology. The school delivers this 18-credit core exclusively online. Distance learners meet remaining degree requirements with 12 credits of coursework in areas of professional specialty, only some of which are available online. Students who complete the entire program online are experts in diversity and technology within the classroom. Admission requirements include a Texas teaching license and minimum 3.25 undergraduate GPA. UT Tyler significantly discounts tuition for its online classes, making this an affordable option for distance learners. Students can earn their master's degree in curriculum and instruction in two years.


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3

Chadron State College

Value Score 8.57
Average Tuition $3,443
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 97%
Number of Online Programs 8
Part-time cost per credit hour $191

Northwest Nebraska's CSC offers educators five areas of specialized study within its master's in curriculum and instruction degree. Students can complete the 36-credit program entirely online, on campus, or through a mix of online and in-person courses. The curriculum for each specialty is based on fundamental study of educational philosophy, research, school law, and performance assessment. Degree candidates fulfill program requirements through focused study in one of five areas: general elementary education, subject-specific elementary education, subject-specific secondary education, PK-12 reading, or K-12 special education. Students do not need to complete a thesis, although they can do so for elective credit in the general or subject-specific elementary tracks. Candidates who complete the reading and special education tracks earn professional endorsements in the course of their studies. Students can earn their degree, designed for working professionals pursuing part-time study, in two to three years. All classes follow a traditional semester calendar, and learning is asynchronous.


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4

Angelo State University

Value Score 8.34
Average Tuition $3,726
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 79%
Number of Online Programs 13
Part-time cost per credit hour $207

ASU, a member of the Texas Tech university system, provides aspiring educational professionals the opportunity to earn a master's in curriculum and instruction-advanced instructor degree. Targeted towards leaders in educational systems, the curriculum emphasizes program development, staff development, and program administration. All candidates follow a fixed degree plan that explores the strategy, organization, and implementation of curricula. Additionally, courses focus on instructional supervision, content-specific instruction, and student assessment. ASU delivers this 36-credit program exclusively online in blocks of eight weeks each.

Though not required for the degree, students can complete in-person internships and practica for credit. All learning is asynchronous, and most learners earn their degree within two years. ASU features scholarship opportunities for online graduate students, including many that are dedicated to students of education. Distance learners who are local to San Angelo may also apply for campus-based teaching assistantships.


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5

University of Nebraska at Kearney

Value Score 8.30
Average Tuition $5,286
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 93%
Number of Online Programs 9
Part-time cost per credit hour $220

UNK features an online master's in curriculum and instruction geared toward K-12 classroom teachers who seek to advance their teaching skills. The university's master of arts in curriculum and instruction: K-12 degree consists of 36 credits. Degree candidates begin their studies with four courses in curriculum and instruction fundamentals, followed by eight courses in one of seven concentration tracks. Available concentrations include early childhood education, elementary education, ESL, instructional effectiveness, reading/special education, STEM, and secondary education. UNK's program does not lead to any professional certifications; however, the ESL concentration does result in an endorsement. This curriculum and instruction degree is available exclusively online. Learning is asynchronous, and classes follow a traditional semester schedule. While UNK charges non-resident tuition fees, its College of Education offers discount rates for this program, offering one of the more affordable options for this degree.


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6

Emporia State University

Value Score 8.24
Average Tuition $5,640
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 84%
Number of Online Programs 19
Part-time cost per credit hour $235

Kansas-based Emporia State offers an online curriculum and instruction master's program that features a number of specialized study options. The master of science in curriculum and instruction degree appeals to K-12 educators seeking to improve their classroom skills, as well as those who aspire to leadership roles in public or private schools. The 34-credit curriculum includes 25 credits of in-depth study in advanced teaching skills, educational technology, and curriculum development and implementation. Students meet remaining degree requirements in one of three available concentrations: curriculum leadership, effective practitioner, or national board certification. The national board certification track meets requirements for the credential's review process. If they so choose, students can earn this degree as part of a dual master's program in conjunction with Emporia State's master's in building level educational administration.

Distance learning may be synchronous or asynchronous, depending on instructor preference. ESU charges out-of-state tuition fees for distance learners.


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7

Western Governors University

Value Score 8.00
Average Tuition $6,500
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 100%
Number of Online Programs 24
Part-time cost per credit hour $361

An exclusively online college based in Salt Lake City, WGU delivers a master of science in curriculum and instruction degree designed for classroom educators, educational leaders, and corporate trainers. This master's of curriculum and instruction features a 30-credit fixed series of online courses. As they earn their degree, distance learners explore the strategy, design, and implementation of instructional programs, as well as advanced instructional skills and research methodology. The program culminates in a capstone project. WGU delivers its distance education programs using a competency model; all learning is completely asynchronous, and students advance through the program by demonstrating new competencies. Typically, candidates for this degree finish in about two years.

WGU's pricing model paves the way to a cheap master's degree. The university assess low tuition rates per each six-month period of instruction, no matter how many competencies a student completes.


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8

Arkansas State University

Value Score 7.75
Average Tuition $4,572
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 72%
Number of Online Programs 12
Part-time cost per credit hour $254

ASU's online curriculum and instruction master's degree attracts practicing teachers who aspire to either earn specialty certification or move into leadership roles within the field. This online master's in curriculum and instruction requires distance learners to complete 36 credits. The program's core consists of nine courses that explore learning theory, advanced teaching skills, and curriculum management. Though students access all courses online, the core includes a mandatory on-site internship at an approved facility. Degree candidates fulfill requirements in one of three areas of emphasis: curriculum director, special education director, or Arkansas licensure; the third option permits online students to earn administrator certification that can be used toward reciprocity in another state. ASU delivers its distance learning courses in eight-week blocks and an asynchronous format. Students can finish this accelerated program in as few as 20 months. The university offers remarkably affordable tuition rates. Distance learners in other states should research their eligibility for ASU's online programs.


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9

Sam Houston State University

Value Score 7.69
Average Tuition $5,139
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 62%
Number of Online Programs 13
Part-time cost per credit hour $266

One of SHSU's most respected graduate programs, its master of education in curriculum and instruction invites classroom teachers to advance their skills and appeals to aspiring community college and high-school dual credit class educators. Degree candidates begin the 30-credit program with four courses in curricular study fundamentals. To meet remaining program requirements, students follow individual study plans based on their career interests. These areas of concentration include further study in curriculum and instruction, or explore topics such as learning assessments, curricula for adults, instructional coaching. Distance learning follows a traditional semester calendar in an asynchronous format, with the exception of occasional research meetings on campus. Note that some concentrations may not be available online.

SHSU dedicates scholarship funds to first-time students in online degree programs. Applicants to this master's of curriculum and instruction with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 must submit minimum GRE scores.


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10

Texas A & M International University

Value Score 7.68
Average Tuition $3,226
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 59%
Number of Online Programs 4
Part-time cost per credit hour $77

TAMIU's master's of curriculum and instruction is designed for education professionals who are interested in the design, implementation, and evaluation of curricular programs at the P-12 level. This master of science in curriculum and instruction is ideal for classroom teachers and educators who aspire to leadership roles. Available entirely online, the 36-credit program devotes 24 credits to the strategy, design and implementation of curricular programs. Degree candidates supplement the program core with 12 credits in an area of emphasis; distance learners may choose either the bilingual education or reading emphases. The program features a thesis track and a non-thesis track. Distance learning at TAMIU is primarily asynchronous, though some instructors may require a limited amount of synchronous participation. Degree candidates may be eligible for scholarship funds dedicated to online education students.


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11

Texas Tech University

Value Score 7.57
Average Tuition $4,858
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 36%
Number of Online Programs 14
Part-time cost per credit hour $270

At TTU, classroom educators can further their careers and advance their skill set through a master's in curriculum and instruction. Students can complete this master's of education in curriculum and instruction degree wholly online, or through a hybrid of online and in-person instruction at the school's Lubbock campus. Within the 36-credit program, three concentrations focus on different aspects of instruction. The curriculum studies/teacher education concentration prepares students for advanced roles as curriculum specialists or educational leaders; it also serves as preparation for doctoral studies. Degree candidates may complete a thesis for credit, but are not required to do so. In the language and literacy concentration, students explore learning environments where instructors encourage their students to take intellectual risks. Within this concentration, learners further focus their studies on either early and elementary literacy, or adolescent and adult literacy. Students on this track may earn professional reading specialist or master reading teacher certifications. Finally, those in the bilingual/ESL concentration who hold a Texas teaching license may earn Texas certification in either ESL or bilingual teaching. Though TTU delivers all courses in this program online, each concentration requires an on-site capstone experience prior to graduation.


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12

Texas A & M University-College Station

Value Score 7.57
Average Tuition $5,598
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 14%
Number of Online Programs 31
Part-time cost per credit hour $241

TAMU-College Station hosts a master's in instruction that takes a broad approach to the field. Distance learners can customize the university's master of education in teaching and curriculum to fit their particular career goals. The program's 36-credit curriculum begins with four courses that explore the fundamentals of culture in education, teaching skills, and curriculum development. Students fulfill the bulk of the degree requirements by enrolling in eight three-credit elective courses.

Distance learners can choose among a particularly broad selection of courses within the program's STEM and urban education emphases. Students can fulfill all of the requirements for this curriculum and instruction degree online. All learning is asynchronous, and learners do not need to complete a thesis in order to graduate. Online students at TAMU-College Station all pay the same tuition rate, regardless of their state of residence. Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores.


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13

Appalachian State University

Value Score 7.54
Average Tuition $4,518
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 29%
Number of Online Programs 4
Part-time cost per credit hour $211

Located in Boone, North Carolina, ASU provides educational practitioners the chance to advance their professional standing through its master's program in curriculum and instruction. The master of arts curriculum specialist degree prepares classroom teachers for leadership roles in the development and implementation of instructional programs in public schools. In this 36-credit program, degree candidates explore a range of topics including the strategy and design of curricular programs, leadership skills in the educational environment, classroom assessment, and educational technology. Students do not need to complete a thesis, and fulfill degree requirements entirely online. Distance learners at ASU mostly study asynchronously, though some instructors require occasional synchronous participation online. ASU prices its tuition at competitively low rates, making the school a solid choice for an affordable master's of curriculum and instruction. However, out-of-state distance learners do pay a higher rate than online students residing in North Carolina.


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14

York College

Value Score 7.44
Average Tuition $4,500
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 100%
Number of Online Programs 2
Part-time cost per credit hour $425

A private school in southeastern Nebraska, York offers aspiring K-12 administrators or corporate trainers a Christ-centered approach to curriculum and instruction design. Its master of arts in education: curriculum and instruction degree program features an interdisciplinary approach. The 36-credit curriculum and instruction degree program follows a fixed degree plan that explores not only the strategy and implementation of instructional programs, but also the organizational leadership skills, professional ethics, assessment methods, and educational technology that help them succeed. To graduate, distance learners must complete either a thesis or a capstone research project.

Students can earn York's MA degree entirely online. The school delivers its distance learning courses in an asynchronous format, and conducts online classes in six-week blocks. The college does not charge non-resident tuition fees. Prospective students with an undergraduate GPA lower than 2.5 should submit a personal goals statement with their online application.


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15

University of Houston-Victoria

Value Score 7.42
Average Tuition $5,574
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 93%
Number of Online Programs 11
Part-time cost per credit hour $389

UHV's master's in curriculum and instruction appeals to classroom teachers seeking to elevate their professional knowledge and skills. Requiring students to complete 30 credits, the university's master of education in curriculum and instruction program features a number of concentrations, three of which students can complete entirely online. Distance learners may opt for study tracks in educational technology, literacy studies, or reading teaching. The curriculum begins with 12 credits of instruction in curriculum development, human development, diversity, and research in education. Degree candidates fulfill remaining requirements with 15 credits of study within their chosen specialty, followed by an original research project. If they so choose, students may complete an optional, on-site internship for credit. Students in the reading teaching track may also pursue master reading teacher certification; licensed Texas teachers may also earn the reading specialist certification. Distance learners at UHV study asynchronously, and online classes follow a semester calendar.


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16

West Texas A & M University

Value Score 7.38
Average Tuition $4,292
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 78%
Number of Online Programs 5
Part-time cost per credit hour $335

WTAMU provides a master's degree in curriculum and instruction geared toward classroom teachers who want to advance their professional expertise. The university's online master's in curriculum and instruction degree delivers 36 credits of instruction to current and aspiring educational practitioners. If they so choose, degree candidates can specialize their studies through special education or reading education tracks. The program's core consists of 18 credits of foundational courses covering curriculum design and strategy, educational research, leadership skills, and human development. Distance learners meet remaining degree requirements with 18 credits of courses within concentrations or areas of interest. Students in the reading education track who hold a Texas teaching license may also earn the Texas EC-12 reading specialist certification as they earn their degree. Degree candidates do not need to fulfill a thesis requirement, and can complete all coursework online. The format of the program is primarily asynchronous, though some instructors may call for occasional synchronous attendance.


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17

South Dakota State University

Value Score 7.30
Average Tuition $5,264
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 23%
Number of Online Programs 12
Part-time cost per credit hour $347

SDSU's master of education in curriculum and instruction degree targets working instructors who seek to better educate their students using advanced classroom skills. Students in this online master's in curriculum and instruction may specialize their studies in one of four areas of concentration: early childhood, elementary, secondary, or adult and higher education. The 35-credit program's core delivers comprehensive instruction in educational assessment, instructional design, educational psychology, and effective teaching strategy. Distance learners on the elementary education track may concurrently earn the kindergarten education endorsement; additionally, all degree tracks allow for the K-12 English as a new language endorsement. Students must choose between thesis and non-thesis options in all concentrations except elementary education. Online students can fulfill all course requirements for this MEd degree through distance learning; however, all degree candidates must complete an in-person internship at an approved facility. SDSU's distance education consists of recordings of class lectures, and all learning is asynchronous.


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18

The University of Texas at El Paso

Value Score 7.29
Average Tuition $4,497
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 36%
Number of Online Programs 10
Part-time cost per credit hour $450

Those envisioning careers in early childhood education may find UTEP's online master's in curriculum and instruction a perfect fit. The master of education in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in early child education instructs students in the development of young children and their unique educational needs. The 36-credit fixed curriculum, which students can complete entirely online, includes 12 credits of professional development courses and 24 credits in early childhood education. Class topics include literacy development, bilingual instruction, math and science fundamentals development, and issues and trends in the field. Online learning at UTEP is completely asynchronous, and on-campus faculty teach the University's online courses

While out-of-state tuition rates do apply to this degree, UTEP has discounted the program's fees significantly compared to its other online graduate programs. Admission requirements include a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, a resume, and a statement of purpose.


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19

Armstrong State University

Value Score 7.21
Average Tuition $3,798
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 37%
Number of Online Programs 3
Part-time cost per credit hour $211

Savannah, Georgia-based Armstrong delivers a master's in curriculum and instruction geared toward educators who aspire to leadership roles in their field. Armstrong's master of education in curriculum and instruction degree attracts educational professionals who hold Georgia T-4 certification or its equivalent in other eligible states. the 33-credit online curriculum is largely fixed, featuring eight professional development courses in advanced curriculum and instruction theory, classroom strategies, instructional development, and educational assessment. Armstrong accompanies this core with two courses in advanced pedagogy and a capstone research project. Degree candidates who hold clear, renewable teaching certifications may substitute pedagogical study courses for electives in their area of specialization. Online learning at Armstrong is asynchronous, and classes follow a traditional semester calendar. Full-time students can complete this MEd degree in two years, including two summer terms.


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20

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Value Score 7.12
Average Tuition $5,738
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 94%
Number of Online Programs 16
Part-time cost per credit hour $412

Educators seeking professional development find a healthy selection of options at NSU of Louisiana. The university's master of education in curriculum and instruction degree program offers concentrations in five areas: English, reading, professional teaching standards, school librarian, and transition to teaching. The program's 36-credit curriculum consists of 24 credits in curriculum development, implementation, and assessment; study of advanced teaching techniques and an on-site internship complete the core components of the degree. Students meet the remaining requirements in their concentration track. Degree candidates in the reading education track may earn the Louisiana reading specialist certification as they progress through the program. Additionally, the school librarian concentration partially meets Louisiana requirements for school librarian endorsement. Coursework in the professional teaching track qualifies graduates for Louisiana teacher leader endorsement. The transition to teaching track delivers advanced instructional knowledge to Louisiana residents participating in a bridge program for aspiring teachers who hold undergraduate degrees in other fields. Distance learning at NSU is asynchronous, though some classes do require proctored exams.


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21

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Value Score 6.91
Average Tuition $7,852
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 29%
Number of Online Programs 34
Part-time cost per credit hour $368

NC State takes a different approach to its online master's in curriculum and instruction. Recognizing that advances in technology have both created new avenues to learning and made education a global enterprise, the university developed a new literacies and global learning concentration. Designed for experienced teachers, this concentration can comprise part of the curriculum for NC State's master of science or master of education in curriculum and instruction. The program's core consists of 12 credits in new media, global learning, leadership skills, and research methodology. The core is complemented by further specialization within the concentration, focusing on K-12 reading, middle grades English, secondary English, or secondary social studies teaching; students in each of these specialities can gain professional certification as they earn their degree. Students in the K-12 specialty must complete a supervised practicum. MEd degree candidates can complete the degree in just 30 credits, while MS candidates complete 30 credits of coursework in addition to a required six-credit thesis. NC State's curriculum and instruction degree in new literacies and global learning is a hybrid program that features half of its required courses online and half in traditional on-campus classrooms.


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22

University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus

Value Score 6.85
Average Tuition $6,516
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 24%
Number of Online Programs 13
Part-time cost per credit hour $362

At UC-Denver, educators seeking a master's degree in curriculum and instruction may choose from four concentration options: K-12 reading and writing, elementary math and science, elementary science, or elementary culturally or linguistically diverse education. Distance learners can earn their master of arts in curriculum and instruction: K-12 reading and writing degree entirely online. This 30-credit program appeals to working educators who seek to improve their teaching skills. Online degree candidates participate in a comprehensive exploration of language and literacy development, instruction techniques, and classroom assessment. Residents of Colorado may also earn a reading teacher endorsement as they complete their degree. Though students can complete all coursework online, the degree also requires two on-site practical experiences. Notably, the university provides a significant amount of financial assistance to students pursuing literacy and language education, including dedicated scholarship funds, participation in TEACH grants, and online tuition rates cheaper than those for on-campus courses.


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23

The University of West Florida

Value Score 6.76
Average Tuition $7,088
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 78%
Number of Online Programs 13
Part-time cost per credit hour $378

UWF has much to offer classroom teachers who aspire to leadership positions, with degrees featuring a number of customization options to suit special interests. The school's online master of education in curriculum and instruction degree prepares graduates for master teacher and leadership roles, concentrating on elementary education, middle-level education, reading instruction, or secondary education. The 36-credit program includes 12 credits in classroom management, teacher education, and educational assessment; nine credits in research methodology and a research practicum build upon the program's core. Students meet the remainder of the degree requirements through study of specialized areas within each concentration; these areas include career and technical, ESOL, instructional technology, professional training, and reading endorsement. Learning in UWF's online master's in curriculum and instruction is asynchronous, but some instructors may require proctored exams.

Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, and must submit GRE or GMAT scores earned within the last five years.


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24

Concordia University-Saint Paul

Value Score 6.74
Average Tuition $8,550
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 92%
Number of Online Programs 17
Part-time cost per credit hour $420

A private Lutheran school, Concordia features a master of arts in education in curriculum & instruction degree that students can complete entirely online. Delivering a K-12 reading endorsement, this 30-credit program attracts K-12 teachers seeking to advance their instructional skills in literacy, language arts and reading. The fixed curriculum features courses in curriculum design and implementation, literary classroom strategies, classroom assessment, issues and trends in education, and research methodology. The program culminates in a capstone research project. Distance learners complete all study asynchronously, with the exception of a weekly synchronous audiovisual chat. Students can typically earn their degree within two years.

Applicants to this curriculum and instruction master's need a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, and must submit a personal statement along with official transcripts. Admission requirements also include a professional resume.


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25

Minnesota State University Moorhead

Value Score 6.74
Average Tuition $6,480
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 62%
Number of Online Programs 5
Part-time cost per credit hour $360

MSUM's master of science in curriculum and instruction appeals to P-12 educators seeking to improve student achievement in their classrooms. Available entirely online, this program features concentrations in teacher leadership, literacy, special education, TESL, technology, and Kodaly. Regardless of concentration, all degree candidates complete 19 credits in curriculum and instruction, advanced teaching techniques, educational technology, research methodology, and diversity in the classroom. This core curriculum is complemented by 13 to 15 credits in students' chosen areas of interest. Distance learners can complete all their coursework online; however, the teacher leadership and TESL emphasis tracks require supervised practical experiences in the classroom. MSUM features completely asynchronous distance learning. Non-resident tuition rates do apply, but distance learners local to campus may apply for graduate assistantships.

Prospective students should submit their applications to this curriculum and instruction master's by August 1, November 15, and April 15 for the fall, spring, and summer semesters (respectively).


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What Will I Learn in My Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Program?

Students in online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction programs complete coursework in curriculum development, research and analysis, educational philosophy, leadership, and the relationship between curriculum and technology. While programs differ in their specific requirements, many require a final practicum, final project, or thesis.

Sample Courses

  • Teacher as Researcher As an introduction to research methodology, students explore qualitative and quantitative methods. Students also analyze and interpret educational research in their field of interest.
  • Educational Philosophy This course studies early and contemporary educational philosophies. Topics include philosophies of teaching, the educational system, the purposes of schools, and the role of teachers in society.
  • Curriculum Development This course varies between programs: some focus on general K-12 curriculum development, while others are structured around specific populations or content areas. Most courses develop lesson plans, unit plans, and assessments.
  • Leadership By cultivating leadership principles in teachers and administrators, students learn to manage and lead reform initiatives in their schools, classrooms, school systems, and communities.
  • Educational Technology Students explore ways to incorporate technology into the K-12 classroom. This may include integrating technology and curriculum development for specific content areas or populations.

Concentrations for a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction

In many curriculum and instruction programs, students select a specific concentration to pursue; this could be related to a specified age group, content area, or skill-set. These online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction specializations can help educators advance in their careers or move into a new area of instruction altogether.

  1. Early Childhood/Elementary/Secondary Education: Many programs allow students to concentrate in a specific age group. Others allow students to also add a content area with specializations like elementary education or language arts. Courses include principles, issues and trends, and instruction to particular age groups.
  2. English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL): Students learn foundations and strategies for teaching English as a second language, including theories of learning languages and the demographics of English Language Learners. They also learn to advocate for these learners in and out of the classroom.
  3. Instructional Technology: Because technology plays use increases everyday in the classroom, specialists are needed to translate its use into curricula. Students engage new and emerging technology, develop strategies for using new tools, and train other teachers to integrate technology in their classrooms.
  4. Leadership: Some programs have multiple leaderships concentrations, including teacher leadership, school leadership, and curriculum leadership. Courses generally include leadership theory, philosophy, and current trends in education.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Graduates

Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Careers

Graduates with master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction pursue many different careers, including K-12 and special education teachers. In addition, a master’s degree can lead to jobs as instructional coordinators, training and development specialists, principals, and instructional technology specialists. People in these fields need to have strong research and analysis skills to effectively evaluate curriculum. They also need excellent communication skills, as they give presentations and work with other faculty and staff. These professionals are generally employed full-time in a traditional office environment. Many of these positions require an advanced degree, and even in roles where it is not specifically required, those with a master’s degree may receive higher salary or advancement consideration.

Instructional Coordinator

$62,460 Avg Annual Salary
Master’s Degree Degree Required

Instructional coordinators work in a variety of educational environments — including K-12 and college — and work with both educators and school administrators. They ensure curricula meets required standards and is implemented effectively. Public schools generally require instructional coordinators to hold master’s degrees in education, curriculum and instruction, or a specific content area.

Projected Growth Rate 7%

Training and Development Specialist

$59,020 Avg Annual Salary
Bachelor’s Degree Degree Required

These specialists train employees and design, create, and assess training methods and materials. They work in almost every industry and often lead employee training activities. Many employers require specialists have experience in areas related to training and development, such as adult education techniques. While a master’s is not required in this field, it may be required for advancement into management roles.

Projected Growth Rate 7%

Elementary, Middle, or High School Principal

$92,510 Avg Annual Salary
Master’s Degree Degree Required

K-12 principals usually hold a master’s degree and work experience as a teacher. Principals manage all school operations, including teachers, staff, curricula, and activities. Their work involves developing and maintaining curriculum standards, and implementing professional development opportunities for staff and faculty.

Projected Growth Rate 6%

Instructional Technology Specialist

$54,197 Avg Annual Salary
Master’s Degree Degree Required

Instructional technology specialists are an organization’s technology experts. They train staff on different technology concepts while providing technology and educational support. They also develop and assess curriculum and design technology-related education. While a bachelor’s degree is required for this role, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction significantly improves one’s earning potential.

Projected Growth Rate 7%

Curriculum and Instruction Licensure and Certification

Positions in education, training, and administration may require licensure or certification, though requirements vary by employer. Many licensures and certifications can be earned alongside your master’s degree, while others — such as those for K-12 principals — usually require a master’s degree to complete. Regardless of requirement or skill level, licensure and certifications signals to prospective employers that you have added professional expertise.

  • Teaching License/Certification: Teaching licenses or certifications are required for teachers in public schools, and may also be required for instructional coordinators and instructional technology specialists working in public schools. Certifications may not be required for those teaching in private schools, though requirements vary by state.
  • School Administrator License: Public school principals are generally expected to be licensed as school administrators. This often requires a master’s degree, and some states have alternative programs for candidates without a master’s degree. Private schools, however, may not require principals to hold state licensure.
  • International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) Certification: Training and development specialists may consider the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) Certification from the ISPI, and organization that specializes in training and development. Even if not required, these professional certifications demonstrate commitment to the profession and added job expertise.

Job Placement for Graduates of Curriculum and Instruction Master’s Degree Programs

Even though some curriculum and instruction careers require only a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree can lead to leadership positions such as manager, supervisor, or principal. Furthermore, a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) found that those with a master’s degree working in education receive an average earnings boost of 33%.

Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Salary

While graduates of this degree program pursue a variety of careers, instructional coordinator positions offer the chance to directly apply the curriculum, leadership, and instruction skills from the program. Over the next decade, instructional coordinator positions are expected to grow by 7%, about on par with other occupations. Below, we list the top five states with the highest annual mean wages for instructional coordinators, as compared to the average in the United States. The top states include the District of Columbia, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, and Virginia.

Top 5 paying U.S. States for Instructional Coordinators
Location Employment Annual Mean Wage
United States 147,330 $65,500
District of Columbia 1,540 $92,240
Connecticut 1,270 $84,020
New Jersey 2,760 $79,060
California 18,570 $75,530
Virginia 4,650 $74,950

Do I Need to Take the GRE to Enroll in an Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Program?

The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is commonly required for graduate school admission. It assesses writing, math and verbal reasoning, and critical thinking skills. The GRE must be taken at a test center, and is usually completed in about three hours. Students can spend anywhere from one to six months studying for the GRE, generally devoting a few hours a week to their studies. Study aids are available in a variety of formats, including preparation courses, booklets, tutors, and practice exams. Many degree programs also list their minimum score requirements, which provide students an idea of how they need to perform on the exam.

Not all affordable master’s programs in curriculum and instruction require students to submit GRE scores. Some will allow other tests (such as the MAT), while others will waive the GRE requirement if the applicant has a qualified undergraduate GPA or already holds a master’s degree.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Degrees

Students interested in online master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction should ensure their prospective college or university is accredited. Schools can be either regionally or nationally accredited. Regional accreditation, divided by geographic areas of the country, is generally considered more rigorous and more prestigious. National accreditation, conversely, is often granted to vocational or for-profit institutions. It’s important to note that a school must be regionally or nationally accredited in order to receive federal financial aid. Additionally, students transferring programs — or pursuing further education, such as a doctorate — should know that some programs will only recognize a degrees or credits earned at a regionally-accredited college.

Colleges with online programs are accredited just like their on-campus counterparts. There are also some national accrediting bodies specific to online education. In addition to this institutional accreditation, specific programs or majors may also accredited. Education-related master’s programs can be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which is the consolidation of two previous groups, NCATE and TEAC. Programmatic accreditors assure a program’s quality, and supports continuous improvement in the field. Many education programs are also accredited by their state’s Department of Education.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Program

All students applying to graduate programs should complete the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which determines one’s eligibility for federal loans, scholarships, and grants. Some graduate programs also require the FAFSA for institutional graduate scholarship and fellowship consideration. Students should also thoroughly research private scholarships, as that is money received that does not need to be repaid. Furthermore, privately-offered scholarships can often apply to any institution the student chooses to attend.

Scholarships for Curriculum and Instruction Master’s Degrees

Curriculum and Instruction Scholarships

Learn.org Master’s Degree Scholarship in Education and Teaching $500

This scholarship offered by Learn.org is open to students pursuing master’s degrees in teaching, curriculum and instruction, education administration, educational leadership, early childhood education, or educational technology.

Scholarship Deadline: April 1

Eligibility Requirements: Students must be full-time, and selection is based on academic history, extracurricular activities, and employment history.

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Learn.org Master’s Degree Scholarship in Education and Teaching $500

This scholarship offered by Learn.org is open to students pursuing master’s degrees in teaching, curriculum and instruction, education administration, educational leadership, early childhood education, or educational technology.

Scholarship Deadline: April 1

Eligibility Requirements: Students must be full-time, and selection is based on academic history, extracurricular activities, and employment history.

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A. Harry Passow Classroom Teacher Scholarship Varies

This scholarship offered by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is for K-12 educators who have shown excellence in teaching gifted children, and a commitment to developing their teaching skills.

Scholarship Deadline: Nominations open January 8

Eligibility Requirements: Student must be a member of NAGC for at least one year, with evidence of acceptance into an accredited college, and enrolled in a set of graduate courses that develop skills in working with gifted students.

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TEACH Grant $4,000

This scholarship is offered by the federal government to undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, or graduate students who agree to teach for a certain amount of time post-graduation.

Scholarship Deadline: Varies, contact college

Eligibility Requirements: Institution must participate in TEACH Grant program. Student must maintain 3.25 GPA, and agree to teach in a high-need field at an institution that serves low-income families, and for at least four years.

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Bright Futures Scholarship Up to $1,000

This scholarship is for teachers enrolled in a degree program for early childhood education or similar.

Scholarship Deadline: TBA

Eligibility Requirements: Student must be enrolled at an accredited college in an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s program.

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ACS-Hach Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Scholarship Up to $6,000

This scholarship is offered by the American Chemical Society (ACS) to students who have an interest in becoming chemistry teachers at the secondary level.

Scholarship Deadline: Application cycle open February 1

Eligibility Requirements: Student must pursue a master’s in education or secondary chemistry/science certification, have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related field, and have less than one year of work experience.

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Education & Teaching Rankings