Top 5 Online Masters in Curriculum & Instruction Degrees

Getting your master’s degree in curriculum and instruction can be a smart educational decision for many new and experienced teachers. While you do not need a master’s degree necessarily to get started in teaching, earning your graduate degree can result in higher pay and better job opportunities over the long term.

A master’s in curriculum and instruction can be especially attractive because this type of degree will provide you with betters skills and techniques to educate your students and to increase their achievements. These benefits can translate into better career prospects for you.

Some of the best master’s programs have a significant focus on how to use modern instructional technology to make learning more accessible for all students.

What You’ll Learn

Generally, a master’s in education specialized in curriculum and instruction will help you to understand how a teaching curriculum is selected and designed. It also will illustrate how the curriculum can be better focused to improve student learning and boost engagement in the classroom. Some of the key skills you will learn in many master’s in education programs are:

  • How to evaluate state and national academic standards to grasp how they affect the development of curriculum
  • How to engage in organizing and brainstorming curriculum ideas and to identify possible flaws in certain types of curriculum
  • How to analyze traditional curriculum methods
  • Getting better familiar with academic standards and curriculum formatting
  • How to create your own unique curricula and learning how to align it with common educational standards and learning requirements of certain student groups

To get started on a master’s in education in curriculum and instruction, you should think strongly about the five quality online master’s programs we have selected below.

Each of these programs has been accredited by the NCATE – National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. This accreditation is very important so that your potential employer knows that your online degree has met the highest standards of quality.

#1 Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction that is specially designed for those interested in gifted education. This program will prepare you to work most effectively with children who have academic gifts.

At ASU, you will take your online graduate degree through the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. There you will learn the theory and pedagogy that you need to both identify and serve children with gifts. You also will hone the skills that you need to develop so that you can provide students the latest instructional methods and services.

The ASU program is made for teachers, administrators and therapists who need to teach gifted children. Faculty in this program understand that gifted students require enhanced instruction so that they can reach their full potential.

Graduates of this program will discover how to be an effective advocate in your school for children with gifts. You also will gain tools that you need to identify potential and to address needs of students with gifts and talents.

Further, you will discover how to create programs for gifted children based upon what your school district needs.

ASU Online is well known for its high quality online education. The university believes that everyone should be able to get an education affordably, and it has designed this online learning environment with efficient success in mind.

#2 University of New England

The University of New England offers a Master of Science in Education with a specialization in curriculum and instruction. UNE Online offers this master’s degree in 30 credits and you may take the program 100% online.

It features the most relevant educational classes and has several focus areas, including curriculum and instruction, for students who want to really fine tune what they are learning.

This accredited program allows the student to customize the course plan based upon your career goals.

Program highlights

  • 30 credit hour program
  • Complete your degree in less than two years
  • 100% online – you do not need to visit campus, unlike many online degrees
  • No need to take the GRE
  • Highly experienced and dynamic faculty, including educational practitioners, researchers and educators

Curriculum in this program includes:

  • Teacher as Leader
  • Differentiation Theory and Strategies
  • Motivational Theory and Class Management
  • Action Research
  • Portfolio
  • Instruction Leadership
  • Using Technology within Inclusion Education
  • Teaching and Learning in Inclusion Settings
  • Study Skills and Content Literacy Instruction
  • Connecting Reading and Writing for Success

This program also has other specializations that you can take some electives in, if you choose:

  • Inclusion Education
  • Educational Leadership
  • Literacy
  • Career and Technical Education

#3 University of San Diego

If you want to improve instruction practices and curriculum design in your school or facility, consider this highly flexible master’s program at the University of San Diego. You can choose several different areas of specialty courses:

  • School Leadership
  • STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics
  • Inclusive Learning – Special Education
  • Universal Design
  • Literacy and Digital Learning

Whichever focus area you choose, you will learn how to examine your own practices and also the leading national and international developers of curriculum. You will learn how the Common Core Standards are important to develop effective curriculum.

This accredited program requires you to complete 10 classes for a total of 30 credit hours. The master’s in education program has five foundation classes and a capstone research project. You also will take five specialization classes from one of the above concentrations.

Core classes are:

  • Social Justice and Educational Equity
  • Cognition and Learning
  • Educational Research Methodology
  • Qualitative Methods in Educational Research
  • Capstone

Program objectives

The online Master of Education program in curriculum and instruction is ideal for current teachers who have at least two years of experience in many different settings of classrooms, including public, charter, independent and non traditional.

Classes in your curriculum will include some of the following, depending upon your specialization:

  • Data Driven Decision Making
  • Instructional Leadership
  • Creativity and Innovation in STEAM
  • Artistic Modeling and Representation in Science and Math Education
  • Designing Learning Environments for All
  • Identifying and Responding to the Needs of Diverse Learners
  • Teaching Students on the Autism Spectrum

#4 Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech offers a top notch Master of Arts degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction. The major focus of the online degree is on instructional technology. It is offered through the Department of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Virginia Tech.

It is designed to meet the advanced needs of professional educators who work K through 12 teaching positions, and also community colleges or higher education. This program also may be appropriate for corporate trainers and many other instructional development professionals that do not necessarily work in education.

This program focuses on creating effective teaching solutions that will support learning and better performance. Your individual experiences as a professional are very important in this program and will form a major basis of what students learn.

This program is highly rigorous and it is designed to make you into a professional instructional technologist. You will enjoy a high degree of respect and professional opportunities after you graduate from one of the highest quality instructional technology degrees in the US.

Your required classes will include:

  • Foundations of IDT
  • Theoretical Foundations of TEL
  • Design for Learning
  • Program and Product Evaluation
  • Applied ID Theory
  • Action Research in IDT
  • Project and Report
  • Software Evaluation
  • Distance Education
  • Visual Literacy
  • Learning Message Design
  • Applications of Digital Media
  • Interactive Design

#5 University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

The University of Wisconsin has an excellent Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction that offers mostly online classes. You will have the chance to interact online with curriculum and instruction graduate faculty, who have decades of experience as teachers, collaborators with universities, schools and researchers, and are well known experts in their field.

Generally, you will study the most modern theories and practices in curriculum design, as well as advanced instructional methods.

If you are able to attend some of the on campus intensives, you can interact with leading metropolitan area educators and learn from their experiences.

If you are a current teacher with a teaching certification, you will choose from four different concentration areas:

  • K-8 Teaching
  • Subject Focus Area – English, Literacy Education, Mathematics Education, Mathematics Teacher Leadership, Reading Education
  • Instructional Level Focus Area -Early Childhood, Middle Childhood, Early Adolescence
  • Cross Curricular Focus Area – Administrative Leadership, Cultures and Communities

With this master of education in curriculum and instruction to get your teacher’s certification, you have the opportunity to focus on many concentrations:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • English Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Reading Education
  • Science Education
  • Social Studies Education
  • Middle Childhood Education
  • Second Language Education