Best Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

If there’s one thing that all teachers can agree on, it’s that teaching – while still a profession that offers scope for a long and fulfilling career – has changed a lot in recent decades.

Major sociological and technological changes have put pressure on teaching professionals – and with the increased demand for outcomes, teachers are looking to add to whatever tools they might have at their disposal.

So while a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction is not necessary to get started in teaching – for those who are committed to the profession long-term, it makes a lot of sense both professionally and financially to make the investment. And with online learning available, options abound.

Why Pursue a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction?

Most importantly, it makes a difference in the classroom. The U.S. Department of Education reports that high-quality teacher preparation dramatically impacts student outcomes – even outweighing negative factors like poverty.[footnote][/footnote].

A Master’s in Curriculum and instruction will provide you with the skills and knowledge to improve your effectiveness in the classroom – and enhance student achievement (which is the goal of good teaching, right?).

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

In a Curriculum and Instruction program you will learn research-based strategies and best practices for developing effective, culturally sensitive instructional programs – and for managing safe, supportive learning environments.

Some programs also focus on developing leadership skills – this will help you in the important work of engaging your local community in support of student learning and to advocate for the success of all students.

Does a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Make Sense Financially?

Master’s degrees in education generally do pay off. In an article by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Education is listed among the professions in which having an advanced degree delivers a “relatively high” payoff.[footnote][/footnote] That’s strong language for the BLS.


Are Online Programs Reputable?

The days when an online degree was considered a dubious achievement are well in the past. In fact, most people who are interested in pursuing a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction are teachers looking for a accessible way to pursue an advanced degree – so if you’re ready to take the plunge into a Master’s program but can’t leave your home or work to do so, there are plenty of good, accredited online options available. Online programs provide flexibility while providing a path to an advanced degree that employers will respect.[footnote][/footnote]

What Are the Best Online Masters in Curriculum and Instruction?

If you’ve already started your search, you’ll know that there are a lot of programs out there. We at College Choice have helped you out by gathering the information – like reputation scores, tuition, and early career earnings – from a variety of sources. We then weigh the data to deliver a composite score that reflects both high academic standards and the likely return on your tuition investment.

As you peruse the ranking, here are a couple other points to keep in mind:

  • All schools on the list are regionally accredited, ensuring a level of legitimacy to the program.
  • The average tuition we list is based on out-of-state per-credit tuition. Many programs have additional fees – so be sure to look closely before you commit!

We hope our College Choice ranking helps you in your search for the best Masters in Curriculum and Instruction Program!

Best Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Degrees

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of Texas at Arlington

    Arlington, TX



    OverviewSituated in Arlington, Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington is the second largest campus (by student population) in the University of Texas system. The school is a research powerhouse with an impressive online presence and is home to a top ranked online Graduate Education program (US News and World Report). Program FeaturesThe University of Texas at Arlington Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers three NCATE accredited, online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction degree programs. The program offers three possible specializations:

    • Literacy Studies
    • Mathematics Education
    • Science Education
    The Literacy Studies specialization is an approved educator preparation program in Texas leading to three possible certifications: Reading Specialist, Master Reading Teacher, and ESL. The Mathematics Education and Science Education programs do not lead to licensure in the state of Texas. The programs emphasize teaching science and mathematics to K through 12 students, using problem- and inquiry-based teaching strategies. DetailsAll specializations in the Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction program at UT Arlington require 30 credits of coursework. Students take courses in accelerated seven week terms which allows you to move quickly through the material, finishing the entire program in as little as 18 months.

  2. University of Massachusetts Lowell

    Lowell, MA



    OverviewFounded in 1894, the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) is a nationally recognized public research institution with a reputation for providing great value in higher education with a high return on investment ( The school has a solid online presence with an online Graduate Education program that has garnered national acclaim.Program FeaturesUMass Lowell’s College of Education offers an online, NCATE-accredited Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction designed for experienced, licensed teachers who are ready to broaden their professional knowledge and expand the contributions they make to education. The program as a whole focuses on curriculum development and new instructional techniques - and to further concentrate your studies, the school offers two options for specialization:

    • Science Education
    • Autism Studies
    DetailsUMass Lowell’s online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction program is comprised of ten fully online courses (30 credits) which culminate in an Action Research Capstone project. Applicants to the program should hold a teaching license in their state, and all candidates should be working as a classroom teacher.

  3. Ohio University

    Athens, OH



    OverviewThe oldest university in the state, Ohio University is a public research university that ranks among the top 100 national public schools in the US. Located in Athens, Ohio, the school has a robust online program, with their online Graduate Education program ranking among the best in the nation.Program FeaturesOhio University’s Patton College of Education offers a CAEP-accredited, online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction. This is an advanced Master’s degree, designed for teachers who already hold a teaching license or certificate in any content area at any level. The program provides the opportunity to advance your professional skills in teaching to support student learning. Courses include:

    • Emerging Technologies for Teaching
    • Formative Instructional Practices
    • Teaching for Social Justice
    DetailsOhio University’s online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction is a 30-credit program, comprised of online coursework combined with clinical experiences. Students begin with coursework in the summer and then continue with project and portfolio development during the school year, using their classrooms as a clinical laboratory. Those who begin in Summer may complete the master’s program the following summer.

  4. University of Colorado Denver

    Denver, CO



    OverviewFounded in 1912, the University of Colorado - Denver (CU Denver) is a public urban university and the largest research institution in the state. Located in downtown Denver, the university is a diverse teaching and learning community that is also home to top ranked online programs. Their online Graduate Education program ranks among the best in the nation.Program FeaturesThe School of Education and Human Development at UC Denver offers an online Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Reading and Writing, K-12. The program is for licensed teachers seeking to enhance their literacy instruction skills and career goals. The program offers two options:

    • A 15-hour concentration in reading and writing and with the other half of your program comprised of elective courses (with the guidance of a faculty advisor) to fit your career goals. This option does not lead to the State of Colorado Reading Teacher endorsement.
    • The second option prepares you to specialize in reading and writing and to add the Reading Teacher endorsement with the Colorado Department of Education to your teaching license.
    DetailsClasses in CU Denver’s online Curriculum and Instruction program are scheduled to fit around a teacher’s professional hours. The school offers courses in multiple formats, including hybrid (part online and part face-to-face) and fully online formats. This 30-credit degree is designed to be completed in two to three years depending upon how students pace their classes

  5. Sam Houston State University

    Huntsville, TX



    OverviewLocated in the town of Hunstville, Texas, near the city of Houston, Sam Houston State University is a public university and a member of the Texas State University System. The school offers more than tenty online bachelor's and graduate degrees, and its online Graduate Education program ranks among the best in the country.Program FeaturesSam Houston State University offers a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction which is designed for licensed educators. The program is aimed at those interested in researching, developing, and implementing curriculum changes to support student achievement. With a focus on curriculum methodology, pedagogy, and theoretical applications, student are able to develop an individual academic plan that meets with their own professional needs. Courses include:

    • Curricular Trends for Classroom Teaching
    • Integrating Current Technology in Teaching
    • Current Trends in Education
    DetailsThe online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at Sam Houston State University is a 30-credit program comprised of 12 credits of core courses and 12-18 credits in an area of concentration. Interested applicants should note that there may be face-to-face requirements (for research meeting) in addition to the online coursework.

  6. University of San Diego

    San Diego, CA



    OverviewLocated in San Diego, California, the University of San Diego is a private, Catholic university that is open to students of all faiths. The school, which ranks among the top 100 national universities in the US, has a historic commitment to social justice and global awareness. The University of San Diego (USD) is also home to a top-ranked online Graduate Education program.Program FeaturesThe University of San Diego offers a flexible, NCATE- accredited, online Master of Education with specialization in Curriculum and Instruction. The online Master of Education program provides students with the opportunity to examine both their own teaching practice, as well as leading national and international educational examplars. Students will also focus on the role of Common Core Standards in curriculum development. Courses include:

    • Social Justice and Educational Equity
    • Cognition & Learning
    • Educational Research Methodology
    DetailsUSD’s online M.Ed. is a 30-credit program, consisting of five foundation courses (including a capstone research project) as well as five specialization courses. Students have the opportunity to choose specialization courses from across the School Leadership, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), Inclusive Learning: Special Education and Universal Design, or the Literacy and Digital Learning offerings.

  7. Kansas State University

    Manhattan, KS



    OverviewOne of America’s first land-grant colleges, Kansas State University is a large public research university, located in Manhattan, Kansas. The school is home to a Global Campus that provides high-quality online programs to students nationally and internationally. Their online Graduate Education program ranks in the top 20% nationally (US News and World Report).Program FeaturesThe College of Education at Kansas State offers an NCATE-accredited, online Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction that emphasizes trends and recent developments in practice, theory, and research. The program offers five areas of study, including:

    • Educational Technology
    • English as a Second Language
    • Mathematics Education
    DetailsKansas State’s online M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction requires a minimum of 31 hours of graduate credits, with at least 15 of those hours being completed within an area of specialization. Fall and Spring terms are 16 weeks in length, with some programs running on an accelerated 8-week schedule. No campus visits are necessary for this degree program.

  8. University of Nebraska at Kearney

    Kearney, NE



    OverviewFounded in Western Nebraska in 1903, the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) is a public research university and a member of the University of Nebraska system. The school ranks among the top 100 Midwestern regional universities and has an online Graduate Education program that ranks among the best in the country (US News and World Report).Program FeaturesThe Department of Teacher Education at UNK offers an online, Master of Arts in Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree designed for K-12 teachers in all areas and grade levels. The program does not lead to certification, though the ESL concentration does lead to an additional supplementary endorsement. Core coursework covers the areas of research, democracy, diversity, and technology. Concentrations include:

    • STEM (starting Fall 2017)
    • Elementary Education
    • English as a Second Language
    • Reading/Special Education
    DetailsUNK’s online M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction is a 36-credit program consisting of four core courses (12 credits) and 24 credits in the chosen concentration area. Students must also successfully complete a comprehensive examination for degree completion. The ESL Concentration Area will qualify an individual for adding an ESL PK-12 endorsement to the Nebraska Teaching Certificate.

  9. Central Michigan University

    Mount Pleasant, MI



    OverviewLocated in the town of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Central Michigan University is a large, nationally ranked public research university with more than sixty centers worldwide as well as a robust online Global Campus. Notably, their online Graduate Education program has ranked in the top 15% in the country (US News and World Report).Program FeaturesCentral Michigan University offers an online, TEAC-accredited Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction that prepares students for leadership at various levels within educational institutions. The program is designed for students who are already licensed in their field (it does not lead to certification). Coursework covers strategic planning, research, measurement and evaluation, advanced psychology, and the ethical and practical issues facing education. Courses include:

    • Advanced Educational Psychology
    • Advanced Technology in Education
    • Methods of Educational Research
    DetailsCentral Michigan University’s online M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction is comprised of 33 required credits, 18 of which are program core courses and 3-6 of which are for a chosen emphasis. Students in the Curriculum and Instruction concentration can choose an emphasis of either Reading or Instruction.

  10. Emporia State University

    Emporia, KS



    OverviewLocated just east of the Flint Hills of Kansas, Emporia State University is a small public university that currently ranks as one of the top regional public universities in the Midwest. The school has a mission to create a student-centered learning environment and has a robust online presence, including a top-ranked online Graduate Education program. Program FeaturesThe Department of School Leadership at Emporia State offers an online Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction which provides a solid background in the area of Curriculum. The program is intended for those who teach or lead programs in all levels of public and private education and offers three concentrations:

    • Curriculum Leadership (For educators who intend to coordinate the design, implementation, management, and evaluation of curriculum and instruction.)
    • Effective Practitioner (For educators interested in improving their own classroom skills and maximizing student achievement.)
    • National Board Certification - (For educators who intend to complete the review process which leads to National Board Certification.)
    DetailsClasses in Emporia State’s 34-credit Curriculum and Instruction program are available online during the spring, fall, and summer semesters. Students complete the required practicum during the final fall or spring semester of the program, when they must also pass a comprehensive exam.

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