Masters in Curriculum & Instruction Programs

What is a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction?

Masters in Curriculum and Instruction programs focus on two main things, the development and delivery of instructional materials. Some programs also highlight teacher education. Students study current trends and methods of educating. They also learn to use educational research to improve their teaching practice and use new methods of classroom management.

A Masters in Curriculum and Instruction stress’ curriculum theory, research and implementation as a concentration within education. Students may be either current or aspiring educators, or interested in educational leadership.

 Masters Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction

Why Consider a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction?

Masters in Curriculum and Instruction programs stress instructional design. This is an area important to dedicated educators who are concerned about student achievement and how to motivate their students to perform better.  With a keen understanding of the learning process, teachers are better equipped to help students to understand what they are being taught. Curriculum and Instruction Masters programs advance the ability to design course materials for a specific student population. They may also highlight a content element or look for a program that focuses on a subject. Stem education is one example.

Popular Schools with Curriculum & Instruction Masters Degrees

ProgramInstitutionDegree Awarded
Curriculum and InstructionSUNY College--PotsdamMS
Curriculum and InstructionOlivet Nazarene UniversityMS
EducationBarat CollegeMEd
Graduate Education, Leadership, and CounselingRider UniversityMS
Master in Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Math or ELLEvergreen State CollegeMS
Curriculum and InstructionFlorida Atlantic UniversityMS
Teaching and Curriculum - MasterSyracuse UniversityMA
Curriculum and Instruction - MasterUniversity of DenverMS
M.S. Curriculum and InstructionWestern Governors UniversityMSEd
Master of Science in Instructional DesignGrand Canyon UniversityMS
Master of Science in Instructional Design and TechnologyPurdue GlobalMS
Education, MSEd - Teaching and LearningKeiser UniversityN/A
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About Instructional Coordinators

The Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction might be a door opener, especially for those who aspire to pursue a career as instructional coordinators. Instructional Coordinators are often educators who have moved into school administration. They help develop curriculum and work with teachers and administrators to improve instruction. They synchronize educational content and manage teaching standards.i

DID YOU KNOW? Instructional coordinators need a Master’s degree and related work experience to pursue entry-level career positions.ii

Masters in Curriculum and Instruction: Essentials

Masters in Curriculum and Instruction programs may require completing 30 to 39 credits. That is roughly two years of full-time study beyond the Bachelor’s degree. There are several degree tracks to consider aside from the Master of Education (MEd). These include the Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) in Education. And the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT).

Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Courtney L. Teague

Dr. Courtney L. Teague
Continuing Education Instructor

Expert Insight

What is the biggest benefit of earning a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction:

Learning about various instructional methods is the most valuable part of earning a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. I am now able to determine which instructional strategies I should select based on my experience researching the history of curriculum and instruction.


Admission Requirements

As with program length and credit stacks, admissions to Curriculum and Instruction Masters programs vary. Applicants commonly have a Bachelor’s degree, earned at an accredited college. Some programs also ask prospective students to have previous teaching experience. They may also need a current teaching license. Minimum GPA or GRE scores may also be necessary. This is up to each school.  

Curriculum and Instructional Design Courses

Curriculum and Instructional design courses differ between schools. As a student, you should look for a syllabus that teaches you what you hope to teach others. Aside from instructional material design, some of the courses you might find in a Curriculum and Instruction Masters program could include the following topics:

  • Emerging technologies
  • Alternative instruction
  • Educational research
  • Student assessment and evaluation

Potential C & I Specializations

Within Masters in Curriculum and Instruction programs there are often “specialization courses”. This offers an extra area of focus. For example, a instructional technology course may teach how to incorporate technology into a curriculum. Other concentrations, such as the following, allow you to tailor your degree to your interests.

  • Children’s Literature,
  • Elementary Education
  • Curriculum and Supervision,
  • Adult Education,
  • English.

Capstone Experience

Students may have to complete a research project, thesis or practicum. This usually comes near the end of a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction. These experiences allow educators to synthesize what they've learned in the program.

Which Degree is Right for Me? MA, MS, MAT, MEd Options

Keep in mind that Masters Curriculum and Instruction programs do not necessarily lead to an endorsement or a teaching license. If you want to become a classroom teacher, contact your state's education authorities prior to enrolling. Or pursue a degree that explicitly prepares for initial licensure.

Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Masters in Education curriculum and instruction degrees often appeal to certified teachers who want to grow their academic and professional skills. M.Ed.s refine students' knowledge of research methodologies and organizational change. A M.Ed. C&I program is likely to include a thesis and research project.

Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction

In general, a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction includes more theory and core classes in educational philosophy and ethics. Considered flexible, this track provides an opportunity for teachers to specialize throug concentration courses.

Master of Science: Curriculum and Instruction

Curriculum and Instruction is one of the concentration areas within MSEd degree programs. The Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction often appeals to educators with experience who want to transition into leadership.  

Master of Arts in Teaching

MAT degrees are designed for students with a Bachelors degree in an area outside of teaching who wish to enter the field. The MAT degree is sometimes called ‘teacher preparation’. It generally leads to initial licensure. Students may be able to add an endorsement to this degree. This could be adding a second subject like Math. Or, English as a Second Language (ESL).

Online, On-Campus and Hybrid Programs

Are you excited to learn in a social learning setting? If so, browse ‘campus’ programs. Or go straight to the location setting and look for a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction program in a specific city, state or country. If this doesn’t suit your busy schedule, distance education might. Search for online or hybrid programs. The latter combines web based courses with infrequent visits to campus.


Accreditation is an assurance of quality through an external review process. When a graduate school is accredited it has demonstrated several things. One, that it meets educational standards. And two, that it continues to maintain or exceed these standards. There are presently six regional accreditors. These are recognized by the Department of Education. Your prospective school may also have accredited programs. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the principal accreditor. It is the resulting organization from the merger of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). 

After Graduation: Potential Next Steps

Wondering what you might do with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction? Some students work towards a PhD or EdD in Education degree. Especially if educational leadership, research or policy reform is on their radar. Other options depend on factors like your work experience.

Career Outlook

Per the BLS, at least five years of teaching or working in administration is required to pursue a career as an Instructional Coordinator. ii Also known as curriculum specialists and instructional coaches. That said, demand in this field is expected to grow by about 7 percent from 2014 to 2024.ii Salaries vary depending on setting. In May 2015, the median annual wage for instructional coordinators employed by the government was $70,190.ii Other potential career paths might include Technical Trainers and E-Learning Developers.iii

Top States for Employment: Instructional Coordinators
StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
New York7,900$65,850

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Instructional Coordinators
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA$100,6101,440
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT$95,330530
Salem, OR$93,600230
Fresno, CA$90,970630
New Haven, CT$90,650110

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sources: [i] |[ii] |[iii]

Top 81 Graduate Schools with Masters in Curriculum and Instruction Programs

  • Online Teaching Degrees - Recognized in all 50 States
  • Tuition around $4,000 a term - about half the cost of most other online universities
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