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The 10 Best Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Degree Programs

Designing curricula is a dying art. With programs in place like Common Core, it’s tempting to take a one-size-fits-all approach to instruction. However, with such a diverse community of learners in the United States, is it better to resuscitate the art of curriculum design? We think so. Now — more than ever — all types of students are working together in the classroom: gifted students, bilingual students, students who come from impoverished backgrounds, highly creative students, and autistic students. The temptation is to take one set curriculum and differentiate it to match the learners in the room. But that curriculum may not be appropriate for your community of learners. In fact, your community of learners may need far more that what is in the Common Core to become successful not only as students but as people. That’s why today’s curriculum and instruction courses include classes on educational policy, the community, and parental involvement. Teachers are learning how design curricula that really reaches the learners in the room and that differs depending on cultural background and the level of parental support. Today teachers are not only teaching but advocating for effective instruction in the classroom and help from others in the community. The 21st century classroom is exciting, and today more so than ever, we need teachers who are up to the challenge- the challenge to design curriculum to match each unique pupil. The days of front-lead instruction and piles of worksheets should be obsolete. With a master’s in curriculum and instruction, you can help bring effective instruction into the classroom. Something we need now more than ever.

Methodology:

  • Affordability: the estimated out-of-state (when applicable) tuition per credit hour rate for the program.
  • Flexibility: the number and quality of flexibility-enhancing components in the program including the ability to accelerate, decelerate, choose between specializations, obtain credit for prior knowledge, and so forth.
  • Academic Quality: a range of educator-approved measures of academic quality including retention rate, graduation rate, acceptance rate, average class size, and support services for students.

1.) Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University is a public research university located in Lubbock, Texas and is the flagship institution for the Texas Tech University System. There are 36,551 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 21:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission accredits Texas Tech to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. According to U.S. News , TTU ranks as the 176th best school in the nation, 128th for best high school counselors, and 95th top public school. Academically, TTU offers a huge range of degrees from 10 schools. There are 150 undergraduate, 100 master’s, and 50 doctoral degree programs. Texas Tech is part of the Big 12 conference. When it comes to online education degrees, Texas Tech offers 15 degrees for both master’s candidates and PhD candidates including their online master’s in curriculum and instruction, and online PhD in educational evaluation and research .

Texas Tech offers a Master of Education (Ed.M) in Curriculum and Instruction. We selected this online master’s degree in education for the affordable tuition rate, and for the high number of concentrations. The cost of this 36 credit hour programs is just $456 per credit hour, and in addition to curriculum and instruction, students may also study educational leadership, higher education administration, instructional technology, and special education. The curriculum includes:

  • Curriculum Theory
  • Cultural Foundations in Education
  • Curriculum and the Media
  • Action Research in Education
  • Creativity in the Curriculum
  • Curriculum Theory: Design and Development
  • Improving the Teaching of Thinking
  • Seminar in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Ethics and Education
  • John Dewey’s Theory of Education
  • Models of Teaching
  • Seminar in Curriculum and Instruction

For those who prefer to write a thesis there is an option to substitute out 6 hours of course material for a master’s thesis.

  • Homepage
  • Approximate Cost Per Credit Hour: $456
  • Academic Ranking: N176
  • Flexibility: 5 concentrations

2.) University of Massachusetts Lowell

Founded in 1894, the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) is a public research university located in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts. UMass Lowell enrolls over 17,500 students, the student to faculty ratio is 17:1. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredits UMass Lowell to award comprehensive degree offerings and professional certificates. US News ranks UMass Lowell as the 156th best school in the nation, 8th best school for online graduate education programs, 13th bets online graduate CIT programming, and 22nd for best online bachelor’s programs . The online school alone offers over 50 fully online degrees and certifications. Some of the most popular online programs by enrollment are in the fields of business, computer information sciences, and education.

UMass Lowell offers an online Master of Education (Ed.M) in Curriculum and instruction. We selected this program for the affordable tuition rate, and for the high number of concentrations available. This 30 credit hour master’s cost $470 per credit hour. There’s also an option to follow their Autism Spectrum program or their Science program. Student complete 10 courses that are divided in the following categories: core courses, specialization courses, and a capstone experience. Here’s their curriculum:

  • Educating Diverse Populations
  • Dynamics of Curricular Change
  • History and Theory of Curriculum
  • Curriculum Design K-12
  • Web-based Tech in the Learning Environment: Teaching and Learning
  • Models of Teaching
  • The Skillful Teacher

This course culminates in an Action Research Capstone.

  • Homepage
  • Approximate Cost Per Credit Hour: $470
  • Academic Ranking:N156
  • Flexibility: 3 concentrations

3.) University of Texas El Paso

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is a public research university located in El Paso, Texas. There are 23,922 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 20:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits UTEP to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees as well as post-master’s certificates. According to U.S. News UT El Paso ranks as the 231st best school in the nation, and 228th for best high school counselor rankings. There are a wide range of academic offerings available at UTEP including in women’s studies, microbiology, technical writing, anthropology, and music management. Currently, there are 18 degrees available completely online for both bachelor’s and master’s students including their online bachelor’s in Hispanic-American studies, online master’s in construction management, and online master’s in curriculum and instruction.

UTEP offer an online Master of Education (Ed.M) in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in Bilingual Education. We selected this online master’s in curriculum and instruction for its affordable tuition, high quality of academics and for the number of concentrations. In addition to Bilingual Education, students may also pursue their online Ed.M in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. Those who study Bilingual Education concentration will take the following courses:

  • Sheltered English Instruction
  • Literacy/Biliteracy Development
  • Scholarly Writing for Educators

  • Survey Issues in Bilingual and Second Language Education
  • Diversity in Educational Settings
  • Research for the Classroom Teacher
  • Current Topics in Early Childhood Education
  • Literacy Development in Spanish
  • Teaching Content in Spanish
  • Dual Language Instruction
  • Place Practice and Identity
  • Learning Contexts and Curriculum

The Early Childhood Concentration focuses on curriculum and instruction for Preschool to Grade 3.

  • Homepage
  • Approximate Cost Per Credit Hour: $450
  • Academic Ranking: N231
  • Flexibility: 2 concentrations

4.) University of Kansas

The University of Kansas is a public research university located in Lawrence, Kansas. There are 27,565 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 17:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits the University of Kansas to award bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees as well as post-baccalaureate certifications and post-master’s certifications. Carnegie classifies University of Kansas as an R:1 institution with the highest research activity. U.S. News ranks University of Kansas as the 115th best college in the nation, 70th best college for veterans, the 53rd best public school in the nation, and 28th best school for online graduate education programs. The academic offerings are robust and include a some unique programs like East Asian studies, Slavic languages, and athletic training . Their online programming is impressive, highly ranked by U.S. News, and includes an online master’s in museum studies, and online PhD in nursing practice, and an online master’s in curriculum and instruction.

The University of Kansas offers a Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. We selected this online master’s for the high quality of academics, affordable tuition rate, and for the convenient accelerated format. There are 10 courses required and each course is just 8 weeks in length. Graduates may complete this program in as few as 2 years. This 30 credit hour master’s degree costs $575 per credit hour. The Education School ranks among the top 10 best schools for education among public universities. The curriculum is as follows:

  • Foundations of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Multicultural Education
  • Instructional Strategies and Models
  • Understanding Research in Education
  • Differentiating Curriculum and Instruction
  • Constructivist Learning Technologies
  • Curriculum Planning For Education Settings
  • Pedagogical Considerations in the 21st Century Classroom
  • Pedagogical Considerations in the 21st Century Classroom
  • Planning for School Improvement

This online degree culminates with a master’s project.

  • Homepage
  • Approximate Cost Per Credit Hour: $575
  • Academic Ranking: N115
  • Flexibility: accelerated courses

5.) Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University is a public research institution located in Jonesboro, Arkansas and is the flagship university of the Arkansas State University System. There are 14,085 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Arkansas State to award comprehensive degrees and professional certificates. According to U.S. News , Arkansas State ranks as the 68th best college in the South, 25th top public school, and 180th best school for online graduate education programs. Arkansas State is known for its diverse student body including their high numbers of international students. There are more than 150 degrees available and Arkansas State offers a vast number of online courses. In fact, there are over 30 distance learning programs that range from the bachelor’s to doctoral level as well as a number of professional certification courses offered all completely online. The most popular online degree offerings are in the fields of business and education.

Arkansas State University offers an online Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction. We selected this online master’s in curriculum and instruction degree for the affordable tuition rate, the accelerated formate, and for the high number of emphases. This 36-credit hour program costs just $294 per credit hour. Each course is just 7 weeks in length, and this degree may be completed in as little as 20 months. Students may also elect to study either the curriculum director path or the special education director path. Here’s the core curriculum:

  • Introduction to Statistics and Research
  • Philosophies of Education
  • Ethical Leadership
  • School Law
  • School and Community Relations
  • Theories of Instruction
  • Supervision and Evaluation of Teaching
  • Curriculum Management

This program culminates with a Curriculum Internship

  • Homepage
  • Approximate Cost Per Credit Hour: $294
  • Academic Ranking: R68
  • Flexibility: accelerated, 3 emphases

6.) University of Louisiana at Monroe

The University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) is a public 4-year institution located in Monroe, Louisiana. There are 9,038 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 21:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits ULM to award associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as postbaccalaurate certificates and post-master’s certificates. According to U.S. News ULM ranks as the 231st best school in the nation and 157th best school for online graduate education programs. Academically, ULM has something for everyone- offering a wide array of traditional and non-traditional degrees in fields like finance, speech communication, social work, and music performance. Online programming is robust including nearly 40 fully online degrees and professional certifications such as their online MBA, online bachelor’s in elementary education and teaching, and doctor’s in marriage and family therapy and counseling.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe offer an online Master’s of Education (Ed.M) in Curriculum and Instruction. We selected ULM for the low tuition costs, and high number of concentrations available. Students may elect to study curriculum and instruction with a focus on early childhood education, elementary education, ESL, Reading, Secondary Education or Special Education. The special education concentration is divided into four emphases: academically gifted, early intervention, educational diagnostics, mild/moderate disabilities. Here are the program requirements for the specialization in early childhood education:

  • Using Data For School Improvement
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Educational Techniques for Exceptional Children
  • Assessment and Accountability
  • Improving School Performances
  • Cognitive Learning: Children and Their World
  • Language Experiences for Early Childhood Education
  • Technology Integration and Portfolio Development
  • Expanding Competencies in Classroom Management
  • Integrated Methods for Early Childhood Education
  • Improving School Performance part 2

The programming at ULM is a wide-ranging and has as strong focus on social justice.

  • Homepage
  • Approximate Cost Per Credit Hour: $500
  • Academic Ranking: N231
  • Flexibility: 6 concentrations

7.) Penn State World Campus

Pennsylvania State University- World Campus is the global campus of Pennsylvania State University (PennState). There are 13,411 students enrolled at through their world campus and 47,789 students enrolled at their main campus. The Middle State Commission on Higher Education accredits Penn State to award associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as postbaccalaureate certificates. According to U.S News, Penn State ranks as the 52nd best school in the nation, 14th top public school, and as the 56th best university in the world. As you may have guessed their world campus is robust- offering a wide array of high quality online degrees. In fact, their online degree offerings are comprehensive and available for people seeking associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. Some of their unique online offerings include a bachelor’s in agriculture with an emphasis in turf and turf grass management, a professional certification in bioinformatics, and a master’s degree in acoustics. The most popular programs online are in the fields of engineering, social sciences, homeland security, and education.

Penn State University’s World Campus offers an online Master of Education (Ed.M) in Curriculum and Instruction. We selected this program for the high quality of academics and for the high number of emphases Penn State ranks as the 52nd best school in the nation according to U.S. News and 8th for best online education programs. Students who study with Penn State may also elect to take any of the following emphases: children’s literature, STEM education, elementary education, curriculum and supervision, and theory and practice in English, Social Studies, and World Languages. Each concentration requires 30 credit hours for completion and costs $853 per credit hour. The core courses include:

  • Overview of Contemporary School Curriculum or Curriculum Design: Theory and Practice
  • Learning Processes in Relation to Educational Practices or Theories of Childhood or Science Teaching and Learning
  • Teaching as Inquiry

Your emphasis courses correspond with your chosen area of interest. If you are looking for a quality and rigorous program, Penn State could be a good fit.

  • Homepage
  • Approximate Cost Per Credit Hour: $853
  • Academic Ranking: N52
  • Flexibility:5 areas of emphasis

8.) SUNY Albany

SUNY at Albany is a public research university located in Albany, New York. There are 17,373 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. The Middle State Commission on Higher Education accredits SUNY Albany to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees as well as professional certifications. Carnegie classifies SUNY Albany as an R1 research university with the “highest research activity.” According to U.S. News SUNY Albany ranks as the 151st best school in the nation, 78th best public school and 8the best school for online graduate education programs. SUNY Albany supports its students with on-campus daycare and academic and career counseling. There are myriad of degrees available in the arts and sciences as well as in business, and education. Currently, there are 6 online degrees available including their online bachelor’s in computer information sciences, and online master’s in educational instructional technology.

SUNY Albany offers an online master’s degree in curriculum and instructions. We selected SUNY Albany for the high number of area concentrations, high quality of academic offerings, and for their affordable tuition rates. SUNY Albany ranks as the 8th best school in the nation for online graduate education programs. Students may select to pursue a Master of Science in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology or Master of Science in Early Childhood, Childhood Education, and reading. This 30 credit hour program is divided into three main components: core courses, specialization courses and research. Here’s a glance into their curriculum:

  • Curriculum Development
  • Instructional Technology
  • Educational and Social Thought
  • Human Learning and Development
  • Research in Practice

Students may further their studies with a Curriculum and Instruction PhD.

  • Homepage
  • Approximate Cost Per Credit Hour:
  • Academic Ranking: $652
  • Flexibility: Multiple degree offerings

9.) Nicholls State University

Nicholls State University is a public 4-year institution located in Thibodaux, Louisiana and is part of the University of Louisiana System of universities. There are 6,255 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 20:1. The student body is diverse and represents over 40 nations across the globe. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Nicholls State to award associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees as well as professional certificates. According to U.S.News Nicholls State ranks as the 95th best school in the region, and 37th best public school. G.I. Jobs designates Nicholls State as a “Military and Veteran Friendly” institution for its ease of implementation of the G.I. Bill and affordable tuition rates. Nicholls State offers a vast array of courses including a bachelor’s in business administration, master’s in petroleum technology, and doctorate in nursing practice. There are currently 14 online programs offered at Nicholls State with the largest programs in business, health, and education.

Nicholls State University offers a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. We selected this online degree for the low tuition rate and for the high number of specializations. This 36-credit hour degree costs just $412 per credit hour. Additionally, Nicholls State offers these concentrations: early childhood education (ECE), high incidence disabilities with applied behavior analysis, reading specialist, elementary education, or secondary education. The ECE programs curriculum is as follows:

  • Educational Research
  • Seminar in Early Childhood Education
  • Reading Disabilities
  • The Teaching of Reading
  • Creating a Literate Environment
  • Foundations of Early Childhood and Early Intervention
  • Curriculum and Methods for Early Childhood Education
  • Assessment of the Young Child
  • Parent Involvement and Community
  • Interdisciplinary and Interagency
  • Practicum in Early Childhood Education

This program culminates with a Master’s Comprehensive Portfolio.

  • Homepage
  • Approximate Cost Per Credit Hour: $412
  • Academic Ranking: R95
  • Flexibility:

10.) University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati is a public research university that is the oldest institution for higher education in Cincinnati. There are 36,596 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1. Most classes contain fewer than 20 students. The Higher Learning Commission accredits the University of Cincinnati to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional certifications. There are over 600 academic programs available many of which rank in the top 50 in the nation. U.S. News ranks UC as the 133rd best school in the nation, 83rd best college for veterans, 11th for best online graduate nursing programs, and 62nd for best online graduate education programs. University of Cincinnati supports its students with remedial help, on-campus daycare, career counseling, and credit for life experience. There are nearly 30 online programs available for undergraduate and graduate students alike including their online bachelor’s in Kindergarten education, online master’s in educational leadership and online master’s in curriculum and instruction.

The University of Cincinnati offers an online Master’s in Education (Ed.M) in Curriculum and Instruction. We selected this program for the quality of academic programming, and for the high number of concentrations. Student may focus on general studies, gifted, or STEM. U.S. News ranks as the 133rd best school in the nation. The curriculum is divided into three main components: core courses, general concentration courses, and electives. This program requires 30 credit hours for completion. Let’s take a look at the courses available to individuals following the “general” track:

  • Educational Research for Master’s Students
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Theories and Trends
  • Teaching and Learning in Diverse Classrooms
  • The Role of Teachers in a Democratic Society
  • Master’s Project: Curriculum and Instruction
  • Improving Instructional Effectiveness: Clinical Experience
  • Attitude Formation and Change in the Classroom

Students must also select three elective classes.

  • Homepage
  • Approximate Cost Per Credit Hour: $739
  • Academic Ranking:N 133
  • Flexibility: 3 concentrations available