Masters in Curriculum and Instruction

As a teacher, you must constantly evaluate and determine the best ways to help your students understand new material. However, each student brings different learning styles to the classroom environment, meaning you need a vast array of teaching tools to meet each student’s need.

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Graduate programs in curriculum and instruction help prepare teachers to better meet those needs, instilling strong analytical and critical thinking skills in instructors. Backed with these skills, teachers more successfully approach students with individual learning problems, introducing problem-solving strategies based on years of research and training.

Curriculum mainly focuses on the “what” aspect of teaching, while instruction focuses on the “how” aspect of teaching. These degree programs are typically research-intensive, meaning teachers will study content in addition to case studies on the best ways to teach that content. Discover the requirements and benefits of graduate programs in curriculum and instruction…

How can a master’s in curriculum and instruction help me as a teacher?

Teachers entering curriculum and instruction master’s program can expect to gain a much deeper background on content knowledge, teaching styles, the psychology behind learning, and reflective teaching practices.

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Explore a few of the organizations related to curriculum and instruction:

Curriculum and instruction is a broad graduate category with many different options. Most schools offer a variety of pathways to earn a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, offering something for everyone. This ensures teachers have access to a greater range of research-backed strategies that prepare them to tackle any challenge in the classroom.

Focusing on science education, a teacher might conduct action research projects where they experiment with new ways of teaching curriculum. By frequently meeting with professors and mentor teachers, these individuals explore new methods of teaching and find the best ways to meet teaching challenges head-on.

If a particular student has difficulty learning new material, these teachers have the most effective tools to assess and analyze the best methods to help them. The flexibility and subject intensive-focus of these degrees make them some of the most popular programs for teachers.

Curriculum and instruction programs provide teachers with a wide variety of options. Some of the typical courses include:

  • Cognitive Processes in Education

    Explore the psychological theories behind how students learn. Courses in cognition allow teachers to better understand what motivates students, how they reason, problem-solve, and learn.
  • Curriculum Theories and Design

    Learn how to design and implement effective curriculum that takes into account essential questions and overall classroom goals. These courses give teachers the thinking skills needed to design curriculum based on learning theories and research of instructional practices.
  • Differentiated Instruction and Assessment

    Teachers learn to provide students with different routes to success, through different teaching styles, materials, and individualized learning plans. Teachers also explore ways of assessing student outcomes, and how to react to those outcomes.
  • Policy Issues in Education

    Politics and education are increasingly intertwined, meaning teachers must stay abreast of new changes in policy and standards. These courses update teachers on the policy issues of the times.
  • Research Design

    Most master’s programs require teachers to conduct original research on teaching or learning methods. These courses give teachers background knowledge on current research, and help them understand how to implement that research in the classroom.

Greater content knowledge and knowledge of teaching practices help teachers address any student’s particular needs. With research, assessment, and curriculum development skills, these teachers become the future leaders of the Field of Education, ensuring success for students.

How will a graduate degree in curriculum and instruction help my students?

Many students struggle to keep up with material during class, and might give up or feel lost at various points throughout the school year. Teachers with backgrounds in curriculum and instruction are better suited to recognize these students thanks to better assessment skills coupled with better instructional strategies.

Instead of approaching teaching as “one size fits all,” these teachers make individualized adjustments to curriculum and teaching practices, helping their struggling students work through difficult material and improving learning outcomes.

Additionally, their knowledge of educational research ensures that their curriculum adjustments are scientifically-informed, and traceable. This allows teachers to evaluate their adjustments, making further changes down the line to better their students.

Want to know more?

If you’re interested in learning more about graduate programs in education, and what different programs can offer you as a teacher, research and contact schools offering programs in curriculum and instruction. Pick your state from this map representing Master’s in Education programs throughout the country.

Schools Offering Accredited Education Programs

Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy. We have developed our own online learning environment with the aim of being the most people-focused education experience on the web.


  • Instructional Design & Technology
  • Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.
  • As a regionally accredited, private, online and graduate-focused university, NCU offers doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business, technology management, education, and psychology, as well as doctoral and master’s degrees in marriage and family therapy.


  • Curriculum and Teaching - Master of Education
  • Master of Science in Instructional Design
  • General Education - Master of Education
  • And more...

Saint Leo University is a Catholic, liberal arts-based university serving people of all faiths.

Rooted in the 1,500-year-old Benedictine tradition, the university seeks balanced growth in mind, body, and spirit for all members of its community. At University Campus, at education centers, and through the Center for Online Learning, Saint Leo University offers a practical, effective model for life and leadership in a challenging world; a model based on a steadfast moral consciousness that recognizes the dignity, value, and gifts of all people.


  • MS: Instructional Design
  • MEd: Exceptional Student Education
Locations: Savannah

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 



  • Master of Science in Education, Teaching and Learning
Locations: Tampa

Pacific Oaks College values the experience students bring with them into the classroom. Our faculty will help you fuse your personal and professional experiences with new theories and concepts in a variety of fields.

Pacific Oaks is a nonprofit, accredited higher education institution offering bachelor's-completion, master's, and certificate programs in human development, counseling, education, early childhood education, and teacher credentialing.


  • M.A. Education with Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential
  • Preliminary Education Specialist Credential
  • Multiple Subject English Learner Teaching Credential
Locations: San Jose