Curriculum and Instruction Degrees in Education

Where would our classrooms be without curriculum and instructions? After all, without a curriculum, there could be no lesson plan. Curriculum & instruction is a field within the education field that deals with development and implementation of curricula that help students achieve the maximum learning both in and out of the classroom. Learn more about curriculum & instruction degrees and possible careers.

Curriculum & instruction is not usually offered at the undergraduate level because instruction coordinators are required to have a master degree. However, undergraduate programs in interdisciplinary studies offer many of the courses required of students pursuing curriculum & instruction graduate programs. Some specific courses you can expect to take are: bilingual generalist; special education; English/language arts and reading/social studies composite; and educating students with disabilities.

Programs That May Be Currently Accepting Applicants

Master’s Degrees in Curriculum & Instruction

The Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison is an example of a graduate program aimed at students that want to advance their education, seek employment as instructional coordinators or educational specialists, or prepare for doctoral study.

To successfully complete this program, the student must complete 24 graduate credits, complete a master’s project or thesis and pass a master’s examination. Areas of study in this program include digital media, teacher education, multicultural education, disciplinary studies, and language and literacies. Master degree programs generally take about two years to complete.

To work as an instruction coordinator, you must not only have a master degree but must also have a license either as a teacher or school administrator. Obtaining licensure usually requires passing a test and completing continuing education courses to maintain licensure. Curriculum & instruction students can also pursue other areas of certification.

UW-Madison, for example, offers educator certification programs in superintendent, principal, director of special education and pupil services, reading specialist, and director of instruction. This is in addition to the various teaching certifications that are also offered like special education, mathematics, English, English as a second language, early childhood, and secondary education programs, among others.

Prior to enrollment in a curriculum & instruction graduate program, students must meet specific admission requirements. Although the requirements might vary by school and program, typical requirements include an undergraduate degree from an approved school; an undergraduate major of appropriate background for entry into the graduate program; official transcripts from all colleges attended; a resume; and letters of recommendation. A completed education certification program satisfies the appropriate undergraduate major requirement.

Doctorate Degrees in Curriculum & Instruction

Curriculum & instruction is also offered at the doctoral degree level. Students entering this program will already have a master degree. This doctorate program offers concentrations in curriculum studies & global studies; digital media; disciplinary studies; languages and literacies; and multicultural education, teacher education and childhood studies. Doctoral degree programs are generally research-based. The intent of the program is to teach students to perform research effectively in the education system and to prepare them for leadership positions in education settings.

In addition to choosing a major in doctorate in curriculum & instruction, students can take other programs and choose curriculum & instruction as a minor. This option works well for students that may be working in other educational areas but wish to also work with curriculum. This minor program requires the student to complete twelve credits, and these credits must be graduate courses independent of the credits earned towards the regular doctoral degree program.

Online Degree Programs in Curriculum & Instruction

Online education is also an option for students pursuing degrees in curriculum & instruction. Michigan State University, for instance, offers an online Master of Science in Teaching and Curriculum program aimed at both beginning and experienced teachers interested in becoming leaders in the teaching field. With the exception of one course, all courses can be completed online. Students have five years to complete this program so they can continue to teach while earning the degree. This program also gives students/teachers the opportunity to obtain several state endorsements.

Curriculum & instruction programs are offered in many colleges and universities. According to a 2015 U.S. News & World Report ranking of Best Education Schools, the following five schools ranked among the top five for their Curriculum & Instruction graduate programs: University of Wisconsin – Madison; Stanford University; Michigan State University; Teachers College, Columbia University; and University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.

Careers in Curriculum & Instruction

Graduates of curriculum & instruction programs may find careers as teachers but more often work as instructional coordinators. Instructional coordinators design instruction and lesson plans, assist the teachers in implementing them into the classroom, and assess their effectiveness. They work in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and even colleges.

Instructional coordinators are expected to experience a thirteen percent growth in employment from 2012-2022, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The bureau also reported that instructional coordinators earned average wages of $61,550 per year as of May 2014.