Updated December 8, 2022

Find the most affordable master's offered online for a degree in curriculum and instruction. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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By BVS Staff

Earning an online master's degree in curriculum and instruction could significantly help your career if you already hold a certification or undergraduate degree in teacher education. While undergraduates can certainly make a career out of teaching, those who take the extra step to earn a graduate degree open up the door to leadership, administration, assessment, and research positions.

Because so many professionals want to continue teaching while earning their degree, many schools now offer graduate education programs online. Distance education allows current teachers to keep their jobs while making themselves more marketable in their spare time. They benefit from classes that disseminate information about theories and current trends while continuing to gain hands-on, paid experience at the same time.

The 20 Best Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Online Programs Ranking Methodology

Selection Criteria

For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer master's degrees in curriculum and instruction online. Because the focus of this list is on affordability, we only considered programs with average* tuition rates of $20,000/year or less.

In addition, we limited our search to schools with education programs that have received accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

*For public schools, we calculated the average value of their in-state and out-of-state rates.

Ranking Factors

After compiling a list of all the colleges that offer masters in curriculum and instruction online and meet the above criteria, we then collected data in three categories:

  • Program Popularity: Out of all the education students, how many choose specifically to major in curriculum and instruction? In other words, how successful is the elementary teaching program at attracting graduate students to their degree over other education-focused options? To find out, we considered both the number of students who graduated with a master's degree in curriculum and instruction in the most recent school year as well as what percentage those students comprised of all education program graduates.
  • Overall Strength in Education: How many different online education master's degrees does the school offer? A large number indicates a college that is willing to devote a lot of time, resources, and faculty expertise to training future teachers through distance learning.
  • Affordability: What is the average annual cost of attendance?

After collecting and sorting all the information, we ranked the candidates according to their performance in each area. Finally, we summed up the results and gave each school a final score using a curve so that the top-scoring program earned an even 100 points.

Read more about the best cheap online master's degrees in curriculum and instruction below!

Cheap Online Master's in Curriculum and Instruction Degrees Ranking

#1 University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX
#2 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
#3 Arkansas State University Beebe, AR
#4 Louisiana State University-Shreveport Shreveport, LA
#5 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
#6 Black Hills State University Spearfish, SD
#7 Cleveland State University Cleveland, OH
#8 Concordia University-Chicago River Forest, IL
#9 University of Missouri-Columbia Columbia, MO
#10 Northern State University Aberdeen, SD

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

  1. University of Texas at Arlington

    Arlington, TX



    Texas residents, in particular, will benefit from the accredited online master's degree in curriculum and instruction at UT - Arlington. That's because you can earn one of three certificates while pursuing your MEd: Reading Specialist, ESL, or Master Reading Teacher. (Out-of-state residents might be able to earn similar certifications or endorsements, but you'll need to check your state's requirements.) If none of these appeal, you can collaborate with advisors to focus your work on another area, such as working with students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Regardless of your path, the program in general places a strong focus on literacy and incorporates three required practica for an abundance of hands-on experience.

  2. Western Governors University

    Salt Lake City, UT



    Given that Western Governors University is so devoted to offering quality distance learning degrees to adult students, it's no surprise that it earns a spot on this MS in Curriculum and Instruction online ranking. The degree has plenty going for it, from the price (tuition averages just under $6,800) to the speed at which you can finish (some students need just ten months). That latter point is made possible thanks to WGU's unique competency-based approach, which allows you to pass courses by demonstrating your mastery of the subject rather than waiting until the term ends. Another rare perk? You don't need a current teaching license to enroll.

  3. Arkansas State University

    Beebe, AR



    The affordable online master's degree in curriculum and instruction at Arkansas State University comes with two unique emphasis options that let you specialize as either a Curriculum or Special Education Director. Both these optional concentrations focus on leadership and will prepare you for licensure in Arkansas. And even if you opt not to complete an emphasis, you'll still benefit from a core curriculum that helps build your critical and analytical skills and teaches management and organizational techniques. Required courses span the abstract ("Ethical Leadership") to the pragmatic ("School Law") and include an internship, giving you an opportunity to put your leadership skills to the test.

  4. Louisiana State University-Shreveport

    Shreveport, LA



    Personal attention and a customizable curriculum help set LSU Shreveport apart from its competitors. For starters, all incoming students to the accredited online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction program will immediately begin working with a program director to create a personalized plan of study. And this guidance will continue right up to graduation as you work together to ensure that your degree will help you meet your career goals. You'll also have the option to pursue a concentration in one of four areas, or you can take a general tack for a broader understanding of the field. Lastly, a targeted reading practicum and comprehensive research project will round off your studies.

  5. Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA



    Liberty University has one of the best options on this master's in curriculum and instruction online ranking for evangelical teachers and other educators who want to work in Christian schools. In addition to learning about Christian ethics throughout the curriculum, you'll take classes alongside similarly faith-focused instructors and peers. Liberty also stands out for its cognates, which enable you to choose a focus area (such as Gifted Education, Leadership, or Student Services) and in many cases lead to an endorsement. And if cost matters, you'll appreciate the low tuition and generous experiential learning policy, which allows you to earn credit (after taking an exam or creating a portfolio) for knowledge learned on the job.

  6. Black Hills State University

    Spearfish, SD



    Black Hills State University offers a cheap MS in Curriculum and Instruction online that caters to the needs of practicing instructors by emphasizing hands-on work. Not only does the coursework encourage you to take what you've learned and immediately apply it to the classroom, but it also includes a required clinical practice experience during your final semester. Another perk of attending BHSU is its support of specialized training. In fact, the curriculum provides three different study plans: Technology Integrationist, Math Specialist, and Science Specialist. All three meet South Dakota's requirements for their associated designations and can help you stand out from the competition as you advance in your career.

  7. Cleveland State University

    Cleveland, OH



    If you're always on the hunt for computer programs and apps that can augment your classroom instruction, give Cleveland State University a look. Not only can you earn its educational technology-focused accredited master's in curriculum and instruction online, but you can add an endorsement in Education and Technology or a certificate in Online Teaching. Even if you choose not to pursue these add-ons, you'll still graduate with knowledge in eLearning, online instruction, and other non-traditional modalities. Plus, a required "Current Topics and Research in Educational Technology" course ensure you'll have up-to-date information on the most cutting-edge work in the field. Finally, you'll wrap up your studies with a comprehensive exam, thesis, or research project.

  8. Concordia University-Chicago

    River Forest, IL



    "Integrity, competence, and servant leadership" characterize the affordable master's in curriculum and instruction online at CU - Chicago. Especially when it comes to developing your competence, this program doesn't cut any corners. You'll take classes in leadership, research, and instruction - to name a few - and graduate with a well-rounded skillset. Through a unique "Seminar in Reflective Practice" capstone class, you'll also have a chance to step back and reflect on your role as both an individual and a practitioner. The course also encourages participants to assess their personal growth throughout the program, challenge pre-existing beliefs and assumptions, and put theory into practice in the classroom.

  9. University of Missouri-Columbia

    Columbia, MO



    Even if you opt for part-time study, you can still earn Mizzou's accredited online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction in just two years. This literacy-focused degree melds a strong foundation in pedagogy with plenty of hands-on work, including two practica. The curriculum also puts a heavy emphasis on technology - particularly as it applies to reading instruction. Required courses include "Curricular Decisions for Literacy in a Digital World" and "Literacy and the Internet," among others. And if you want to tack on a reading specialist certificate, you can easily work with your advisor to enroll in specific courses that meet Missouri's requirements.

  10. Northern State University

    Aberdeen, SD



    Although all of the programs on this list include a focus on research, Northern State University offers a particularly strong research component as part of its affordable MS in Curriculum and Instruction online. The curriculum includes quite a few courses that focus on research and data, including "Data-Driven Decision Making" and "Research-Based Curriculum and Instruction." The degree also culminates in a master's level research project that pairs you with a faculty member to explore an issue of your choice. But if you're concerned that all this theory will come at the expense of practice, fear not: the curriculum's two-credit "supervised field-based learning experience" will help ground your studies in solid real-world practice.

Thanks for reading our ranking of the 20 top cheap online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction programs!

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Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

See also:
The 9 Most Affordable Online Master's Degree in Educational Assessment and Evaluation

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