Master of Education

Should You Get a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction? 

Joseph Lathan, PhD

Joseph Lathan, PhD

Academic Director, Master of Education

If you are a teacher or educator considering a master’s degree, you might also be wondering what specialization you should choose or where you should focus your studies. One of the most popular choices among educators is to specialize in curriculum and instruction.

“Curriculum and instruction is a very broad category,” said Suzanne Stolz, Ed.D., adjunct professor with the University of San Diego’s Master of Education program. “Really curriculum and instruction is the way we interact with students, the way we interact with learning communities and families — all of that is connected. Most teachers can find a home in curriculum and instruction. After all, it is the primary responsibility of teachers to have a good handle on this area of study.”

What You Will Learn

A master’s in curriculum and instruction will generally teach you how to design, deliver and assess lessons, units and programs. You will likely examine your own current practices and compare those to leading national and international exemplars. A strong advanced degree program will also focus on current issues, state and national standards affecting curriculum.

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Earning a Master of Education with a specialization in curriculum and instruction can also help to refresh your knowledge and offer you training in the latest technologies that can be used to assist with student learning. 

What You Can Do with a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of educators that pursue this degree hope to improve instruction within their classrooms. USD M.Ed. graduates have noted that since completing the program, instruction in their classroom has been transformed. And many comment on the success that they see in their students after implementing the strategies they acquired.

“The USD program has had a huge impact on where I am today,” said Kassondra Sosa, an elementary school teacher in New Mexico. “I feel that I am able to utilize a variety of teaching strategies and methodologies more regularly and a little more thoughtfully. I feel more confident and competent as a teacher. I will also get a pay bump next year as a result of this degree.”

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This degree can also lead to a number of other career paths and opportunities within education such as curriculum lead and subject matter chair. Recent graduates of USD’s curriculum and instruction program have used the degree to help launch new STEAM programs at their schools, develop digital literacy programs and organize and lead professional development training for colleagues. 

curriculum and instruction

What You Should Look For

When you are comparing programs, it is important to take into consideration the environment in which you are hoping to apply the skills you gain through the program. For example, there are a large variety of schools throughout the country –  from Catholic to charter to inner city, suburban and online or international. These schools may all have differing needs and cultural norms which need to be considered when developing curriculum and delivering instruction. The context of where education is happening is really important to how you deliver your instruction and choosing a program that will allow you to do this is critical.

At USD, for example, if you specialize in curriculum and instruction you are able to choose classes from the four other specializations to tailor your degree to your specific needs. This makes the curriculum and instruction degree a very flexible and popular option for educators who wish to couple their curriculum and instruction learning with other relevant topics that are pertinent in education today, such as STEAMinclusive learningschool leadership or digital literacy.

It is also important to choose a program that encourages research in action and allows you to take what you are learning in the classroom and apply it to your own school and students.

Interested in learning more about pursuing a master’s in curriculum and instruction? The University of San Diego offers a 100% online Master of Education degree with five different specializations to choose from, including Curriculum and InstructionContact an admissions representative to learn more!

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