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Online Colleges for Curriculum Design

The field of curriculum design, sometimes called instructional design, is undergoing tremendous growth and transformation, thanks to rapid development of instructional technology and online education, as well as a commitment at all levels to education reform. Tasks may include poring over textbooks; conducting focus groups or developing questionnaires for administrators; and conducting training programs for educators.

Because practitioners must understand how curriculum offerings are actually implemented in the classroom in their specific subject areas, it can be very difficult to obtain a position without a master's degree and teaching certificate. Certification as an education administrator is occasionally a requirement as well, and prior teaching or administrative experience is generally preferred. If the breadth of education required for this career seems insurmountable, take courage: you can obtain all of the components required to break into the field of curriculum design through online courses, from the comfort of your own home.

Teachers who want to take their educational prowess to the next level can do so with online colleges for curriculum design. But how can they choose the best college or program from among all the options available? That's why we've made this list, which describes 10 specially-picked schools that offer online degrees in curriculum design. This featured list, made using data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), is a great place for aspiring curriculum designers to begin making their selections.

1

Sam Houston State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,618
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
46.32%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
19
School Type
4-year

The Curriculum and Instruction Master of Education at Sam Houston State University offers students the opportunity to focus on pedagogy, curriculum methodology and theoretical applications. Instruction is intended to prepare graduates to teach courses through dual credit or at the community college level, as well as move into more traditional curriculum design positions at schools across the nation. With the fourth-highest admissions rate on this list and the second-best graduation rate, students at Sam Houston State University can look forward to completing their education in a rigorous, challenging atmosphere.

Keep in mind that this program can be completed online, with the exception of occasional research meetings. Some minors might have an on-campus requirement as well.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Location:

1806 Ave J
Huntsville, TX 77340
2

Emporia State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,936
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
42.96%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
27
School Type
4-year

The Master of Science degree in curriculum and instruction at Emporia State University is a challenging program with three concentrations to choose from: curriculum leadership, effective practitioner, or National Board Certification. This 34-hour program offers courses during spring, summer and fall terms for better flexibility. Though all courses are offered entirely online, the program does require a practicum, which will likely need to be completed in person.

When it comes to the percentage of degrees awarded to graduates in 2015 that were curriculum design degrees, Emporia had the fourth highest percentage on our list. Combined with the second-highest admissions rate of these ten featured schools, it's obvious there are great opportunities here for those who want to move into the upper levels of the educational system.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

1 Kellogg Circle
Emporia, KS 66801-5414
3

Carson-Newman University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$25,360
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
41.02%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
11
School Type
4-year

Experienced teachers with an eye toward leadership roles can benefit from the Master of Education in curriculum & instruction from Carson-Newman University in Tennessee. Available in both blended and online formats, the fully online program can be completed in five semesters (assuming attendance during spring, summer and fall terms). Students are expected to learn best uses of technology, how to use research findings to influence their own decisions, the use of varied assessment techniques, how to facilitate good relationships with students and parents, and much more. After completion of their master's degree, students can also pursue the online Education Specialist (Ed.S) or Doctor of Education with an emphasis on curriculum & instruction.

A tough admissions rate means this school takes only the best and most dedicated students, and the No.4 graduation rate of our featured schools would seem to show that the university's selections are well-chosen.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Location:

1646 S. Russell Ave
Jefferson City, TN 37760
4

Grand Canyon University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$17,129
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
78.54%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
83
School Type
4-year

The Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction at Grand Canyon University offers a combination of coursework, research and field education to produce well-rounded teachers ready to take their leadership skills to the next level. Students should prepare to learn advanced instructional strategies, from planning and implementing a solid curriculum to evaluating and assessing student achievement. The 18-month online program has frequent start dates for added convenience. It is important to note that the percentage of degrees awarded at Grand Canyon University in curriculum design was the second-largest percentage of all the schools on our list; that implies an impressive department that is poised to help students reach their full potential.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

3300 W. Camelback Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85017
5

Concordia University - Ann Arbor

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$26,910
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
28.48%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
6
School Type
4-year

Designed for educators who are ready to take their skills to the next level, the Master of Science in curriculum and instruction at Concordia University offers eight-week courses for a more flexible schedule. In addition to focusing on enhancement of curriculum and instruction skills, the university incorporates a strong ethical component that better prepares graduates for work in a Christian school setting. While pursuing the degree, students can also choose to earn their English as a Second Language endorsement.

The generous program admission rate (No.5 on our list) means more students have an opportunity earn the degree they need to advance. With the highest percentage of curriculum and design degrees awarded out of all ten of these schools, students can feel secure that the department, instructors and curriculum are all top-notch.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Council for Accreditation of Teacher Preparation

Location:

4090 Geddes Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
6

Nova Southeastern University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$27,660
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
52.28%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
114
School Type
4-year

The Fischler College of Education at Nova Southeastern University is noteworthy for offering the largest number of programs in curriculum design out of all the schools on our list. There are four different online curriculum design programs at this university: two master's programs, and two post-master's certificates.

  • Master of Science in education with a specialization in curriculum, instruction and technology
  • Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) with a specialization in curriculum, instruction, management and administration
  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) with a concentration in curriculum and teaching
  • Doctor of Education with a concentration in instructional technology and distance education

This plethora of programs was designed for students who are ready to take their educational prowess to the next level, with courses that integrate technology into the classroom and specifically enhance district-level expertise. With the fifth-highest admissions rate on our list, if you're interested in any of these programs, there's no reason not to take a chance and apply!

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Location:

3301 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
7

York College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$17,200
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
5.61%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
6
School Type
4-year

A Christ-centered program for the Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction is available at York College for those who prefer a fully-online program that fits into their busy schedule. This program through York College consists of 8-week courses that can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis. Courses focus on research design and methodology, ethics, program planning and evaluation, curriculum mapping, learning through technology and much more. With the third-highest percentage of curriculum design degrees awarded in 2015 out of the 10 schools featured here, students can expect to be in ample good company at York College's education department.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Location:

1125 E. 8th St
York, NE 68467-2699
8

The University of Texas at Brownsville

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,292
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
34.68%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
5
School Type
4-year

The Center for Online Learning and Teaching Technology at the University of Texas offers three options for the university's Master of Education in curriculum and instruction program: elementary math and science education; specialization in mathematics education; and specialization in science education. The accelerated format of the program means the required 30 credit hours can be completed within 10 months. A big plus to this program is that it does not require teaching experience, though potential students must have a bachelor's degree. Just as appealing is the school's open admissions policy -- meaning that the university accepts any applicant so long as they have earned a high school diploma or a GED certificate. This allows any qualified student to try their hand at the opportunities afforded by the UT system.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Location:

One West University Blvd
Brownsville, TX 78520
9

Regent University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$16,438
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
86.47%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
20
School Type
4-year

Earning the third-highest rankings on our list for both graduation and admissions is Regent University, an excellent opportunity for students with teaching experience who are interested in learning about curriculum and instruction through a lens of Christian education. Students can choose one of three different concentrations for their M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction: Christian school, STEM education or teacher leader. An endorsement in gifted and talented education is also available.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Commission of the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Preparation

Location:

1000 Regent University Dr
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
10

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$13,427
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
28.71%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
50
School Type
4-year

The Online Master's Degree in curriculum and instruction at UMass-Lowell is a 10-course program designed for experienced teachers; candidates must be licensed to teach in their state and actively working in a classroom. In addition to the basic program, the university offers two specialty tracks: science education and autism studies. Core courses for all three program options focus on curriculum design for K-12, history and theory of curriculum, dynamics of curricular change, and educating diverse populations. UMass-Lowell's claim to fame is the highest graduation rate on this list, a statistic that bodes well for applicants who are accepted into one of the school's many commendable programs.

Accreditation:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education

Location:

1 University Ave
Lowell, MA 01854-5104

Degree Overview: Curriculum Design

Online programs for curriculum design can be found in numerous content areas, including education, nursing and architecture. Based on the chosen content area, online education for curriculum design programs can vary greatly. Across the board, however, the bulk of these programs are available at the graduate level, although some programs may be found through bachelor's degree education.

Online Curriculum Design Courses

While a curriculum design student can choose from one of many content areas, we'll be focusing our discussion on the education content area. Even if the content area is outside of education, coursework is likely to have similarities, making this a good place to start the exploration. The following list includes examples of courses that could be found in online programs for curriculum design.

  • Principles of Curriculum Design: Understanding how curricular programs are built and paced is the basis of a course like this. Students may learn about different components of design, such as the depths of knowledge that may need to be considered and the developmental levels of students.
  • Fundamentals of Program Development: This course is intended to address various models of curriculum and the concepts and principles that drive them. Its students may learn how to evaluate and to compare various elements of curriculum, even when these elements seem diverse and not readily comparable.
  • Media in Teaching and Learning: Understanding how various forms of media, including non-print materials, can be a formative part of learning is generally the focus of this course. As they study different ways to utilize different forms of media, students may also develop skills in creating and selecting materials for design.
  • Issues in Measurement and Evaluation: By taking this type of course, students should expect to develop skills in creating materials that provide tools for measuring and evaluating student learning. They may address issues in assessment and determine the best way to measure student progress through curriculum.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

Students who attend colleges offering online curriculum design degree programs will likely have many opportunities to develop specific skills that will be important to their field. Some skills that can be particularly valuable for a prospective curriculum design career-holder are listed below.

  • Critical Thinking: Professionals involved in curriculum design will often need to be able to compare different types of programs to select the ones that are best suited for a specific district, student body or classroom. Critical thinking skills can help them to do side-by-side comparisons, consider costs and understand the ability to easily roll out programs. Both a big picture and little picture view can be important in selecting or designing the right curriculum.
  • Communication: The ability to concisely explain the reasons why a specific curriculum is being adopted and the ways in which it meets standards in education can be an important tool in the curriculum design expert's toolbox. These professionals may need to be quite detailed when it comes to explaining implementation strategies and the reasons for chosen curricular programs. Communicating with teachers to understand their needs in meeting standards and assessing students can also be a valuable aid in designing or selecting materials.
  • Leadership: Possibly the most important skill for a curriculum design professional is leadership, particularly when explaining to principals and staff, or other educators, the reasons that a new curriculum is being designed and how it can be best implemented. People can be resistant to changing their established ways; being able to lead them to make beneficial changes -- whether your brand of leadership is gentle or firm, hands-on or behind the scenes, confident or understated -- is essential.

Curriculum Design Career Outlook

With the increased emphasis on holding states and schools responsible for the performance of their students, the analysis and advice of curriculum design professionals is becoming increasingly integral to schools and their faculty. Demand for these professionals is expected to continue growing as schools become increasingly concerned with the performance, training and resources of their teachers.

Instructional Coordinators
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$65,500
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
25,100
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
7
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Master's degree

If you've ever wondered who makes sure that students in a particular grade level are learning the appropriate material, look no further than instructional coordinators. These professionals help ensure that instructional materials are effective, curriculum is followed and teaching standards are met. They typically work year round in educational institutions, from K-12 to colleges to professional schools. Their main responsibilities include creating and conducting teacher training (especially when new programs or standards are developed), overseeing that curriculum is implemented properly, evaluating teaching materials and textbooks, reviewing student testing data, making program improvement suggestions and more.

Instructional Designers and Technologists
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$65,500
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
25,100
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
7
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Master's degree

It's not enough for students to have a good teacher in order to learn: they need well-developed instructional materials that reflect different learning styles, too. Instructional designers and technologists are the brains behind the materials and methods being taught in the classroom. They help design and deliver course material, both paper-based and digital, for all different types of learners. These professionals can work in a variety of learning environments, from elementary schools to colleges to corporate training programs. From creating engaging lesson plans to developing multimedia content, instructional designers and technologists play a vital role in education.

Sources and Methodologies

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor's) in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on five criteria:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  5. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015

Sources:

  1. Curriculum and Instruction Master of Education, Sam Houston State University, http://online.shsu.edu/degrees/graduate/master-of-education-in-curriculum-and-instruction/
  2. Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction, Grand Canyon University, https://www.gcu.edu/degree-programs/master-arts-curriculum-instruction
  3. Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction, York College, http://online.york.edu/Programs/MA-in-Education
  4. Master of Education - Curriculum and Instruction, Carson-Newman University, http://www.graduateprogram.org/carson-newman/curriculum-instruction
  5. Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, http://www.utrgv.edu/online/mymasters-degree-programs/index.htm
  6. Master of Science - Curriculum and Instruction, Emporia State University, http://www.emporia.edu/dotAsset/93bc5737-2cd1-498d-a958-73907becca0d.pdf
  7. Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction, Concordia University - Ann Arbor, https://www.cuaa.edu/programs/curriculuminstruction/index.html
  8. Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Curriculum, Instruction and Technology, Nova Southeastern University, http://education.nova.edu/masters/curriculum-instruction-and-technology.html
  9. Online Programs, Regent University, http://www.regent.edu/programs/regent-online/online-programs/
  10. Online Master's Degree Program in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Massachusetts - Lowell, https://continuinged.uml.edu/education/masters_curriculumandinstruction.cfm
  11. Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology Course Descriptions, School of Education, University at Albany, Accessed September 2017, http://www.albany.edu/cdit/20648.php
  12. Instructional Coordinators, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed September 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm#tab-4
  13. M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction - Online, University of Virginia, Accessed September 2017, https://curry.virginia.edu/academics/med-curriculum-instruction-online
  14. MEd in Education, Western Governor's University, Accessed September 2017, https://www.wgu.edu/wgu/credit/program352#
  15. Summary Report for Instructional Designers and Coordinators, O*NET Online, Accessed September 2017, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-9031.01
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Sources and Methodologies