Curriculum and Instruction

Graduate Program

Curriculum and Instruction

PSU curriculum and instruction graduate students working on a group project

Curriculum and Instruction Masters Degree Overview

Challenge yourself to achieve excellence in your teaching career with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

Our program focuses on inclusive education for young children, birth through age 8. We believe that children and teachers construct knowledge, alone and in collaboration, through interaction with the social and physical worlds. Our early childhood courses reflect an inquiry-based, constructivist approach to teaching and learning.

We support reflective and responsive early childhood educators. Our student form a deep understanding of the role of development, diversity, and culture in the lives of young children and their families. Our interdisciplinary and inclusive early childhood master’s program combines the strength and expertise of two departments and allows you to specialize in one of three critical areas or combine them.

Degree Details

Location Definitions:

On campus:
100% on campus
100% online
Combination of online and on campus
  • M
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Curriculum and Instruction Masters Degree: Why PSU?

Our strength is in our diversity. Portland State’s curriculum and instruction program upholds a strong commitment to building an inclusive learning community that includes students of color, LGBTQ, and indigenous peoples.

Social justice research is in our backbone and we prepare educators to respond to diverse classrooms.

  • Online Learning: Develop skills in virtual communication. Collaborate with colleagues from around the nation and globe.
  • Action Research: Inquire into a question or problem in your professional work that you feel passionate about though the culminating action research sequence.
  • Innovative Practice: The program draws on the practice of educators at the Helen Gordon Child Development Center. Our curriculum includes anti-bias and inquiry-based education. Internships and practicum experiences can be arranged.
  • Study Abroad: Explore early childhood centers, preprimary schools, and infant-toddler centers around the world.
  • Summer Intensives: Learn constructivist curriculum (making learning visible, ecology, and reuse materials) through summer intensive opportunities at the Helen Gordon Child Development Center.
  • Interdisciplinary Faculty: Core classes are co-taught. Faculty include early childhood faculty in the Curriculum & Instruction and Special Education departments.
  • University Support: PSU’s individual support resources and real-world applications incorporate the needs of the whole person. Our students are encouraged to nurture strong convictions and fearless confidence.

What can I do with a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction?

Our graduates work in their schools and communities as educational leaders and often make changes in their schools and districts based on the research they have done in the program. Others continue to work in their classrooms, having improved their educational practice. 96% of our graduates go on to work in the field in which they were trained. [LINK:]
Graduates may become:

  • Teachers
  • Specialists
  • Coaches
  • TOSAs
  • Teacher leaders

Online Curriculum & Instruction Master’s Degree Option

Earn a Curriculum and Instruction master's degree in a uniquely collaborative online format. Designed for working teachers and professionals in education-related fields, our online master's program encourages you to put theory into practice. You will: 

  • Work closely with outstanding faculty. The same faculty who teach our in-person courses also lead our online courses. 
  • Connect with other students. PSU's easy-to-use online course platform encourages direct, frequent interaction among classmates.
  • Join a cohort. You'll take all your courses with the same group of students, enabling you to develop strong relationships.
  • Apply what you learn: Use course material to address challenges specific to your own classroom, school district, nonprofit or governmental agency.

In our online option, you'll earn the same credential as students studying on campus and develop the skills to promote ethical, culturally sensitive instruction and curriculum in your education career.

Featured Courses

  • CI 561 Advanced Educational Psychology
  • CI 565 Theoretical Models of Curriculum
  • CI 567 Curriculum and Culture
  • CI 580 Theories of Instruction
  • CI 581 Issues in Education
  • CI 510 Guidance for the Classroom Teacher
  • CI 590 Action Research Proposal
  • CI 591 Action Research Implementation OR CI 501 Action Research Project (by arrangement, taken independently with your advisor any term)


Elective credits are selected with the help of an advisor and may be taken in conjunction with core courses. They are not limited to CI courses and can be applied to specializations, endorsements, graduate certificates, and certificates of completion throughout the College of Education and University as a whole. There are face to face, online, and hybrid options each term. Electives may also be transferred in to the program (up to 15 credits) provided they meet the University’s transfer credit criteria.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).