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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Instructional Design

Majors Overview August 8, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in instructional design and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and licensure and continuing education choices.

Information on Instructional Design Programs

Instructional design programs are commonly available at the master’s degree level in online, on-campus, and blended formats. Schools primarily aim these programs at current education professionals who seek career advancement. Instructional designers, education administrators, and experienced teachers are commonly required to hold state licensure. A master’s degree in instructional design by itself may prove inadequate.

Additionally, a teaching license may have to be held by these professionals before they register for the master’s degree program. A practicum or an internship requirement may be in some programs, and an applied project in instructional design may be in all programs.

Experienced teachers or school administrators may seek to become instructional designers or coordinators by earning a master’s degree in their content area of choice. The same positions can also be gained with degrees such as:

•Master’s programs in curriculum development
•Master’s programs in curriculum and instruction
•Master’s programs in education focusing on curriculum and instruction
•Master’s programs in teaching and curriculum
•Master’s programs in instructional systems development
•Master’s programs in instructional technology

Master’s Programs in Instructional Design

Students enrolled in Master of Arts (M.A.), and Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs can expect to become adept at developing and delivering instruction in educational environments. These environments include colleges and universities, K-12 schools, professional organizations, and adult education programs.

The focus of some programs may be on particular instructional techniques using educational media, such as simulations, video, and Web-based instruction. Theoretical approaches to design are available to students. Most programs aim to serve the needs of current administrators and teachers who seek additional training.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree and submit letters of recommendation, in addition to completing graduate tests, such as GRE or MAT, and providing a resume.


Coursework in Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs may split into core areas such as instructional strategies, technology and media, and design. Students may avail viable electives such as topics in ethics, literature, and computer applications. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Group dynamics and interpersonal relations
•Video principles
•Instructional design and assessment
•Instructional strategies
•Multimedia development

Career Choices

Students will gain the curricula development and training to research techniques, teaching methods, and materials. They will also get a grasp of the conceptual framework of instructional design and development of instructional strategies. Program graduates may seek career opportunities in government, public and private education, family services, and childcare. They may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Personnel development specialists
•Instructional coaches
•Instructional coordinators

Licensure and Continuing Education Choices

State licensure is compulsory for instructional coordinators in public schools (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Some states also mandate a teaching license. Students seeking continuing education may enroll into a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Instructional Design that could lead to a professorship. The conduct and defense of a dissertation in a specific area of interest augments coursework.

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