Master's Degree in Instructional Design: Program Overview

Essential Information

Prerequisites for an M.A. or M.Ed. in Instructional Design require a bachelor's degree along with letters or recommendation, a resume, and MAT or GRE scores.

Instructional design programs are primarily aimed at current education professionals looking to advance in their careers. States commonly require instructional designers to be licensed and experienced teachers or education administrators, and a master's degree in instructional design alone may not meet the criteria for these credentials. In addition, applicants might be required to hold a teaching license before registering for the master's degree program. Some programs include an internship or practicum requirement, and all typically include an applied project in instructional design.

There are many fields of concentration within these degrees. Besides the M.A. or M.Ed. in Instructional Design, students may concentrate on teaching and curriculum, curriculum and instruction, curriculum development, instructional technology and instructional systems development. Many universities and colleges offer courses online, on campus or blended formats to allow students to continue working. The area of concentration and format of classes depends on the student's career aspirations and logistics.

Master's Degree Programs in Instructional Design Overview

M.A. and M.Ed. programs may divide coursework between core areas like technology and media, instructional strategies and design. Viable electives may touch upon topics in literature, ethics and computer applications. Common topics include:

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

Popular Career Options

Instructional design graduates have the curricula development experience and training to research teaching methods, techniques and materials. They understand the conception framework of instructional design and develop instructional strategies. Career opportunities are available in public and private education, government, childcare and family services. The following career titles are available:

  • Instructional coaches
  • Instructional coordinators
  • Personnel development specialists

Continuing Education and Licensure Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, instructional coordinators in public schools must be licensed by the state in which they operate. Depending on the state, a teaching license may also be required.

Students interested in further education may pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Instructional Design. Ph.D. programs are generally designed for students seeking professorships. In addition to coursework, students conduct and defend a dissertation in a specific area of interest.

An M.A. or M.Ed. in Instructional Design is required to advance to administrative positions with a school district or university. Areas of concentration are varied and students may determine their area of focus and their format for classes. Instructional Design will assist students to advance their careers in the educational field.

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