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Best 15 Masters in Instructional Design Programs in 2021

March 17, 2021 | Staff Writers

Masters in Instructional Design
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Earning a Masters in Instructional Design degree prepares graduates for careers across a variety of disciplines. Students take their interest in technology and background in the science of learning, and combine it with other skills gained in the Master’s in Instructional Design program to become experts in their profession.  

Is a Masters in Instructional Design the Right Degree for You? 

Instructional designers develop and implement curriculums, recommend teaching techniques, recommend the use of newer technologies, and perform a wide variety of other duties. Instructional designers, sometimes referred to as instructional coordinators, also analyze learning needs, and know how to evaluate effectiveness and how to best implement solutions. 

Northeastern University stresses the importance of honing soft skills and practical skills, in addition to skills in technology skills and analytical skills. The best programs in instructional design train students to gain the skills necessary to succeed in this career field across a variety of industries. 

There is an anticipated faster than average job growth in this expanding field, likely increasing job opportunities for graduates of the best programs in instructional design. 

Best 15 Masters in Instructional Design

1. Valdosta State University

Valdosta State University offers a master’s degree program for students interested in a career in instructional design. The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Instructional Technology features three study track options, which are the P12 School Library Media, P12 Technology Applications, and Corporate.  

Students pursuing the P12 School Library Media track prepare for a career as a school media specialist. Students enrolled in the P12 Technology Applications track prepare for a career as a technology coordinator or an instructional technologist across a variety of school settings. Students in the Corporate track prepare for careers as instructional designers and trainers in corporate, higher education, and non-profit settings.

  • Tuition: $230 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP, NCATE 

2. University of Central Florida 

Choose from three concentration options when considering earning a Master’s in Instructional Design and Technology degree from the University of Central Florida. The Master of Arts degree program offers the Educational Technology track, the Instructional Systems track, and the eLearning track. All three options are available either online or in a hybrid format. 

Students develop and enhance their ability to analyze and design training and educational programs, focuses on enhancing independent thinking skills, and to use current and emerging technologies. 

  • Tuition: $288.16 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC 

3. Fort Hays State University 

The Master of Science in Instructional Technology at Fort Hays State University prepares teachers, and other professionals for a career in instructional technology. Students gain skills in areas such as educational systems, business, and industry in a modern, global technological society. Students gain advanced knowledge of multimedia tools, and strategies in integrating multimedia in educational and training environments. 

  • Tuition: $298.55 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission 

4. Lamar University 

Lamar University offers an online Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership. Learn to integrate technology into the classroom, discover how people learn, and how to best design instructional systems and instructional materials for optimal learning through technology. 

The program consists of 36 credit hours of study. 

  • Tuition: $300 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: NCATE 

5. Sam Houston State University 

Sam Houston State University offers a Master of Education in Instructional Systems Design and Technology. The 30-credit hour program consists of a rigorous curriculum that prepares students to practice effective distance communication, and to design quality distance learning instruction.  

Students take courses that provides knowledge and skills in the infrastructure, hardware, and software of a system, along with the courses that provide the foundation for learning and design theories and applications. 

  • Tuition: est. $355.66 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAEP 

6. Emporia State University 

The master’s program in Instructional Design and Technology at Emporia State University prepares graduates for careers that demand expertise in the design, development, and implementation of instructional resources. These areas of expertise, along with the expertise gained in the evaluation of educational resources prepares students to work in education, healthcare, military, business, or other organizations. 

Students choose the thesis or non-thesis option. 

  • Tuition: est. $375.51 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

7. Bowling Green State University 

The Master of Education in Instructional Design and Technology at Bowling Green State University is offered in an online format. Students can complete the 30-credit hour program in as little as 18 months. 

The curriculum covers topics such as instructional systems design, learning intervention and evaluation, and interactive learning systems. 

  • Tuition: est. $478.33 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, NCATE 

8. Saint Leo University 

Saint Leo University offers an online Master of Science in Instructional Design program that provides students with an advanced study in the systematic design of instruction. Students learn to design, develop, implement, and to evaluate instructional experiences in a variety of settings. Examples of these settings includes adult learning, higher education, and the military. 

  • Tuition: $510 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC 

9. Georgia State University 

The Georgia State University Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology provides the necessary skills and knowledge for students to work in a career as an instructional designer, or technologist in industry or non-profit agencies, or for government organizations.  

Students take courses on instructional systems theory, processes, and various learning environments in the 36-credit hour program. 

  • Tuition: est. $530.66 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC 

10. University of North Carolina at Charlotte  

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers a Master of Education in the Learning, Design and Technology program that prepares students to perform the comprehensive duties required of instructional design professionals. Some skills include the ability to analyze, create, implement, evaluate and manage instructional and performance solutions.  

The 33-credit hour program is offered online, and prepares graduates to work in educational, corporate, military, or government organizations. The program is Quality Matters certified in Program Design and Learner Success. This Online Program Design Certification recognizes programs that are designed around measurable learning objectives or competencies.

  • Tuition: $465 per credit hour for non NC residents
  • Accreditation: CAEP

11. University of Massachusetts Boston 

UMass Boston’s MEd Program in Instructional Design offers a practical master’s degree that is ideal for career professionals engaged in the education, training, and development of adult learners in the workplace. This multi-disciplinary academic program provides students with a dynamic learning process through a comprehensive course of study that gives equal importance to both the planning and the delivery of adult instruction.

Applications of instructional design can be seen today in business and industry; in schools and colleges, government agencies, and the military; in health care organizations, religious institutions, and professional societies. Using the principles and practices of adult education, the program’s theoretical and applied courses concentrate in three areas:

  • Building a foundation and conceptual framework for the instructional design process
  • Developing instructional strategies and skills to facilitate adult learning
  • Using educational media and technology to enhance learning

In addition to their master’s degree, they also have two graduate certificates in Instructional Design: Instructional and Learning Design and Instructional Technology.

  • Tuition: $575 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education 

12. University of Alabama 

The University of Alabama offers a Master of Arts in Instructional Technology program that provides students with the knowledge and skills to increase their understanding of the role of technology in teaching, learning, design, and training. Students learn to use current and emerging technologies and instructional strategies in order to create an effective learning environment.  

Students complete 30 credit hours of study, including a digital portfolio as the comprehensive examination. 

  • Tuition: $615 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: NCATE 

 13. Northeastern University 

The Master of Education in eLearning and Instructional Design program at Northeastern University prepares students for a career that includes analyzing learners’ needs and goals, to design and facilitate learning experiences that draws creatively upon the most-recent research in the science and art of eLearning, puts into action learning principles, and high-impact practices within various online and mobile learning scenarios. There are additional skills and knowledge gained through this innovative program, including hands-on experiences, that prepares graduates for a rewarding career. 

The program is offered in an online or hybrid format. 

  • Tuition: $621 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education 

14. University of Tampa 

The Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology at the University of Tampa provides a multidisciplinary area of study which appeals to students from a variety of disciplines. The program offers students the opportunity to customize their program, based on individualized interests and goals.  

Students complete courses in areas that includes theory of learning and cognition, systematic instructional design, and multimedia design and development. Students also engage in hands-on learning experiences. 

  • Tuition: $655 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC 

15. Franklin University 

The Franklin University Masters in Instructional Design & Learning Technology program guides students through the process of learning to analyze learning needs, to evaluate effectiveness, and to design solutions, along with additional skills required for this innovative career.  

Students complete 32 credit hours of instruction, taking courses such as Principles of Human Performance Technology, and Learning Management Strategies. 

Members of the military receive a tuition discount. 

  • Tuition: $670 per credit hour 
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission 

Ranking Methodology

We searched schools across the country to develop our list of the best masters in instructional design programs. We narrowed our list to the top schools, and listed the schools by the cost of tuition.

Do you need help with selecting the right college or university? We can help you, based on the program that you select.

If you would like to have you school included in our rankings, please contact us and we will help you with that information. 

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