Curriculum & Instruction MA

Elementary Grades Focus

The MA in Curriculum and Instruction equips teachers with knowledge of current education research and culturally responsive pedagogical practices to support their work in diverse school settings. The program includes:

  • A focus on integrating core content areas across the curriculum
  • Engagement in action research and self study as tools to improve educational outcomes
  • Opportunities to engage in analysis and receive feedback on your teaching as it develops

The MA in Curriculum and Instruction is a joint program with the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education. If you hold a single subject credential/ work in a secondary school setting, please visit the Department of Secondary Education.

Elemetary Teacher Reading to children

The information below is for applicants interested in pursuing the degree with a focus on the elementary grades.

  • The MA in Curriculum & Instruction is a 30 unit graduate program.
  • Students in the MA in Curriculum & Instruction complete a 12 unit (4 course) core focused on educational research methodology and equitable curriculum design. They also complete a 15 unit (5 course) Area of Specialization that meets their professional goals. Students complete the program by designing and carrying out a classroom based field-study (3 units).
  • Students who are completing the concurrent MA in C&I + Multiple Subject Credential will have an Area of Specialization in Elementary Teaching and Learning, allowing them to count 12 credential units toward fulfillment of the Area of Specialization.
  • Please refer to the current requirements in the SFSU Bulletin for the full description of program requirements.
  • This MA program is designed for elementary-grade classroom teachers. To apply to the program, you need to hold a current California Multiple Subject Credential or equivalent credential from another state. Exceptions may be granted for applicants who have at least three years prior experience in a relevant educational settings (such as museum or informal education) that do not require a credential.
  • If you do not yet have a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, please apply to the “Multiple Subject + MA” program. This program allows you to pursue your teaching credential and MA degree concurrently.
  • 12 credits from your credential coursework will be applied toward the MA degree.  You will also complete 18 units of MA-specific coursework focused on educational research and curriculum design. The 18 MA units include a classroom-based field study in your final semester.
  • All credential candidates focus on core credential classes in their first semester. Beginning in the second semester, students admitted to the joint program may begin MA courses concurrent with their credential coursework, which reduces time to degree.
  • Students admitted to the joint program may also choose to complete credential requirements first and then complete the 18 MA units while employed full-time as a credentialed teacher.
  • Students completing a bilingual authorization or working as a teacher of record should complete credential coursework prior to taking MA-specific courses. Your advisor will help you map out a completion plan based on your needs.
  • Because our students are working teachers, the program is designed to be completed in part-time enrollment status (6 units per semester, billed at the part time graduate tuition rate). Students who are completing the full 30-unit MA can expect to complete the degree in 2 years, including one summer session.
  • Students enrolled in the concurrent MA in C&I + Multiple Subject Credential can complete both the credential and the MA degree in two years: 3 semesters of full-time enrollment to complete the credential/ begin the MA, and 2 part-time semesters (including one summer term) of  MA-only enrollment.
  • Whenever possible, we offer a summer session, which reduces time to degree. Availability of summer session is subject to university guidelines.
  • If you would like to apply to the combined Multiple Subject Credential + MA pathway, we highly recommend that you attend a departmental information session  prior to applying. Instructions on applying to the program are found here.
  • If you are a current student in the Multiple Subject Credential Program, please attend our department’s MA information session during your final credential semester. We will guide you through the process of transferring into the MA program without needing to reapply to SFSU
  • If you already hold a Multiple Subject Credential, please apply to the MA in Curriculum and Instruction (Elementary Education) through CalState Apply.
  • If you are a current MSC student, please set up an appointment with your advisor.
  • If you already hold a Multiple Subject Credential and are interested in completing the MA in Curriculum and Instruction, please contact: Dr. Stephanie Sisk-Hilton at


If you have questions about the admissions process please contact the Elementary Education Department at (415) 338-1562 or