Education M.S.Ed. [Online]

Centered on a biblical worldview, the online M.S. in Education program is designed for Christian educators who want to be more effective in the classroom, with courses in curriculum design, teaching models, current trends, and theoretical and philosophical foundations of education.

MS ED Online

Credit Hours


Years (Avg.)

Next Start Date

March 13, 2023

Class Type
100% Online,  7-Week Terms, Asynchronous




Help Design the Future of Education from a Biblical Worldview

Great student outcomes begin with a great curriculum — one that focuses on the diverse learner. You can be an integral part in impacting the future for students and teachers alike with a master’s degree in education. Stand out from peer educators by earning a graduate education degree while studying and innovating in a setting where biblical worldview integration is both taught and modeled.

The online MS in Education program is designed to prepare educators to create quality learning experiences for students in an environment that fosters the development of the whole person. Graduate students form a community of learners who challenge and encourage one another and draw from one another’s experiences and perspectives. Students take advantage of their current employment to apply what they learn in practical settings.

Upon successful completion of the coursework, students receive a Master’s in Education. The program does not lead to initial teaching certification. However, courses can be used to renew existing certification.


The curriculum is designed to assist the student in meeting specific competencies. The goal is that the graduate is able to:

  1. Design, implement, and modify instruction for students based on human nature and learning, as well as their individual developmental levels, exceptionalities, and needs.
  2. Select and implement models of teaching based on human nature and learning, desired learner outcomes, and curriculum objectives.
  3. Apply theories of learning in designing and developing an overall approach to teaching, learning strategies, and modifications.
  4. Apply a personal educational philosophy to the educational setting and integrated biblical worldview to curriculum design, instructional methodology, assessment, and educational decision-making.
  5. Assess and design curriculum based on outcomes, ongoing learning assessment, differentiated learning, and authentic learning experiences.
  6. Identify, critique, and use specific trends in education, including instructional technologies, to enable effective student learning.
  7. Synthesize and evaluate educational research in order to improve teaching and learning.

Why a Master’s in Education from Cairn University?

Faith and Truth Do Matter

Cairn University is committed to the centrality of Christ and the Word of God and is reflected in the curriculum and instruction. We must do more than say it matters, we must act in a way that demonstrates it matters.

While you’ll study the same teaching and curriculum design concepts you would expect from any quality master’s in education program, all instruction is grounded in the timeless Truth of God’s Word. No matter what your intended career path or field of study, Cairn is committed to helping educators think about their current and future work in education through a biblical worldview.

Community Happens Here

Community is about more than simply taking classes together. It’s more than having a similar experience. Community is powerful, instructive, encouraging, and biblical. And at Cairn, community is intentional. It’s attended to closely as an outworking of the University’s biblical commitment and understanding that in Christ, we are one.

An Education That Has Value

There’s quite a bit of talk these days about the cost of higher education and the question of value. Many assume that you can’t have both value and affordability, so they settle for lesser options or assume that the costliest options must have the most value. But when Cairn talks about walking a different path, value is no exception. It’s possible to get a college education that is both affordable and valuable.

Committed Faculty Mentors

Our online courses are taught by faculty who are committed to your professional and spiritual growth. In addition to the carefully crafted learning activities, our faculty are substantively engaged throughout the course delivery. Students don’t just have professors, they have mentors who invest in them throughout the program and often remain connected long after graduation.

Start Your Studies Right Away

Cairn Online enrolls new students in early September, October, January, early March, May, and early July. You are eligible to enroll up to two weeks prior to the upcoming term.

Designed to Accommodate your Specific Career Goals

Customize your degree by choosing from more than 15 electives ranging from children’s literature to school administration, technology, special education, and linguistics!

Prior Learning Credits

At the discretion of the program advisor, three to six credits for prior learning (“CPL”) can be awarded for students with extensive background in areas addressed by specific courses.

Advance Standing for Bible or Theology Courses

Advance standing may be granted for Bible or theology credits earned at an accredited Bible college, Christian liberal arts college or university, or seminary. Credits will be granted on a course by course basis.


In an effort to allow our students to concentrate on their studies and their service to Christ, Cairn University makes every effort to keep our tuition rates and fees affordable.

Simple, flat $500/credit*. 
*Applies to the 2022–2024 academic years. 

Financial Aid

Scholarships, veterans benefits, federal grants and loans, and discounts are available to Cairn Online students. Please refer to this page for details.

Program Curriculum

The Cairn M.S. Ed program has been designed with input from our expert faculty in the School of Education, ensuring you graduate with the in-demand skills and knowledge that employers are looking for. The program requires 21 credits from the core curriculum courses, 6 credits from Bible or theology, and 12 credits from electives. View a sample curriculum sheet for a snapshot of the courses you will complete.

Receive credit for previous experience and coursework: At the discretion of the program advisor, three to six credits for prior learning (CPL) can be awarded for students with extensive background in areas addressed by specific courses.

Career Paths

Whether you wish to further pursue teaching in the classroom or move into an administrative leadership role, earning your M.S.Ed. degree provides you with more career opportunities in education. After completing their Master’s in Education, our students have gone on to teaching and education administration roles at public, private and religious schools across the globe.

EDU 703 – Teaching Models and Instructional Strategies (3 credits)
A pedagogy course designed to explore various models of teaching. The nature of the teaching profession, special characteristics of learners, instruction, management, and evaluation are addressed in relation to current research.

EDU 712 – Curriculum Theory, Design, and Assessment (3 credits)
An introductory course in curriculum theory and development that reviews the theoretical and practical basis for curriculum design, implementation, and evaluation. Emphasis is placed on design and assessment of an effective curriculum. Understanding by Design serves as an exemplar for developing curricular design and assessment based upon learning outcomes.

EDU 713 – Educational Research (3 credits)
A course that includes the study and application of methods used to design, execute, report, and evaluate educational research using current technology. This course is an integral part of the writing and research process for the Instructional Design Project (EDU 791) and Action Research Project (EDL 791).

Please note this course is typically offered in a 14-week format due to the nature of the course curriculum.

EDU 716 – Global Trends in Education (3 credits)
A course designed to explore the political, economic, educational, and social issues in society that are affecting schools in America and around the world. Current issues are studied in light of their historical context. An overview of the history of American education serves to acquaint the students with the dynamics of “trends.”

EDU 717 – Theoretical and Philosophical Foundations (3 credits)
A course that surveys major theoretical and philosophical frameworks for teaching and learning. Theories are considered in historical perspective and interpreted within a philosophical framework that focuses on the nature of knowledge, learning, and humanity. The course is designed to help the student develop a personal philosophy of education informed by learning theory through analyzing and systematizing presuppositions and beliefs related to education, the pupil, the teacher, the curriculum, and the teaching/learning process.

Please note this course is typically offered in a 14-week format due to the nature of the course curriculum.

EDU 791 – Instructional Design Project (3 credits)
A course that prepares students to complete the instructional design project by presenting the process of instructional design and facilitating all stages of project design, development, implementation, and evaluation. Students write chapters 1-5 of their culminating project and prepare the instructional and participant materials for three hours of presentation.

THE 601 – Overview of Christian Theology (3 credits)
An introduction to the major doctrines of the Bible.

BIB 621 – Biblical Integration for Educators (3 credits)
A course designed to develop the ability of educators to integrate the Bible into their teaching and their own lives.

The courses below enable you to customize your degree to accommodate your specific career goals. You will have the opportunity to choose four elective courses.

EDU 732 – Integrating Children’s Literature PK-12 (3 credits)
A course that presents a broad introduction to children’s literature – its historical development; major genres; current trends; and its vital role in a child’s emotional, moral, and intellectual development. Various literary genres are evaluated and discussed. Attention is focused on integrating children’s literature across the curriculum.

EDU 745 Technology Trends in 21st Century Classroom (3 credits)
A course designed to explore how educational technology promotes twenty-first century learning skills in children growing up in the digital world. Students look at how modern learners interact with the world and others using technology, and how technology can be used to deepen learning. Also, students study philosophical and ethical issues related to technology use in the classroom. Emphasis is placed on looking at the relative advantage of using specific technology tools in the classroom, as well as strategically planning effective technology integration.

EDU 656 Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum (3 credits)
A course designed to prepare prospective secondary education teachers and PK-12 teachers to develop students’ reading, writing, and processing skills across the content areas. Special attention is given to developing reading and writing proficiency for diverse learners and struggling readers. Students write and teach lessons, create activities, and develop resource files related to their particular content area.

EDU 747 Technology Integration Across the Curriculum (3 credits)
A course designed to equip educators in utilizing technology to plan, design, and model effective lessons across all curriculum and grade levels. Students will research what effective technology integration looks like, and then learn how to apply various technological tools to their lessons and in their current methodology to enhance and transform student learning experiences. Learning outcomes will be analyzed in light of current real-world trends and expectations of twenty-first century learners. Throughout this course, students will receive the necessary coursework and training to take the Google Educator Certification Level 2 examination.

SPE 661 Foundations of Special Education (3 credits)
A course designed to introduce the regular classroom teacher to the philosophical, historical, legal, and ethical foundations of special education. Students engage in a study of the categories of disabilities, educational adaptations, and family and life span issues. Includes a field experience practicum in a more restrictive setting to observe and develop competency in working with exceptionalities.

EDL 741 – Principalship PK-12 (3 credits)
A course designed to examine the theory, practice, and dimensions of educational leadership. Students examine administrative practices, complete a thorough investigation and reflective analysis of their own leadership qualities, and demonstrate the ability to solve organizational issues based on best practices. Current leadership theories are evaluated in light of Christian principles.

EDL 742 – Data Management and Technology Integration for School Leaders PK-12 (3 credits)
A course designed to provide educational leaders with essential technological skills needed to promote the management and organization of resources for a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment. Students learn how to efficiently analyze and integrate educational data through technological methodology and build organizational capacity through professional development linked to school improvement.

EDL 743 – Financial and Business Management (3 credits)
A course designed to investigate school-based and centralized decision making related to personnel, facility utilization, and budgeting. Revenue at both the state and local levels is examined to determine how to plan for and assess procedures to acquire and allocate funds.

EDL 744 – School Law (3 credits)
A course that addresses the legal trends and implications of court decisions and federal and state laws that affect the educational programs and policies in PK-12 schools. Actual case studies and law implementations are explored.

EDL 745 – Organizational Theory and Team Building (3 credits)
A course designed to examine current organizational theory that should inform the practice of building a community of learners within a PK-12 school.  Issues addressed include human relationships; team building; group dynamics; and establishing vision, mission, and goals. Students examine the culture and climate of the school from interior and exterior factors and analyze the role of parents, community leaders, business leaders, and the board.  Case study method is used to probe a school community and develop a plan of action.

EDL 761 – Governance and Leadership (3 credits)
A course addressing the multiple components of the Christian School Leadership Framework, including interacting with a school board and developing competencies in spiritual, relational, and strategic leadership.

EDL 762 – Change Leadership and School Culture (3 credits)
A course that explores the roles and responsibilities of Christian school leaders as change leaders, including an assessment of individual leadership styles. The course also investigates the power and influence of organizational culture in faith-based schools.

TSL 611 – Foundations of Teaching English Learners (3 credits)
A foundational course designed to prepare mainstream classroom teachers to work with English Learners. Students gain an understanding of the linguistic, social, cultural, and academic needs of ELs, as well as research-based strategies to adapt instruction and assessment to meet those needs. Two hours of field-based observation in a K-12 pull-out classroom are required.

TSL 641 – Linguistics and Language Learning (3 credits)
A course which provides a foundation in the analysis of language and the language learning process. The first part of the course addresses topics of phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, focusing in particular on the features of English in relation to other languages and subsequent implications for classroom instruction. The second part examines the linguistic, cognitive, social, and affective factors involved in second language acquisition and development. Ten hours of fieldwork are required.

TSL 643 – Advanced TESOL Methods and Assessment (3 credits)
A course that examines the critical link between instruction and assessment in improving support for English Learners. Emphasis is given to methods and techniques used to teach reading, writing, listening, and speaking across proficiency levels to promote growth in both literacy and oral language development. Both large-scale and classroom-based assessments are addressed as students gain understanding of issues surrounding language testing and practice developing authentic assessments. Ten hours of fieldwork are required.

TSL 642 – English Grammar and Pronunciation (3 credits)
A course that provides an in-depth examination of the form, meaning, and function of English grammatical structures, as well as an overview of the English sound system. Emphasis is on analyzing features of English in comparison with other languages and on developing the language awareness and teaching techniques necessary for effective contextualized teaching of English grammar and pronunciation within a communicative framework.

TSL 644 – Language, Culture, and Community (3 credits)
A course that examines issues pertaining to multilingual/multicultural schools and communities. Students gain an understanding of topics in sociolinguistics and multiculturism pertinent to English Learners, as well as past and present ways that US schools have addressed linguistic diversity. Emphasis is on using this knowledge to strengthen students’ professionalism in their future role as English Program Specialists in meeting the needs of ELs and their families, strengthening home/school connections, serving as a resource to colleagues and the larger school community, and advocating on behalf of ELs and their families. Ten hours of fieldwork are required. Current clearances required.

Receive credit for previous experience and coursework: At the discretion of the program advisor, three to six credits for prior learning (CPL) can be awarded for students with extensive background in areas addressed by specific courses.

Cairn Online Frequently Asked Questions

The tuition for post-secondary education has become expensive in general. However, Cairn Online programs rank amongst the most affordable online bachelor’s and master’s programs. While the tuition costs vary by program level, the rate is typically $425 per credit or 12K per year for A.A. and B.S. programs and $300-$725 per credit for graduate programs. 

The current tuition rates are available from this page. Scholarships and financial aid are also available. 

Currently there are over 6 million online learners in the United States, and those numbers are growing every day. Online degrees that have regional accreditation are held to the same standards as traditional universities, ensuring that students earn a valuable degree that will prepare them with the skills and credentials for their career. Do research to find an online degree that is accredited and reputable, such as those offered at Cairn University.

Cairn Online courses based on Cairn’s 100+ years tradition of excellence in biblical education. Our on faculty has carefully designed them taking into consideration what works best for the online learner. The modular design and asynchronous delivery enable you to complete your studies while you pursue your career, ministry and spend time with your family.

Courses typically contain seven units and are delivered in 7-week terms*. Each unit contains 5-7 modular activities. Each learning activity includes instructional videos accompanied by reflections, quizzes, discussion forums and other assessments. Courses also utilize adaptive learning technologies such as Cerego for long-term retention of concepts and VoiceThread for enhanced collaboration.

The asynchronous delivery provides flexibility around your daily busy schedule. In most courses, interactive activities are typically due by Wednesday while the rest of the unit’s work is due by Sunday night. The MBA, M.A. in Music and Criminal Justice programs use the 7RD2 process and require the completion of certain activities daily to optimize learning.

Our own Cairn faculty intentionally participate in the course throughout the week to provide you with an incarnational experience.

*Few capstone courses are intentionally offered in 14 weeks to optimize student learning.

A.A. programs usually take 2 years and B.S. and B.A. programs typically take 3-4 years to complete.

Graduate programs vary in length by program. As an example, Cairn’s traditional MBA typically takes 20 months to complete but then there is also the accelerated One-Year MBA that you can complete in 12 months.

If you are looking to complete your program sooner, you can consider taking more 7-week courses at a time. 

All courses are developed by one or more course developers and taught by our own faculty. The instructors are also intentionally involved in the course throughout the week by providing direction in the course activities, participating in the forum discussions, grading the student work and providing substantive feedback. Most courses also offer optional office hours weekly via Zoom or similar video conferencing tools.

Our instructional design team works very closely with the course developers and carefully plans the courses to balance the technology requirements. Most courses use the eLearning platform for hosting the course materials, Panopto for video capture and storage, VoiceThread for enhanced discussion forums, and Cerego for adaptive learning. Zoom is used at times for virtual office hours. These sessions are optional.

Except for the Hebrew and Greek language courses for the B.S. in Biblical Studies program, typically there are no required meeting times for the completing the course activities.  

The course transfer depends on where you are transferring from, and what program you are transferring to. If you are coming to Cairn Online from another institution, it is very likely you will have some credits that will transfer. Because there are so many options, we encourage you to talk to an enrollment counselor. If you are transferring out, Cairn is a regionally accredited school and some credits should transfer with relative ease. Each college sets their own transfer criteria, so be sure to check their policies for specifics.

Cairn Online offers a variety of options for prior learning and experience. You can receive up to 6 credits for prior learning for graduate programs. At the discretion of the program advisor, three to six credits for prior learning (CPL) can be awarded for students with extensive background in areas addressed by specific courses. Additionally, advance standing may be granted for Bible or theology credits earned at an accredited Bible college, Christian liberal arts college or university, or seminary. Credits will be granted on a course by course basis.

Cairn is approved to offer financial aid because of its regional accreditation. There are many options available and typically students qualify for at least one type of federal aid. Many students receive scholarships and grants that make earning their degree even more affordable. Cairn offers a variety of scholarships and discounts in addition to options for loans and grants. Please refer to this page for details. 

The requirements depend on the program you are considering. Please refer to this page for details. 

Program Details

Additional Information

NC-SARA Approved InstitutionCairn Online has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), which regionally oversees postsecondary online education.

Additional Accreditation Information