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denver zoo advanced inquiry program aip master's degree

Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP)

Get Your Master’s Degree at Denver Zoo

Graduate Students

Denver Zoo and Miami University in Ohio are excited to bring an opportunity for working professionals who are passionate about conservation to earn their master’s degree in the zoo and conservation setting. AIP Master's students practice the skills of investigation, critical reflection, leadership, and collaboration required to effectively address vital issues.


Denver Zoo is excited to bring an opportunity for teachers and working professionals to further their higher education as well as become catalysts for global conservation and active stewards for Denver Zoo's mission. Denver Zoo has partnered with Miami University in Ohio to offer this unique academic opportunity for education professionals to earn a Master's degree in the zoo and conservation setting. AIP is based on the principle that education should extend beyond the classroom, and that students should make a difference--not just after graduation, but now, as a basic function of education itself. AIP Master's students practice the skills of investigation, critical reflection, leadership, and collaboration required to effectively address vital issues. AIP Master's candidates use inquiry not only as a tool for integrated learning, but as a powerful agent for student achievement, public engagement in science, and ecological stewardship.

What is AIP?

The Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) is a one-of-a-kind Master's Degree program for working professionals who want to develop their inquiry-based skills while striving to affect positive social change in their local community. Co-delivered by Denver Zoo and Miami University's ProjectDragonfly, AIP combines graduate courses at the Zoo with web-based learning communities that connect you to a broad network of educators, conservationists and community leaders.


Enrollment is open to applicants with a Bachelor's degree regardless of academic major or profession. It is designed for teachers and other


Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in the Biological Sciences*, designed for licensed K-12 teachers

Master of Arts (MA) in Biology, for all non-licensed, informal educators or other professionals

* The MAT degree does not confer a teaching certificate

Estimated Yearly Cost: 

Year 1= $3,035; Year 2= $3,310; Year 3= $2,670

*costs are estimates and subject to change based on your specific schedule and increased course costs. These estimates include both Denver Zoo and Miami University's costs.

What Makes the AIP Program so unique?

• By using Denver Zoo as your classroom, you will earn 21 credit hours at Denver Zoo or field sites around the Rocky Mountain region and 14 credit hours taken online through Miami University.
• This program is ideal for working adults who want to further their professional and personal growth but cannot commit to a full time academic schedule.
• This program is an affordable Master's degree with yearly expenses being approximately $3,000 per year for basic tuition and fees, much less than other Colorado institutions offering Master's programs. That cost savings represents an 85 percent reduction in costs compared to a typical Miami University degree for students who reside outside Ohio.


Brief Sample of Graduate Courses

Online Courses

Courses at the Zoo

Conservation, Science, & Communities

Foundations of Inquiry (Required, week-long course in Mid-June)

Biology in the Age of Technology

Global Biomes (Saturdays in Fall)

Issues in Biodiversity

Human-Wildlife Conflict (Saturdays in Spring)

Issues in Evolution

Animal Behavior and Conservation (Saturdays in Summer)

Leadership in Scientific Inquiry

Impact of Environmental and Informal Education (Saturdays in Fall)


Advanced Inquiry Program

2015 AIP application now OPEN

The application process will remain open until February 28, 2015


For more details, please contact Molly Maloy,


Spring Registration for AIP

Graduate Research: Human Dimensions in Conservation


Course Description:

By examining case studies on programs such as: captive population management, wildlife reintroduction and ex situ research and education programs, participants will be asked to evaluate the word “value” as it pertains to wildlife and to critically think about wildlife conservation under the lens of: aesthetic, economic, biological and cultural roles and how these influence the principles applied to conservation.


  • The role of Zoos and Aquariums in conservation
  • Critical thinking about environmental issues
  • Impact of culture on conservation
  • Solutions to human animal conflict

Credits: 1

In Class days: February 21st + April 4th   9:00-4:00

Register Now

Graduate Research: Science Literature


Course Description:

Students will explore contemporary conservation issues by reading and discussing current literature based on conservation efforts. By delving deeper into multi- faceted conservation concerns participants will have the opportunity to explore how they would respond to controversial problems and conflicts. This course will provide participants the opportunity to think critically about the environment and the complex issues that arise when striving to secure a better world for animals.


  • Current and foundational issues in biodiversity
  • Extended online discussions
  • Understanding the complexity of issues presented

Credits: 1

In Class days:  March 14th and April 25th  9:00-4:00

Register Now

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