EARN A MASTER'S DEGREE AND MAKE A CONSERVATION IMPACT

Interested in the Program or want to apply?

Applications for the 2021 AIP Cohort will open this fall! Fill out an interest form and we'll contact you with more details.

Advanced Inquiry Program

Denver Zoo is one of nine national Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) Master Institutions where experiential learning takes place for Miami University's AIP master's degree. Denver Zoo is thrilled that area working professionals have this unique opportunity to earn one of two Miami master's degrees — both focused on global conservation through local engagement. The Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) is grounded in the principle that education should extend beyond the classroom, and that students can and should make a difference. AIP combines world-class online curricula with experiential learning conducted on grounds at Denver Zoo to help adults bring social and ecological change to their communities.

Looking for a challenge but aren't interested in a full Master's Program?

Then, consider enrolling in one of our courses as a Continuing Graduate Status (CGS) student! We are offering courses this summer and registration is open.

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Testimonial from Matt Hron

I owe my current career to the connections I made in AIP. Through my peers in AIP, I got an animal care internship at the Denver Zoo and, subsequently, a position with a local nonprofit called Wildlife Protection Solutions

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testimonial from Nicole Babyak

This program really changed me, including how I think about conservation, in a good way.  It helped me understand the importance of community involvement, and rethink how I will approach my future conservation goals. 

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testimonial from Christa Dillabaugh

Do it!  It is a manageable program that can have a real impact on you personally and professionally if you give it your all!

OVERVIEW

Baby RegistryStudents participating in the regional ecology course at Rio Mora Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area in Northern, New Mexico

AIP AT A GLANCE

Through the unique and experiential Advanced Inquiry Program, you can earn a Master of Arts in Teaching, or MAT, in the Biological Sciences (for licensed K-12 teachers) or a Master of Arts in biology (for non-licensed educators or other professionals) from Miami University.

Becoming a Catalyst for Change

The core of this program is becoming a driver for environmental and social change in your community, whatever this means to you—whether it’s your immediate neighborhood, school district, workplace, zoo, nature center, city, faith family, or your own interpretation. We encourage critical thinking and inquiry-based learning as tools for creating strategies for change. AIP courses focus on environmental and social topics and devising strategies for communicating with your community on these topics and issues.  

In this program, students drive their own master’s experience through projects and opportunities they design, so your area of focus will ultimately depend upon your own personal goals. In general, you can expect to develop content knowledge and skills in the realms of biodiversity threats and conservation, evolution, social science, community engagement, inquiry-based education, science writing and publishing, and conservation leadership—among others. Through the development and exposure of these tools, students will create a framework for bringing social and ecological change to their community.

Program Structure

CREDITS: For both MA and MAT degrees, AIP requires that you take 35 total credit hours, including 21 hours of Web+ Courses (online with in-person Zoo experiences) and 14 hours of Core Courses (online only) taken with Project Dragonfly master’s students nationwide via web-based learning communities.

COURSE DELIVERY: All AIP courses are delivered online by a Miami University Instructor, and two-thirds of AIP courses are Web+ courses, which also include up to five days or equivalent per course of experiential learning on grounds at the Denver Zoo, at other DZ facilities, or at sites across the greater Denver area.

PACING: AIP was specifically designed to accommodate working professionals and other lifelong learners, so coursework can be constructed around your life—rather than the other way around. Our students can complete the Advanced Inquiry Program in as little as 2.5, or as long as 5 consecutive years. Flexibility is a key component of this program to ensure the success of AIP students.

PORTFOLIO: Students are required to complete a master’s portfolio—in some ways like a master’s thesis—throughout their time in the program. Subject matter and research will be based on an overarching theme or passion/interest toward which they want to apply their various course projects.

FIELDWORK:  Students in this program will be immersed in numerous opportunities in field work through their W + courses. In addition, AIP students in their 3rd year in good standing are eligible to apply for an Earth Expeditions course to take your explorations further afield—providing a unique opportunity to learn firsthand about community conservation efforts around the world, with specific applications to your individual studies. The 7 credits earned through an Earth Expedition can be applied towards those 35 credit hours for program completion. 

 

ELIGIBILITY
COURSEWORK
COSTS
FAQs
APPLICATION
AIP Staff

For more information about costs, please see Miami University’s AIP costs webpage.

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Interested in the Program or want to apply?

Applications for the 2019/2020 AIP program will officially open on September 3rd, 2019. Use the "apply here" button at the top of this page to begin the application process. If you need more information before starting the process, then we want to hear from you! Please click the "I'm interested" button to connect with Project Dragonfly and Denver Zoo staff who can help guide you through this master's application process.