Master's Degree Advanced Inquiry Program

Advanced Inquiry Program

Ignite ecological & social change while earning your master's degree


Pursue your passion with Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo while you earn your master’s online from Miami University through the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP). Created for working professionals, the AIP is a one-of-a-kind master’s program that immerses students in collaborative inquiry and action as they champion change. Through web-based coursework from Miami and face-to-face experiential learning and field study at Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo, you will connect with classmates, Miami University faculty, Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo experts, and community leaders locally, nationally, and globally.

The AIP is designed for students from a range of backgrounds and career stages. With professional and academic mentoring and self-designed Master Plans, students adapt their degree path to fit their interests in fields such as community-engaged conservation, inquiry-driven education, environmental justice, learning across K-12 and informal settings, animal care and welfare, green business innovation, climate change, urban ecology, human-nature relationships, environmental restoration, and public engagement in science.

An unprecedented network of premier public zoos and botanical gardens across the United States and conservation organizations worldwide have joined together to support the AIP. This extraordinary learning collaborative, the largest of its kind, fosters groundbreaking ideas, collaborations, professional connections, and study opportunities. AIP students have the option of integrating an Earth Expeditions field course at a global field site into their degree path. The AIP is overseen by Project Dragonfly, an education reform initiative located within the department of biology at Miami University.

Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo looks forward to supporting you through the AIP. 

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Please contact for more information.

Program Contacts

At Miami University
     Connie Malone,, 513-529-5103
     Project Dragonfly, Department of Biology

At Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo
     Agnes Kovacs,, 708-688-8223
     Senior Manager, Graduate Programs and Partnerships


Requirements & Eligibility

Enrollment is open to applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree regardless of academic major or profession. Students should have internet access and be able to attend in-person experiential learning days at Brookfield Zoo. For more information, visit Miami University’s AIP overview page.

AIP Master’s students earn 35 total credit hours. 14 credit hours come from AIP Core Courses that occur on the web. 21 credit hours come from Web+ Courses that combine web-based instruction with experiential learning on-site at Brookfield Zoo. The experiential learning at Brookfield Zoo takes place during 3 or 4 face-to-face class meeting days per course. Students must be available for class meeting days that may take place on week days or Saturdays during the summer and Saturdays during the fall. All class meeting days are provided well in advance.


Students earn 35 credit hours. 7 of those credits may come from an Earth Expeditions global field course (  Students also complete a Master’s portfolio in their final course.  The AIP can be completed in as little as 2.5 years or as long as 5 years. The program is designed to be part-time, with working professionals in mind.

The AIP curriculum provides real-world experiences that also advance educational standards. MAT students may choose to develop a portfolio adaptable to National Board Certification. AIP Master’s candidates use inquiry not only as a tool for integrated learning, but as a powerful agent for achievement, public engagement, and ecological stewardship.

Download a copy of the Scope and Sequence (Microsoft Excel) to view course offerings in the Advanced Inquiry Program.

View Course Descriptions

Program Cost

Estimated Costs
Miami offers substantially reduced fees for AIP courses. Please see Miami’s AIP Costs page.

Offsetting Costs
Applicants to the program should check with their school district or employer to see if professional development funds are available to further offset costs. Click the button below for grant tips.

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Click the button below for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

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Program Details

Students can enroll in either a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in the biological sciences for formal K-12 teachers or a Master of Arts (MA) in biology for all other professionals. The MAT does not confer a teaching license. All courses are delivered online by a Miami University instructor. Two-thirds of AIP courses also include experiential learning on grounds at Brookfield Zoo and in and around the Chicago region. Miami University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Success Stories

Just some of the exciting career opportunities that graduates of the Advanced Inquiry Program have achieved include:

  • Learning Specialist at a major Chicagoland institution of higher learning

  • Education Manager at a major Chicagoland institution of higher learning

  • Facility Manager at a notable Chicagoland nature center

  • Teaching Fellow at National Geographic

  • Assistant Curator at The National Zoo

  • Begun work on their Ph.D. programs

  • Started their own businesses


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Applications are accepted mid-September- February 28. Please add your name to our mailing list to receive updates.


I am interested in learning more about the AIP




For more information about this Miami University master's degree, contact the Dragonfly offices at Miami University at (513) 529-8576 or

For more information about experiential learning at Brookfield Zoo, contact Agnes Kovacs at (708) 688-8223 or