Frequently Asked Questions


Yes.  All of the coursework that is completed as part of the course of study occurs online within Dragonfly Workshops, Project Dragonfly’s web-based learning community, so all students will need regular access to a computer and to the Internet.  While not required for admission, accepted students often find that possessing a basic familiarity with computer use and comfort with online tools and services is helpful in some of the project work completed throughout the program.  Keep in mind that if admitted, your peers, instructors, and Dragonfly’s staff members are all available for help and support.

Yes. All coursework occurs on the web; however, students also engage in experiential learning and field work onsite at affiliated AIP Master Institutions, which is an essential and definitive feature of the program.  Currently, affiliated AIP Master Institutions are located in Chicago (Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo); Cincinnati (Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden); Cleveland (Cleveland Metroparks Zoo); Denver (Denver Zoo); St. Louis (Missouri Botanical Garden); San Diego (San Diego Zoo Global); New York (Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo); and Seattle (Woodland Park Zoo).

No. The selection committee is looking for a wide cross-section of people -- different levels of experience, different ages, different backgrounds.

No. Miami University is committed to providing equal opportunity and an educational and work environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, or veteran status. Miami shall adhere to all applicable state and federal equal opportunity/affirmative action statutes and regulations. All applicants will be considered based on their application materials.


Yes.  One previous Earth Expeditions field course (7 credit hours) may be transferred towards your master's. These credits may only be used to replace a portion of the 21 credit hours of AIP W+ courses. For these credits to be applicable toward your AIP degree requirements, you must have:

1) been accepted to the master's program.

2) participated in the master's program for at least one semester.

3) received a grade of “B” or better in your Earth Expeditions course.

4) completed both the summer field and fall "Inquiry & Action" components of your Earth Expeditions course, earning a total of 7 credit hours.

5) taken the course within 5 years of your projected graduation date for the master’s.

6) completed the Request to Dragonfly Graduate Committee form.

Note: No more than 7 credit hours of Earth Expeditions courses, and no more than 11 credit hours total, can be transferred into the master's program.

Up to 7 credit hours of previously taken W+ courses at an AIP Master Institution affiliate may be transferred toward your master's. These credits may only be used to replace a portion of the 21 credit hours of AIP W+ courses required for the degree. For these credits to be considered toward your degree, you must have:

1) been accepted to the master's program.

2) participated in the master's program for at least one semester.

3) received a grade of "B" or better in your transferred course(s).

4) registered for and received academic credit for the course through Miami University.

5) taken the course within 5 years of your projected graduation date for the master's.

6) completed the Request to Dragonfly Graduate Committee form.

Note: No more than 7 credit hours of W+ classes, and no more than 11 credit hours total, can be transferred into the master's program.

Yes.  BIO 631 Conservation Science & Community (2 credit hours) and BIO 633 Issues in Biodiversity (2 credit hours) are the only Core Courses that may be taken outside of the degree program and subsequently transferred towards your master's degree requirements. These credits count toward the 14 credit hours of required Core Courses. For these credits to be applicable toward your degree requirements, you must have:

1) been accepted to the master's program.

2) participated in the master's program for at least one semester.

3) received a grade of “B” or better in the course.

4) taken the course within 5 years of your projected graduation date for the master’s.

5) completed the Request to Dragonfly Graduate Committee form.

Note: No more than 4 credit hours of Core Courses, and no more than 11 credit hours total, may be transferred into the master's program.

Possibly.  When transferring credits from Miami University to other institutions, the receiving institution bears ultimate responsibility for the type and number of credits that may be transferred.

Although most students generally complete the degree in 2.5 to 3 years, because of varying and individual circumstances some students may need to take longer, which is fine. Per Miami University Graduate School requirements, all master's level students must complete their requirements for the master's degree by December 31 of their fifth year of study; in other words, a student admitted in 2020 has until December 31, 2025 to complete the degree requirements.

All AIP courses, 100%, are delivered online by a Miami University instructor. AIP Web+ classes, which make up approximately two-thirds of the coursework AIP students complete as part of their course of study, also include up to five days (or equivalent) per course of experiential learning on the grounds of their Master Institution.

Students complete a range of projects as they complete their degree work. For example, all students complete a Professional Media Workshop to prepare a manuscript or other media for a professional outlet. To see a list of published articles authored by our students, click here.

Application to the Program

The application process for the Advanced Inquiry Program typically opens on or around September 1 of each year.  While applications are accepted through February 28, we encourage you to complete the Miami University Graduate School application portion of your application package by February 18.  Doing so will help ensure that your references have time to complete your letters of recommendation and that all materials will be received and processed in a timely manner.  More information is on the Apply page at

Application components include:

1) submission of the pre-application
2) creation and completion of your account in "My Project Dragonfly"
3) submission of the Miami University Graduate School application, which includes submission of unofficial transcripts, responses to two essay questions, an upload of one's CV/résumé, and two letters of recommendation.

More information on each of these three steps is located on the program "Apply" webpage.

Admissions Information:
Choose "Yes" that you are applying to a Graduate Degree Program.  Indicate that you plan to enroll in part-time study.

Have you previously attended Miami as a student?:
If you have taken any graduate class at Miami University (Earth Expeditions and AIP Web+ classes are considered Miami graduate classes) check the YES box.

Taking a course for licensure or endorsement:
If you have selected the MAT as your degree program, please be aware that our MAT does NOT confer a teaching certification or a licensure. Neither does the MA.

Graduate admissions test:
No graduate admissions test scores are required for application to the AIP

Program Choice:
In the program choice section you may select either Biology (Master of Arts) or Biological Sciences (Master of Arts in Teaching).  Select Summer 2020 as your admission term.  Please note that you will NOT see "Advanced Inquiry Program" or "Global Field Program" listed here.

Additional Materials:
As part of your Graduate School application you will be required to upload the following (.doc, .docx, and .pdf are accepted file types):

- responses to two essay questions (limit of 250 words each):
1.  How have you translated professional opportunities, classes, or life experiences into your work?
2.  How do you think this experience will benefit your personal life, professional life, and your community?

- transcripts for each institution you have previously attended

- a copy of your résumé or CV

Please provide the names, institutions, and email addresses for a minimum of two references who have agreed to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf in support of your Graduate School application.  The Graduate School application will allow you to list the name and e-mail address of a third reference, but only two letters of recommendation are required to complete your application package.

While applications are accepted through January 28 for the GFP and February 28 for the AIP, we encourage you to complete the Graduate School application portion of your Miami application by January 18 (GFP) or February 18 (AIP). Doing so will help ensure that our references have time to complete your letters of recommendation and that all materials will be received and processed in a timely manner.


Yes. When you complete your Graduate School application, you must upload unofficial copies of academic transcripts for each degree and/or stand alone course that you list in the "Academic Information" section of your application.

Applicants who are offered admission must then submit official copies of their transcripts to the Miami University's Graduate School before the end of their first semester of study.  Please be sure the transcript(s) you upload include your name, the name of the academic institution, the courses you have taken, the grade received in each course, and the dates of attendance.  Transcripts documenting your bachelor's degree must show the degree earned and your final cumulative grade point average.

Accepted applicants may have official copies of their transcripts submitted electronically to Hard copies should be sent to:

The Graduate School
Miami University
102 Roudebush Hall
501 E. High Street
Oxford, Ohio 45056 USA

Yes.  As part of the Miami University Graduate School application you will be prompted to provide the names, institutions, and email addresses for a minimum of two references who have agreed to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf in support of your Graduate School application.  The application will allow you to list the name and e-mail address of a third reference, but only two letters of recommendation are required to complete your application package.

Once you have submitted your Graduate School application and paid the application fee, an automated email containing a direct link to the recommendation system will be generated and sent to each of your references.  When your references login, they will access an applicant-specific recommendation form that is pre-populated with your name, email address, and target degree, and they will be prompted to:

• share their contact details and information on how they know you;
• rate you on a series of characteristics and attributes; and
• upload a letter of recommendation.

To check on the status of a letter of recommendation, you may login to your student application portal and select "Manage your Account." You will see your recommenders' names listed and their status.

No. You don’t need to take the GRE.

For admission to the Miami University Graduate School as a degree candidate with regular standing, you must have earned a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75 (4.0 scale) at the institution awarding your bachelor’s degree.  Undergraduate course work taken after the completion of your bachelor’s degree will not be considered in determining your grade point average.

Yes.  While the Miami University Graduate School requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 in order for an applicant to be offered regular graduate admission, individual departments do have the opportunity to petition for conditional admission for applicants whose cumulative GPAs are below this threshold if they are otherwise impressed by the applicant’s qualifications and credentials.  While not a required part of the application package, low-GPA applicants may send a personal statement addressing any factors affecting their prior academic history to the Project Dragonfly Graduate Committee for their consideration.  Personal statements may be sent to Connie Malone at

Please note that petitions for conditional admission are unlikely to be considered if the applicant's GPA is below 2.5.

For most international applicants wondering whether admission to the AIP would allow them to obtain a student visa and move to the U.S., unfortunately the answer is no.  Because our program is 1) part-time and 2) in most academic terms includes online coursework totaling more than 3 credits, acceptance to our program does not qualify an international student to obtain an I-20, which is in turn necessary to obtain an F-1 student visa.  Therefore, unless a student is able to obtain a visa to stay and study in the U.S. based on other criteria, admission to our program alone would not provide him/her with the necessary credentials needed to stay in the US and pursue academic studies.

Yes!  If you would like to be considered for admission to both the Advanced Inquiry Program and the Global Field Program, please:

1. Complete a pre-application for each program (Step 1 on the AIP "Apply" webpage and the GFP "Apply" webpage).
2. Create and complete two accounts in “My Project Dragonfly” using the program-specific links in Step 2 on the AIP "Apply" webpage and the GFP "Apply" webpage. You will need to use two different e-mail addresses, one for each account.
3. Send an email message to stating that it is your intention to apply to both programs.  Please also share with us which program would be your first choice.

NOTE: You do NOT need to complete two Graduate School applications (Step 3 on each "Apply" page); a single application will suffice since both degree options (MA in Biology and MAT in the Biological Sciences) are available through both the AIP and the GFP.

Yes!  If you wish to be considered for admission to the AIP at more than one of our AIP Master Institutions (MI), please indicate your first choice of MI on the account you create in "My Project Dragonfly" and on your application to the Miami University Graduate School; on the Graduate School application, you will also have the opportunity to list each additional MI in order of preference.  Please also send an email message to sharing that you are interested in being considered for admission at more than one MI and again share your list in order of preference.

No. It is okay if you have not taken an undergraduate biology course (or its equivalent). This will not affect your application/acceptance to the master's program.  All applicants, regardless of their academic background will be considered.

However, satisfactory completion of one college-level life science course (e.g., general biology, general ecology, etc.) or its equivalent is required to complete the master's degree. If you are accepted into the program and you have not met this requirement, you will be notified and can then enroll in a biology course during your master's studies to fulfill the requirement. Dragonfly offers a web-based course, Biology through Inquiry, that fulfills this requirement.  Details and additional information on the biology course requirement are available at:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Biology Course Requirement for Project Dragonfly Master's Programs.

Acceptance To The Program

Acceptance to the master's program is based on each applicant’s application materials and the merit of his or her application.

Admission decision notifications are sent to all applicants with completed application packages, regardless of decision, by:

• March 15 for applicants to the Global Field Program
• April 15 for applicants to the Advanced Inquiry Program

Admission decisions are sent by email to the email address you used to create your "My Project Dragonfly" account.


Prices are subject to annual budget approval and are subject to change. We work with Miami University and all AIP Master Institution affiliates to keep costs down for all participants.

The AIP and the GFP carry the same tuition rate for out-of-state students as for in-state students. Learn more about costs at each program's respective "Costs" page:



To qualify for federal student loans and to defer federal student loans, a degree-seeking student must be enrolled half-time (at least five credit hours at the graduate level) in an academic term. Under the current Course of Study/credit hour configuration, this means that many, but not all, semesters’ registration and enrollment can be managed in order to hit this mark.

During terms in which master's students are enrolled for 5 or more credit hours, they can apply for a federal student loan by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is possible that they may be granted a federal loan in an amount that would cover most expenses for the 2.5- to 3-year program. Also, at any time during the master's experience, any student may apply for loans from private financial institutions. More information can be found at

All students who take out federal student loans qualify for only one six-month deferment for each particular loan.  Students who have not previously used their one-time, six-month deferment are able to defer federal loans beginning in the term in which they are enrolled half-time.  Students who have already used their six-month grace period would only be eligible for another six-month grace period on any new loans that have been borrowed.

Please see Project Dragonfly Financial Aid Information for additional details.



Both the AIP and GFP seek to create an alliance of professionals who use inquiry and other forms of participatory education to improve human and ecological communities. Both programs support collaborative engagement. Both are based on the premise that "making a difference" should be woven into the fabric of education--through practice. This practice (which is astonishingly rare in conventional educational settings) requires expanding learning beyond the classroom, tackling real-world issues, and supporting shared knowledge creation and shared action. So, in terms of their approach, both programs have much in common.

However, the AIP and GFP differ fundamentally in their focus. The GFP is clearly globally focused and includes primary and intensive learning experiences abroad. The AIP is locally focused with primary and intensive learning experiences in communities where AIP Master Institutions are located.

The distinction goes deeper, however, because it is not based on academic content alone: the fundamental delivery system, settings, affiliations, and social networks differ as well. It is the AIP Master Institutions themselves, the experiential learning experiences and the community connections they create, that distinguish the AIP from the GFP. The AIP degree is a multi-institutional construct that will be shaped in ways that are not possible through the GFP, shaped by the unique mission, history, social value, resources, and people of each AIP Master Institution affiliate. The AIP degree creates a national network of AIP Master Institutions, allowing for direct cross-fertilization of ideas and practices. The AIP not only provides a "local curriculum," it is a unique national experiment, one with considerable potential to create collaborations and cross-training, and to evolve as more successful pedagogical variations are assessed and communicated across participating institutions over time.

An integral feature of both the Advanced Inquiry Program and the Global Field Program is collaborative work and interaction with peers and instructors that takes place within Dragonfly Workshops, the web-based platform that provides the online space for all the courses and workshops you'll engage in as a master's student. Every workshop joins students with members of the MA/MAT team, including course instructors, facilitiators, and advisers. For an overview of the web platform, please visit

Advanced Inquiry Program and Global Field Program master's students select from two degree options: either an MA in Biology or an MAT in the Biological Sciences. In terms of the course of study, there is little difference between the two.  MA and MAT candidates go through the program together, oftentimes in the same classes. And while those who do not currently hold a teaching license are generally advised to select the MA program, which option an applicant chooses is largely based on his or her academic background and/or current profession or professional objectives (please also see "Does the MAT degree also include teaching licensure?"). 

Generally, students working toward a Master of Arts (MA) integrate biologically focused projects, while those working on a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) may have a focus on education. The program is self-directed and, in large part, projects are a result of the specific audience, your efforts, and your own personal and professional goals in the program. The big-picture difference between the two degrees is that fulfillment of project assignments for an MAT may include exploration of the biological sciences through lesson plans and work with student populations as your audience. However, for the MA, graduate students are asked to focus on zoological conservation and life science projects outside of the typical lesson plan, curriculum or traditional classroom experience. That said, overlap between the disciplines of biology and education is also encouraged and expected in this program. The main expectation is that you will be deliberate about aligning your degree, Master Plan, and professional goals in ways that make sense for you.

No.  The MAT degree option is designed for you if 1) you are certified to teach, 2) you have an academic degree in education or education related field (i.e., bachelor's or master's), or 3) you have an interest in education or have taught, teach, or plan to teach in a k-12 school or informal education setting. This master's program is not intended to lead to educator certification.  Educators are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Photographs and brief biographies about each of our core team members — our instructors, facilitators, advisers, directors, staff and partners — are available on Project Dragonfly's Team webpage.

Student Disability Services (SDS) at Miami University provides a number of reasonable accommodations and resources to support Dragonfly master's students who have disabilities. To learn more visit Miami's Student Disability Services website.

Based on the information that has been shared with us by Miami University’s “H.O.M.E.” (Housing Options, Meals and Events) office, which issues student ID cards, the deciding factor as to whether or not a student may receive a student ID card from Miami is whether or not the card serves a functional purpose to the student on campus (e.g. door access, pay for print, vending sales, etc.)  If any student in the program will need to utilize services on campus, then the issuance of a Miami University photo ID is certainly possible.  But if the card would not fulfill a functional need on campus for the student, a card will likely not be issued. Issuance of a card also currently requires that a student visit Miami's Oxford campus in-person for the photograph and for identification purposes.

For non-official purposes (reduced rates at conferences, organizational membership at the student level, etc.), Project Dragonfly can prepare a letter for you that verifies your enrollment and standing in the master's program.  Enrollment verification for official purposes (such as student loan deferment) must be obtained through the National Student Clearinghouse - please see for instructions and information.

Miami University’s Project Dragonfly has partnered with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to expand AZA’s professional development opportunities. In March 2013, Project Dragonfly and Miami became an official AZA Learning Partner. Now, a suite of Dragonfly’s graduate courses count toward earning a Certificate in AZA’s Professional Development Program. The Certificate program organizes training opportunities into concentrations, such as behavioral husbandry, conservation and research, and education and interpretation. Dragonfly courses that count toward an AZA Certificate are listed at

Zoo and aquarium professionals looking for additional training opportunities may visit the AZA’s website to learn more about additional courses, webinars, and conferences that can help enrich their careers. Interested professionals can learn more at

Because the AIP and GFP are designed for working professionals, many current students and program graduates stay in their positions but change the nature of their work, or create a new position within the same institution. Others use their master’s experience to become more highly qualified for new careers and jobs at other places.  Project Dragonfly graduate students come to us from a broad range of professional and educational backgrounds and include professionals working in conservation organizations, non-profits, businesses, parks, government agencies, schools and more. Because our students are so diverse, interactions between them often lead to new ideas for implementing conservation education programs locally and globally.

In large part, students drive their own master’s experience through projects they design, so where a student ends up depends on where he or she wants to go. But students also acquire specific content knowledge and skills in biodiversity threats and conservation, evolution, community engagement, inquiry-based education, science writing and publishing, and leadership, among many others. These skills can be beneficial in a current work environment or help prepare a master’s student for a new career. Both the AIP and the GFP provide students with academic preparation in the life sciences, innovative research experiences, and opportunities to generate and apply knowledge in diverse community contexts.