Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions

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

Applicants will receive admission decision notifications via email by April 15th.

Yes.  All of the coursework that is completed as part of the AIP Course of Study occurs online within Project Dragonfly’s Web-Based Learning Community, so all students will need a valid email address and reliable, regular access 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 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); Phoenix (Phoenix Zoo); San Diego (San Diego Zoo Global); New York (Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo); and Seattle (Woodland Park Zoo).  Please note that Phoenix Zoo is currently serving AIP students but is not accepting applications for 2017 or beyond.

No. Miami University does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or veteran's status in its education programs, activities, admissions, or employment policies. All AIP applicants will be considered based on their application materials.

Coursework

Yes.  One previous Earth Expeditions field course (up to 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 considered toward your degree, you must have:

1) been accepted to the master's program.

2) participated in the AIP for at least one semester.

3) received a grade of “B” or better in your field 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 7 credit hours can be transferred into the AIP. Categories may not be combined.

Yes.  One previous iDiscovery course (up to 3 credit hours) may be transferred towards your master's. This course will replace one of the two advanced seminars in the program (Issues in Biodiversity or Issues in Evolution). Also, for these credits to be considered toward your degree, you must have:

1) been accepted to the master's program.

2) participated in the AIP for at least one semester.

3) received a grade of “B” or better in your transferred 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: Only one iDiscovery course may be transferred toward your master's. No more than 7 total credit hours can be transferred into the AIP. Categories may not be combined.

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 AIP for at least one semester.

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

4) registered 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 can be transferred into the AIP. Categories may not be combined.

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. An important note is that the AIP must be completed within 5 years from the first semester you entered the program, consistent with Miami University Graduate School regulations.

Field courses require a moderate amount of walking and similar (not excessive) activity.

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

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 in early- to mid-September of each year.  While applications are accepted through February 28, we encourage you to complete the Miami University Graduate School application portion of your AIP application by February 18.  Doing so will help ensure that all materials will be received and processed in a timely manner.  More information is on the Apply page at http://aip.miamioh.edu/apply.

There are three steps, and all three must be completed by the submission deadline to become an eligible candidate for the AIP master’s.

For admission to the 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.  Please visit the Miami University Graduate School's Admissions page for more details.

Graduate School Application

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, Zoo Expeditions, and iDiscovery, 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 2016 as your admission term.  Please note that you will NOT see "Advanced Inquiry 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

References:
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 February 28, we encourage you to complete the Graduate School application portion of your Miami application by February 18. Doing so will help ensure that all materials will be received and processed in a timely manner. Your AIP application and references are due February 28. More information is on the Apply page at http://aip.miamioh.edu/apply.

 

Acceptance To The Program

Acceptance to the program is based on each applicant’s application materials and the merit of his or her application. Application components include: 1) the AIP Pre-application; 2) creation and completion of your account in "My Project Dragonfly," and 3) the Miami University Graduate School application, which includes submission of transcripts, responses to two essay questions, an upload of one's CV/resume, two letters of recommendation, and unofficial transcripts.  More information on each of these three steps is located on the Apply page at http://aip.miamioh.edu/apply.

Yes. When you complete your Graduate School application, you must upload unofficial copies of your academic transcripts to your application. Applicants who are offered admission must then submit official copies of their transcripts to Miami University's Graduate School before the end of their first semester of study.  You will need a transcript for each degree and/or stand alone course that you list on your M.U. Graduate School application form.  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.

Requirements

No. You don’t need to take the GRE.

Yes. You will be prompted to submit two recommendations as part of the Miami University Graduate School application.

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 AIP.  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 AIP 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 AIP master's to fulfill the requirement. Dragonfly offers a web-based course 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.

Costs

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 carries the same tuition rate for out-of-state students as it does for in-state students. Learn more about Costs here http://aip.miamioh.edu/costs.

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

During terms in which AIP 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 AIP experience, any student may apply for loans from private financial institutions. More information can be found at http://miamioh.edu/admission/finaid/graduate/loans/index.html.

All students who take out federal student loans qualify for only one six-month deferment for each particular loan. AIP 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.  AIP 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.

Miscellaneous

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 this online program is collaborative work and interaction with peers and instructors in web communities. Each AIP course joins students with the MA/MAT team and instructors in web-based classes. For an overview of the web platform, visit www.DragonflyWorkshops.org.

Miami University’s Project Dragonfly has partnered with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to expand AZA’s professional development opportunities. In March 2013, ProjectDragonfly 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 http://aip.miamioh.edu/AZALearningPartner.

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 http://www.aza.org/professional-development/.

Advanced Inquiry 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 Advanced Inquiry 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?" below). 

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.

Brief biographies about each of our core team members who direct the on-site component of AIP Web with Experiential Learning (WEL) courses are available on the AIP Team webpage.

Additionally, instructors, mentors and facilitators from premier learning institutions in the United States and abroad support AIP students throughout their coursework and the development of their Master Plans. Biographies of these additional faculty members may be found on the Web-Based Learning Community Team webpage.

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 an AIP 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 http://miamioh.edu/onestop/your-records/academic-records/enrollment-verification/index.html for instructions and information.

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.

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.