Pursue your Passion at Woodland Park Zoo while Earning Your Master’s Degree from Miami University!

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

Created for working professionals, the Advanced Inquiry Program 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 Woodland Park Zoo, you will connect with classmates, Miami University faculty, Woodland Park 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.

Learn More about Project Dragonfly at Miami University


Program Contacts

Woodland Park Zoo looks forward to supporting you through the Advanced Inquiry Program.

Woodland Park Zoo

Karen Sherwood and Julia Walz,
Learning and Innovation, Woodland Park Zoo

Miami University

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




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 Woodland Park Zoo and in and around the greater Puget Sound region. Miami University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Degree Authorization Information for Washington State

Eligibility and Application Process

Woodland Park Zoo is no longer accepting applications for the Advanced Inquiry Program; summer 2023 was our final cohort. However, other AIP partner zoos and botanic gardens are accepting new applications. Information on applying to the Advanced Inquiry Program and Project Dragonfly at Miami University can be found at this link: Advanced Inquiry Program | Master's Degree & Graduate Courses | Miami University. 
Miami University also offers a sister program to the Advanced Inquiry Program, the Global Field Program. For more information, please visit Global Field Program | Online & Field-Based Master's Degree | Miami University

For more information, visit Miami University’s AIP overview page


The AIP Experience


Inspiring Change in our Students and the Community

Building on the courses taken online from Miami University, AIP students at Woodland Park Zoo are provided exceptional learning experiences and field study as they lead collaborative change in our community. The program provides a strong foundation in ecological literacy, skills in inquiry-based learning and community engagement, and principles of field investigation. Students make local connections, receive individual mentoring, and share their work at the zoo, in their community and with the larger Miami University Community.

Students can earn a Miami University's master's degrees (M.A. or M.A.T.) that combines Miami’s web-based curricula with place-based experiential learning at Woodland Park Zoo, in field and natural sites around Washington, and at field conservation sites around the world. Woodland Park Zoo is proud to be a part of this extraordinary learning network devoted to ecological and social change. Program courses and projects integrate Washington State Science Learning Standards for inquiry-based science learning, best practices in informal science and conservation education, and participatory education as a tool to engage all communities in the creation of a more sustainable future. 




Credit Hours

Miami University AIP master’s students earn 35 total credit hours: 21 credit hours of AIP W+ courses that combine web-based instruction with experiential learning on-site at Woodland Park Zoo + 14 credit hours of AIP Core Courses that occur on the web. Up to 7 credit hours of W+ credit hours from an Earth Expeditions global field course may count toward the degree. 

See Miami University’s Course of Study Page


Approximately $6,530 per year for basic courses and fees. (Course costs are subject to annual budget approval and are subject to change.)

See Miami University’s Eligibility and Costs Page

Convenient and flexible

 Can be completed in 2.5 to 5 years part-time while working!

The AIP Team


All AIP courses include web-based instruction by a Miami University instructor. Two-thirds of AIP courses also include up to five days (or equivalent) per course of experiential learning on the grounds of Woodland Park Zoo or at sites around Washington state. Woodland Park Zoo professional education staff facilitate the on-site learning and field study that takes place at the zoo, and around Washington, connecting students to a broad network of professionals from education, conservation, business, and government settings. AIP master’s students join a growing alliance of education, environmental, and community leaders. The AIP is a first-of-its kind graduate degree involving major community institutions committed to local, national and global change.

Meet the Miami University and WPZ Team



Frequently Asked Questions

Read the zoo AIP FAQ

Project Dragonfly’s FAQ page

Contact Us

If you cannot find the answers to your questions email  

Our Mission

Woodland Park Zoo saves wildlife and inspires everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.

Land Acknowledgment

Woodland Park Zoo recognizes that these are the lands of the Tribal signatories of the Treaty of Point Elliott. We acknowledge their stewardship of this place continues to this day and that it is our responsibility to join them to restore the relationship with the living world around us.

5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103   |  206.548.2500  |

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Seattle Parks & Recreation
Humane Certification