Earn Your Master's Degree the Wild Way!

Miami University's Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) is an exciting web-based master’s degree program that includes experiential learning and field study offered at Woodland Park Zoo. The AIP is designed for a broad range of professionals from education, conservation, business, community organizing, and government settings, and the program offers a groundbreaking graduate degree focused on inquiry-driven learning as a powerful agent for social and ecological change.

AIP students are able to share ideas with peers and faculty nationally, while also working directly through their AIP Master Institution to improve local communities through shared investigation and action. The AIP enables students to join an unprecedented national network of leading institutions committed to social and ecological change. Students learn to use inquiry not only as a method for integrated learning, but as a basic tool for co-creating a better and more sustainable future. AIP master's students practice the skills of investigation, critical reflection, leadership, and collaboration required to effectively address the vital issues of our time.



Applications accepted until February 28 for summer enrollment.





Want to learn more about this exciting opportunity? Join us for a digital information session!

Join other prospective students from around Puget Sound to learn more about this Master’s degree opportunity.

All sessions run digitally from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. To RSVP, contact!

Thursday, November 18, 2021
Monday, December 13, 2021
Wednesday, January 12, 2022



Inspiring Change in our Students and the Community

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

  • Convenient and flexible: Can be completed in 2.5 to 5 years part-time while working!

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

  • Relevant: 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. 





Woodland Park Zoo: Your AIP Master Institution

Woodland Park Zoo is one of nine national Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) Master Institutions where experential learning takes place for Miami University's AIP master's degree. Students can earn one of two Miami University's master's degrees that combine online curricula with experential learning on zoo grounds, in natural settings around Washington, and at field conservation sites around the world.

The AIP master's degree from Miami University combines Woodland Park Zoo's significant educator professional development experience with Miami University's innovation in online coursework. This 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 individualized mentoring, and share their work at the zoo and in their community. Students also join fellow students, AIP faculty, and leaders across the U.S. in web-based learning communities for collaborative research and national inquiry projects.




Enrollment is open to applicants with a bachelor’s degree regardless of academic major or profession. The AIP is designed for a variety of working professionals and individuals interested in advancing their careers in education and conservation, and can be completed in 2.5 to 5 years taking classes part-time while working.


21 credit hours of AIP W+ courses that combine web-based instruction with experiential learning on-site at Woodland Park Zoo plus 14 credit hours of AIP Core Courses that occur on the web. Up to 7 credit hours from an Earth Expeditions global field course ( may count toward the degree.


Applicants elect to enroll in either a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree in the Biological Sciences or a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Biology from Miami University (see Project Dragonfly’s program details). MA and MAT candidates go through the Advanced Inquiry Program together. 


Course Delivery

All AIP courses are delivered online by a Miami University Instructor, and two-thirds of the courses are Web+ courses, which also include up to five days or equivalent per course of experential learning on grounds at Woodland Park Zoo, at other WPZ facilities, or at sites across Washington state. 

Course of Study

Sample Graduate Course Topics

  • Foundations of Inquiry
  • Zoo Expeditions: Animal Behavior & Conservation
  • Perspectives in Environment & Culture
  • Global Biomes
  • Engaging Communities in Conservation Solutions
  • Northwest Wildlife Conservation

Annual Cost Estimate

For information on estimated program costs, please visit Project Dragonfly's Estimated Costs page.


Approved for Certification or Endorsements?

Degree authorization details

This 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. Prospective Washington State students are also advised to contact the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction at 360.725.6275 or to determine whether this education program is approved for endorsements in Washington State.

Miami University is authorized by the Washington Student Achievement Council and meets the requirements and minimum educational standards established for degree-granting institutions under the Degree-Granting Institutions Act. This authorization is subject to periodic review and authorizes Miami University to offer specific degree programs. The Council may be contacted for a list of currently authorized programs. Authorization by the Council does not carry with it an endorsement by the Council. Any person desiring information about the requirements of the act or the applicability of those requirements to the institution may contact the Council at P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98504-3430.

Association of Zoos & Aquariums Professional Certificate

Select Advanced Inquiry Program courses may count toward the Association of Zoo & Aquariums’ Professional Certificate Program



Applications accepted until February 28 for summer enrollment.

The AIP Team


All AIP courses are delivered online and are taight by a Miami University instructor. Two-thirds of AIP courses also include up to five days (or equivalent) per course of experential 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 givernment settings. The AIP builds on the participatory approaches of Miami University's Project Dragonfly, which reaches millions of people each year.

Project Dragonfly reaches millions of people each year through inquiry-driven learning media, public exhibits, graduate programs, and conservation partnerships worldwide. 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 Univesity Team

Meet the zoo Team




Accepted until February 28 for summer enrollment.Apply today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Read the zoo AIP FAQ

Project Dragonfly’s FAQ page

Contact Us

If you cannot find the answers to your questions or need additional help please call 513.529.8576 or 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.

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Seattle Parks & Recreation
Association of Zoos & Aquariums

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