Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP)

*The application period for the Summer 2024 Cohort is closed. Applications for Summer 2025 will be accepted by Miami University from September 2024 through February 2025.


Advanced Inquiry Program


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

Pursue your passion with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA) 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 with SDZWA, you will connect with classmates, Miami University faculty, SDZWA 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.



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 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance sites and/or locations within the surrounding region. For more information, visit Miami University’s AIP overview page.



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 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance sites and in and around Southern California. Miami University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance looks forward to supporting you through the AIP.


Program Contacts

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
Mackenzie Borau, Ph.D.,, (760) 796-5682
Associate Director of Community Engagement, Conservation Science & Wildlife Health, SDZWA

Marina Karastamatis, M.A.,, (760) 796-5682
Research Coordinator, Community Engagement, Conservation Science & Wildlife Health, SDZWA

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