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Earn your Master’s and explore the Zoo!

The AIP graduate program is anything but ordinary.


When searching for graduate schools, there are many important things to consider:

What field of study do you want to pursue?

How much will the degree cost?

How many times will you get to go to the Zoo?

The Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) is a part-time, online degree program offered through Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with field experiences taking place at the Zoo every semester. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is one of nine Association of Zoos & Aquariums accredited institutions to partner with Miami University’s Project Dragonfly to facilitate this unique degree program.


Students work towards either a Master of Arts (MA) in biology or a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) biological sciences through online coursework and in-person learning with their peers. At the Zoo, classes meet with experts in the field and explore the latest in conservation and scientific study design. Innovative courses and unique assignments allow students the opportunity to become catalysts for local and global change in their communities, advocate for conservation action, and develop into leaders in the field of environmental stewardship, all while earning course credit for their work.

"One of the great benefits of the AIP at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo was the days where we would go to the Zoo itself! I was able to connect with my fellow classmates in person (something online courses rarely offer) and enjoy learning on Zoo grounds," said Jacqueline Zassick, who graduated with an MA in biology. Her focus is on food sustainability and environmental conservation education.

"We were able to conduct observational studies with the Zoo animals, and we had opportunities to talk with keepers about their jobs and specific animal behaviors. I feel that this experience provided a touchstone for my own work, that was not directly about Zoo animals, but still had conservation themes in common."


Student projects have focused on formal education in the classroom; informal education at zoos, aquariums, and nature centers; conservation action in faith-based communities; urban public health initiatives; encouraging nature play for youth; reestablishing connections between humans and nature, conservation messaging through the arts; sustainable agriculture, and much more.

"I was looking for a program that would allow me to explore my own interests, but still provide a strong conservation framework to help guide my graduate work. The added bonus of this program was its affordability. I was able to go through my graduate program paying as I went and as a result, I finished the program without having to take out loans." Jacqueline Zassick, AIP student


AIP students and their incredible work have been recognized on local and national stages and this coming December, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo celebrates its sixth class of students to walk across the Miami stage and earn their degree.

If you or someone you know has ever thought of pursuing a master’s degree but the traditional classroom setting isn’t for you, consider the Advanced Inquiry Program. Explore the Zoo like you never have before. Earn your degree. Change your world. This program is anything but ordinary.

Applications being accepted until February 28, 2019. Learn more or apply here.



Wednesday, January 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Reinberger Education. Click here to make reservations.

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