Advanced Inquiry Program

AIP Overview

Master’s Degree Description

Miami University’s Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) offers a ground-breaking online master’s degree that combines web-based Miami graduate courses with face-to-face experiential learning and field study at some of the nation’s premier zoological, botanical, and wildlife conservation institutions. AIP students earning a Master of Arts in Biology (MA) or Master of Arts in Teaching in the Biological Sciences (MAT) (for teachers with an existing license; does NOT lead to licensure) are able to share ideas with peers and faculty nationally, while focusing their master’s degree coursework on topics such as environmental justice, ecological restoration, participatory education, urban sustainability – driven by their individual interests.

Through connections with their local zoo or botanical garden, students in the program join an unprecedented national network of leading institutions committed to social and ecological change. Students learn to leverage 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 candidates also have the unique option to integrate once-in-a-lifetime international field study into their coursework by choosing from Earth Expeditions courses in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas (7 credits from Earth Expeditions courses can count toward the AIP master’s degree).

Miami’s AIP is designed for students seeking graduate-level course work in the fields of environmental biology, conservation biology, sustainability, environmental education, participatory education, and more. Philosophically, the program is based on the principle that education should extend beyond the classroom, and that students should make a difference – not just after graduation, but now, as a basic function of education itself.

Master’s Degree Options and Delivery

Applicants elect to enroll in either a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree in the Biological Sciences (for teachers with an existing license; does NOT lead to licensure) or a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Biology (see Program Details). MA and MAT candidates go through the Advanced Inquiry Program together.

Both the MA in Biology and MAT in Biological Sciences degree paths are open to a broad range of individuals including recent college graduates and professionals working in non-profit, education, business, and government settings – anyone who holds a Bachelor’s degree and has interest in improving human and ecological communities. Specifically with teachers in mind, the MAT degree provides real-world experiences that advance district, state, and national educational standards through research-based practices for student achievement in core content areas.

In both Master’s degrees, all courses are delivered online by a Miami University instructor. Two-thirds of AIP courses also include up to five days (or equivalent) per course of experiential learning on grounds of a Master Institution and in and around the region where the Master Institution is located.

Miami University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (please see Miami University’s Accreditation page).

Note: Some courses, for example the Earth Expeditions courses, can be taken for stand-alone graduate credit outside the degree program.

AIP Master Institutions


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Enrollment is open to applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree regardless of academic major or profession, who have consistent online access, and who are able to travel to an AIP Master Institution, currently located in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Jacksonville, New York City, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis. All coursework occurs online, while experiential learning takes place at Master Institutions.

The AIP master’s can be completed part-time while working. Miami offers significantly reduced tuition for this program.

COVID Response Information

Concerned about COVID-19? As a pioneer in multi-faceted online, hybrid, multi-site, and experiential learning, Project Dragonfly implements diverse approaches for engaged education and is fully prepared to adapt courses as needed to maximize safety regardless of the situation in summer 2021 and beyond. For more information, see our FAQ: Can I start and complete this degree with possible travel and in-person restrictions due to COVID?


Accepted until February 28 each year for enrollment in the subsequent summer. The GRE is not required. Click here to review the requirements and begin your application.

See our FAQ: Are letters of recommendation required? Do I attach rec letters to my application? How should I submit them?

More Information


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 field placement components for 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 of the institutions or its programs. 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 or by email at

The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) has authority to investigate student complaints against specific schools. WSAC may not be able to investigate every student complaint. Visit for information regarding the WSAC complaint process.

The transferability of credits earned at Miami University is at the discretion of the receiving college, university, or other educational institution. Students considering transferring to any institution should not assume that credits earned in any program of study at Miami University will be accepted by the receiving institution. Similarly, the ability of a degree, certificate, diploma, or other academic credential earned at Miami University to satisfy an admission requirement of another institution is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Accreditation does not guarantee credentials or credits earned at Miami University will be accepted by or transferred to another institution. To minimize the risk of having to repeat coursework, students should contact the receiving institution. in advance for evaluation and determination of transferability of credits and/or acceptability of degrees, diplomas, or certificates earned.

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