Advanced Inquiry Program

AIP: Course of Study

Course Types

Advanced Inquiry Program master’s students complete two types of courses for their Miami University degree: Web+ Courses and Core Courses. All courses are taught online by Miami University instructors.

Web+ Courses

AIP W+ Courses combine web-based instruction from Miami University with the excitement of internships, field study, and experiential learning in person at one of nine AIP Master Institutions in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Jacksonville, New York, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis.

Students in W+ Courses are uniquely supported both online by Miami University instructors and on-site by AIP Master Institution facilitators. Miami University instructors interact with students via the web and oversee university requirements and grading. AIP Master Institution facilitators work with students face-to-face at AIP Master Institutions to guide place-based experiential learning and community engagement. AIP Master Institutions, by providing invaluable community connections, expertise, and environmental leadership, are at the heart of the AIP.

Core Courses

The AIP Core Courses are entirely web-based and promote learning interactions nationwide while providing a common foundation for all students across the degree program. The AIP Core Courses also support graduation requirements, including leadership challenges and writing for a professional audience.

All AIP courses are delivered online by a Miami University instructor, and two-thirds of AIP courses are Web+ courses, which also include up to five days (or equivalent) per course of experiential learning on grounds of a Master Institution.

AIP students in both the W+ Courses and Core Courses submit assignments through the Dragonfly Collaborative Web Platform. Developed at Miami University with support from the National Science Foundation, the Dragonfly Collaborative Web Platform fosters learning communities through collaborative inquiry and action.

Course of Study

The table below shows a typical course of study for an AIP student seeking to complete the master’s degree in 2.5 years. Miami University’s Graduate School allows up to 5 years for degree completion. Details may vary based on a student’s specific timeline at different AIP Master Institutions.*

*Note that the Course of Study is under curricular review, and the number of credit hours of some Core Courses will change beginning Fall 2020. The time it takes to complete the Course of Study will remain the same; the degree can still be completed part-time in 2.5 to 5 years.

Year 1

SemesterAIP Courses# of Credits
Summer/Fall/Spring:W+ Courses (3, approximately)*
Course topics adapted to fit the mission of the AIP Master Institution and the community.
7 credits
Fall:Core Course
Conservation Science & Community
3 credits
Spring:Core Courses
Biology in the Age of Technology

3 credits
Total Credits Year 213 credits

Year 2

SemesterAIP Courses# of Credits
Summer/Fall/Spring:W+ Courses (3, approximately)*
Course topics adapted to fit the mission of the AIP Master Institution and the community.
7 credits
Fall:Core Course
Issues in Evolution (BIO 634)

3 credits
Spring:Core Courses
Science Leadership & Media Workshop (BIO 636)

3 credits
Total Credits Year 213 credits

Year 3

SemesterAIP Courses# of Credits
Summer/Fall:W+ Courses (3, approximately)*
Course topics adapted to fit the mission of the AIP Master Institution and the community.
7 credits
Fall:Core Course
Master’s Capstone (for MA candidates) or Master’s Capstone – MAT (for MAT candidates)

2 credits
Fall:GRADUATION
 
Total Credits Year 39 credits

AIP Core Course List

BIO 631 Conservation Science & Community
3 credits – Fall Semester only

This course explores the theory and practice of conservation science, including discussion of threats to biodiversity as well as methods to collaboratively address social-ecological problems. Vital to this course is a project in which students work directly with their local community to better understand and address real ecological problems.

BIO 632 Biology in the Age of Technology (BAT)
3 credits – Spring Semester only

This course explores the beneficial and negative impacts of technology for conservation biology and environmental action. Topics include wildlife mapping via GPS and GIS, use of drones, satellite imagery, radio-collars, citizen/community science, social media, impacts of media on children including Nature Deficit Disorder. Through projects, students research a biological problem of interest and design a participatory media product to engage community members in that topic.

BIO 634 Issues in Evolution
3 credits – Fall Semester only

An understanding of evolution is critical for those seeking to better protect life on earth. In this course, students learn and discuss foundational evolutionary concepts as well as emerging topics. Students design a project that presents information on an evolutionary topic of choice in the form of a lesson plan, infographic or review paper.

BIO 636 Science Leadership & Media Workshop
3 credits – Spring Semester only

This course focuses on science writing for many purposes, including peer-reviewed literature, grants, and general community outreach. Students provide critical peer review of others’ work and are challenged to explore a leadership dimension within their professional careers.

BIO 637 Master’s Capstone
2 credits – Fall and Spring Semesters

The cornerstone exit course for students earning a Master of Arts in Biology as part of the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) master’s degree from Miami University. Students reflect on the projects and artifacts they have created throughout their master’s experience and how those projects have helped lead them to a deeper understanding of the master’s program core tenets of local, regional and global understanding; inquiry; environmental stewardship; and community participation/voice.

BIO 639 Master’s Capstone: MAT
2 credits – Fall and Spring Semesters

A required exit course for students earning a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in the Biological Sciences as part of the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) master’s degree from Miami University. Students review, analyze, and synthesize their own work throughout the degree and create a master’s portfolio. They share their portfolio with peers and discuss their academic and personal progress through their master’s experience. Student portfolios must demonstrate relevance to learning and teaching in formal education settings in addition to the master’s program core tenets.

For summarized information on the topics, themes, and assignments in these courses, please also view the Overview and Details of Foundational Web-based Coursework.

Completing the Master’s

35 credit hours total: 21 hours of AIP W+ courses and 14 hours of AIP Core Courses including the Master’s Capstone. MAT students develop a teaching portfolio adaptable for National Board Certification. MA students develop a work portfolio suitable for their professional environment.

Miami University’s Project Dragonfly is an official AZA Learning Partner. Some Earth Expeditions and AIP master’s courses count toward the AZA Professional Development Certificate Program. For more information, see Project Dragonfly – an AZA Learning Partner.