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Global Field Program

GFP: Course of Study

Course Outline

This table shows a typical course of study for a master’s student in the Global Field Program seeking to complete the required 35 credit hours in 2.5 years. Students earn the degree from any location in the world. All spring and fall courses occur completely online and can be taken from any location with an internet connection. Earth Expeditions courses are hybrid courses, combining ~10 days in the field in the summer with additional coursework online.

Year 1

SemesterCourse# of Credits
Summer/Fall:Earth Expeditions Course I5 credits (summer) + 2 credits (fall)
FallConservation Science & Community (BIO 631)2 credits
Spring:Biology in the Age of Technology (BIO 632)2 credits
Issues in Biodiversity (BIO 633)2 credits
Total Credits Year 113 credits

Year 2

SemesterCourse# of Credits
Summer/Fall:Earth Expeditions Course II5 credits (summer) + 2 credits (fall)
Fall:Issues in Evolution (BIO 634)2 credits
Spring:Leadership in Science Inquiry (BIO 635)2 credits
Professional Media Workshop (BIO 636)2 credits
Total Credits Year 213 credits

Year 3

SemesterCourse# of Credits
Summer/Fall:Earth Expeditions Course III5 credits (summer) + 2 credits (fall)
Fall:Master’s Capstone (BIO 637 for MA candidates; BIO 639 for MAT candidates)2 credits
GRADUATION
Total Credits Year 39 credits

* Both semesters of all Earth Expeditions must be taken together

Course Types


Earth Expeditions Courses

These courses–the heart of the GFP–are offered every summer through fall.  For current field courses see Earth Expeditions.  All new GFP students begin the program by taking a GFP foundational field course (in Belize or Baja, Mexico) designed to provide a solid introduction to the GFP master’s degree, support the development of Master Plans, and build interactions among master’s candidates in a GFP cohort. (Note: up to 7 credits of a past Earth Expeditions course can be transferred towards the GFP master’s degree.)

Core Online Courses

Core online courses occur within the Dragonfly Workshops Web platform and cover a range of topics, such as conservation science, social change, and action research. These courses include:

BIO 631  Conservation Science and Community
2 credits • Fall semester only (online)

An introduction to conservation science and its application in community settings through education and participatory research. Readings include topics such as environmental values, population biology, and landscape ecology.  Students apply course concepts to formal or informal learning environments through Community Engagement Labs.

BIO 632  Biology in the Age of Technology (BAT)
2 credits • Spring semester only (online)

Introduces new ways to engage students and communities in collaborative research and education through such technologies as camera traps, remote sensing, and GPS. This course explores new knowledge structures made possible through cyber-enabled public research and social networks. Includes Community Engagement Labs.

BIO 633  Issues in Biodiversity
2 credits • Spring semester only (online)

Graduate seminar on foundational and emerging topics in biodiversity.  Includes readings and group-led discussions. Topics vary year-to-year to reflect changes in the field.

BIO 634  Issues in Evolution
2 credits • Fall semester only (online)

Includes a focus on foundational and emerging topics in evolution. Includes readings and group-led discussions. Topics vary year-to-year to reflect changes in the field.

BIO 635  Leadership in Science Inquiry
2 credits • Spring semester only (online)

All students in this course direct a defined professional development program or other leadership experience targeting a specific audience. Students read and discuss different models for inquiry-driven change. This course is one of two exit courses for the master’s degree.

BIO 636  Professional Media Workshop
2 credits • Spring semester only (online)

Students in this workshop develop a full proposal for a work to be submitted to a professional journal or other media outlet. Students complete a critical research review as well as a study design, outline, and sample text that relates directly to their Master Plan.

BIO 637  Master’s Capstone
2 credits • Fall and spring semesters (online)

Students complete all exit requirements for the master’s degree, including submitting an article or other media for a professional audience (completing work initiated in the Professional Media Workshop). The Capstone course is taken in the last semester of the degree program.  Because the final, culminating product of this course and your master’s degree will be to create an e-Portfolio synthesizing your work in the program, the Capstone course may only be taken concurrently with one other course.

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 Earth Expedition courses and 14 hours of Core Web 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.