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denver zoo advanced inquiry program aip master's degree

Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP)

Get Your Master’s Degree at Denver Zoo

Graduate Students

Denver Zoo and Miami University in Ohio are excited to bring an opportunity for working professionals who are passionate about conservation to earn their master’s degree in the zoo and conservation setting. AIP Master's students practice the skills of investigation, critical reflection, leadership, and collaboration required to effectively address vital issues.


Denver Zoo is excited to bring an opportunity for teachers and working professionals to further their higher education as well as become catalysts for global conservation and active stewards for Denver Zoo's mission. Denver Zoo has partnered with Miami University in Ohio to offer this unique academic opportunity for education professionals to earn a Master's degree in the zoo and conservation setting. AIP 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. AIP Master's students practice the skills of investigation, critical reflection, leadership, and collaboration required to effectively address vital issues. AIP Master's candidates use inquiry not only as a tool for integrated learning, but as a powerful agent for student achievement, public engagement in science, and ecological stewardship.

What is AIP?

The Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) is a one-of-a-kind Master's Degree program for working professionals who want to develop their inquiry-based skills while striving to affect positive social change in their local community. Co-delivered by Denver Zoo and Miami University's ProjectDragonfly, AIP combines graduate courses at the Zoo with web-based learning communities that connect you to a broad network of educators, conservationists and community leaders.


Enrollment is open to applicants with a Bachelor's degree regardless of academic major or profession. It is designed for teachers and other


Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in the Biological Sciences*, designed for licensed K-12 teachers

Master of Arts (MA) in Biology, for all non-licensed, informal educators or other professionals

* The MAT degree does not confer a teaching certificate

Estimated Yearly Cost: 

Year 1= $3,035; Year 2= $3,310; Year 3= $2,670

*costs are estimates and subject to change based on your specific schedule and increased course costs. These estimates include both Denver Zoo and Miami University's costs.

What Makes the AIP Program so unique?

• By using Denver Zoo as your classroom, you will earn 21 credit hours at Denver Zoo or field sites around the Rocky Mountain region and 14 credit hours taken online through Miami University.
• This program is ideal for working adults who want to further their professional and personal growth but cannot commit to a full time academic schedule.
• This program is an affordable Master's degree with yearly expenses being approximately $3,000 per year for basic tuition and fees, much less than other Colorado institutions offering Master's programs. That cost savings represents an 85 percent reduction in costs compared to a typical Miami University degree for students who reside outside Ohio.


Brief Sample of Graduate Courses

Online Courses

Courses at the Zoo

Conservation, Science, & Communities

Foundations of Inquiry (Required, week-long course in Mid-June)

Biology in the Age of Technology

Global Biomes (Saturdays in Fall)

Issues in Biodiversity

Human-Wildlife Conflict (Saturdays in Spring)

Issues in Evolution

Animal Behavior and Conservation (Saturdays in Summer)

Leadership in Scientific Inquiry

Impact of Environmental and Informal Education (Saturdays in Fall)


Advanced Inquiry Program


Summer 2014


Foundations of Inquiry 


Register for this course


Fall 2014 course registration


Impact of Environmental and Informal Education 

$135 per credit ($405)
Saturday dates at Zoo: Sept 13, Oct 11, Nov 8, Dec 6

Course Description:

Course Description: Participants will explore strategies in environmental education (EE) programs that not only achieve educational goals, but also to result in positive environmental impacts, such as improved water quality or habitat restoration. This course will explore multiple outcomes of EE, including changes in program participants as well as changes in environmental quality. Course participants will also delve into various methods for measuring the impact of EE and engage in readings and discussions about Environmental Education theory and research on its impacts. Putting their new knowledge to work, participants will create an EE program that they will deliver to selected audiences, and will then measure the impact of the program targeting intended outcomes and desired environmental impacts.


  • Curricular development and educational leadership
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • The importance of education for conservation projects
  • Strategies for engaging students in local and/or global conservation action
  • Explore potential impact of environmental education

Register for this course



Global Biomes: Denver Zoo Conservation Regions of Focus

$135 per credit ($405)

Saturday dates at Zoo: Sept 6, Sept 20, Oct 18, Nov 15, Dec 6

Course Description:

Introduction to the biomes, species and cultures, connected with Denver Zoo’s conservation projects. Students will gain insights into Denver Zoo’s conservation areas of focus and learn what makes these areas biologically unique. Participants will also engage in discussions about the political, economic and cultural climates of these areas and how these factors shape and determine Denver Zoo’s conservation strategies. Participants will examine and discuss the long-term impacts that Denver Zoo strives to achieve in these areas.


  • Investigate climate patterns and plant/animal adaptations characteristic of different biomes
  • Use wildlife on zoo grounds to investigate wildlife of the biomes on zoo grounds
  • Explore current research and conservation issues relevant to different biomes
  • Learn about current community-based conservation solutions that address relationships between local people and the environment

Register for this course



For more details, please contact Molly Maloy,

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