Interested in the Program or want to apply?

Applications for the 2019/2020 AIP program are officially open!

AIP Graduation Ceremony

Congratulations Denver Zoo AIP Class of 2019!

Please use the link below to purchase additional tickets for your graduation ceremony.

Advanced Inquiry Program

Thanks to an extraordinary partnership with Miami University, Denver Zoo is thrilled to offer working professionals the unique opportunity to earn one of two master’s degrees—both focused on global conservation through local engagement. Our Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) is grounded in the principle that education should extend beyond the classroom, and that students can and should make a difference. AIP combines world-class online curricula with experiential learning conducted on campus at Denver Zoo to help adults bring social and ecological change to their communities.


Join the Denver Zoo AIP staff for a webinar at 6:00pm on Thursday, November 21st. We'll cover the basics of the program, the application process, and have an opportunity for questions. Email nparker@denverzoo.org to sign up!

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Testimonial from Matt Hron

I owe my current career to the connections I made in AIP. Through my peers in AIP, I got an animal care internship at the Denver Zoo and, subsequently, a position with a local nonprofit called Wildlife Protection Solutions


testimonial from Nicole Babyak

This program really changed me, including how I think about conservation, in a good way.  It helped me understand the importance of community involvement, and rethink how I will approach my future conservation goals. 


testimonial from Christa Dillabaugh

Do it!  It is a manageable program that can have a real impact on you personally and professionally if you give it your all!


Baby RegistryStudents participating in the regional ecology course at Rio Mora Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area in Northern, New Mexico


Through our unique and experiential Advanced Inquiry Program, you can earn a Master of Arts in Teaching, or MAT, in the Biological Sciences (for licensed K-12 teachers) or a Master of Arts in biology (for non-licensed educators or other professionals).

Becoming a Catalyst for Change

The core of this program is becoming a driver for environmental and social change in your community, whatever this means to you—whether it’s your immediate neighborhood, school district, workplace, zoo, nature center, city, faith family, or your own interpretation. We encourage critical thinking and inquiry-based learning as tools for creating strategies for change. Our courses focus on environmental and social topics and devising strategies for communicating with your community on these topics and issues.  

In this program, students drive their own master’s experience through projects and opportunities they design, so your area of focus will ultimately depend upon your own personal goals. In general, you can expect to develop content knowledge and skills in the realms of biodiversity threats and conservation, evolution, social science, community engagement, inquiry-based education, science writing and publishing, and conservation leadership—among others. Through the development and exposure of these tools, students will create a framework for bringing social and ecological change to their community.

Program Structure

CREDITS: For both MA and MAT degrees, AIP requires that you take 35 total credit hours, including 21 hours of Web+ Courses (online with in-person Zoo experiences) and 14 hours of Core Courses (online only) taken with Project Dragonfly master’s students nationwide via web-based learning communities.

PACING: AIP was specifically designed to accommodate working professionals and other lifelong learners, so coursework can be constructed around your life—rather than the other way around. Our students can complete the Advanced Inquiry Program in a little as 2.5, or as long as 5 consecutive years. Flexibility is a key component of this program to ensure the success of our students.

PORTFOLIO: Students are required to complete a master’s portfolio—our version of a master’s thesis—throughout their time in the program. Subject matter and research will be based on an overarching theme or passion/interest toward which they want to apply their various course projects toward.

FIELDWORK:  Students in this program will be immersed in numerous opportunities in field work through their W + courses. In addition, AIP students in their 3rd year in good standing are eligible to apply for an Earth Expeditions course to take your explorations further afield—providing a unique opportunity to learn firsthand about community conservation efforts around the world, with specific applications to your individual studies. The 7 credits earned through an Earth Expedition can be applied towards those 35 credit hours for program completion. 


AIP Staff

For more information about costs, please see Miami University’s AIP costs webpage.

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Interested in the Program or want to apply?

Applications for the 2019/2020 AIP program will officially open on September 3rd, 2019. Use the "apply here" button at the top of this page to begin the application process. If you need more information before starting the process, then we want to hear from you! Please use the "contact staff" button to get connected with Denver Zoo staff who can help guide you through this process.