Graduate Program

Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP)
Do you have a passion for conservation? Do you have a desire to make an impact on your community? Denver Zoo is excited to offer the opportunity for adults to further their higher education as well as become catalysts for global conservation and active stewards for Denver Zoo's mission. The Denver Zoo has joined an extraordinary national partnership to offer this unique academic opportunity for working professionals to earn a Master's degree from Miami University while studying in the zoo's 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 and the power of investigation not only as a tool for integrated learning, but as a powerful agent for student achievement, public engagement in science, and ecological stewardship.

Annual Yearly Cost

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


Regional Ecology Lab Fee

Regional Ecology Lab Fee - $300 (covers expenses for travel, lodging, food and materials).

What Is AIP?

The Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) offers a ground-breaking master's degree that combines web-based graduate courses through Miami University with face-to-face experiential and field study at some of the nation's premiere community learning institutions. AIP students are able to share ideas with peers and faculty nationally, while also working directly through the Denver Zoo, an AIP Master Institution, to improve local communities through shared investigation and action


Enrollment is open to applicants with a Bachelor's degree regardless of academic major or profession. It is designed for all adults looking to pursue a degree in higher education and who have a passion for conservation and community.


  • 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
Both degrees are accredited and conferred by Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about the AIP program and if it is right for you, watch this presentation.

Why AIP?

Through AIP at Denver Zoo, you will take a total of 35 credit hours: 21 credit hours of AIP W+ courses that combine web-based coursework from Miami with face-to-face experiential learning and field study at the Denver Zoo and ecosystems in the Rocky Mountain region, and 14 credit hours of AIP core courses that take place on the web

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 $5,000 per year for basic tuition and fees

This program enables adults to have a platform for demonstrating leadership, innovation, and passion on behalf of wildlife and their community.

How are students using AIP?

  • Increasing the conservation knowledge and capacity in teens in Colorado and Kenya
  • Building stronger connections to nature for young children and their families through Nature Play
  • Sharing the conservation story through the lost art of storytelling
  • Helping citizens of Colorado understand and act on their connection to ocean conservation
  • Proposing climate change as a permanent component of the science curriculum in Colorado
  • Teachers building the capacity of their students to become leaders and stewards for nature and wildlife
  • Increasing the awareness of Denver Zoo’s visitors on vulture conservation
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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.