Skip to Main Content

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Biology

For a Wide Range of Professionals

All students in the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) and the Global Field Program (GFP) choose to earn either the M.A.T. in the Biological Sciences (a nonlicensure degree for teachers) or the M.A. in Biology. The M.A. in Biology is designed for anyone with a Bachelor’s degree with a professional or life interest in ecological and social change, professional leadership, global understanding, conservation, community engagement, and related fields.

Like the M.A.T., the M.A. is offered part-time, enabling working professionals to continue working while earning their master’s degree. M.A. students can complete their degree while residing anywhere in the U.S. (for the GFP) or residing near an AIP Institution (for the AIP).  Professionals working abroad are also encouraged to apply, with enrollment contingent on the admission policies of Miami University’s Graduate School for international students. The Master of Arts in Biology is a fully accredited graduate degree from Miami University.

Purpose: Whether enrolled in the more locally focused AIP or the more globally focused GFP, the M.A. in Biology provides a wide range of working professionals with the knowledge, skills, professional networks, and inspiration to open new frontiers of community-engaged learning and shared action for a better planet. To expand learning beyond the classroom, M.A. students take courses alongside diverse leaders across nonprofit, business, education, informal science, government, and other sectors. This cross-cutting feature of Project Dragonfly’s graduate programs enables students to share ideas and co-create change as they develop invaluable learning partnerships and create exciting new approaches to inquiry-driven learning and shared action across diverse communities.

students in field learning


Details: The M.A. requires 35 credit hours that can be completed in two-and-a-half years while working full-time. M.A. students typically take three to six credit hours per semester in the summer, fall, and spring terms. The degree does not require a master’s thesis. Instead, all M.A. students, with faculty and professional guidance, develop an individualized Master Plan to advance their personal, academic, and professional goals. M.A. students also complete a professional Portfolio that showcases their individualized degree and achievements. The M.A. degree itself additionally benefits many professionals through promotions and salary increases from their workplace.

Whether developing a public campaign to restore a threatened habitat, greening your workplace, forming a partnership with one of Project Dragonfly’s global conservation partners, drafting a national campaign strategy for a non-profit organization, M.A. students lead collaborative change and blaze new paths to a better future. All M.A. students complete an authorship challenge as part of their degree, with many publishing research in professional journals and presenting at professional conferences.

We asked our alumni what they share most about the program. Here is what they said...

Other Degree Options

M.A.T. in Biology. The M.A. is the preferred choice for most professionals. Classroom teachers who already have a teaching license should instead consider the M.A.T. in the Biological Sciences  More information on Project Dragonfly’s M.A. in Biology can be found here.

M.S. degree. While Project Dragonfly does not offer an M.S. degree, we recommend that students interested in a research-intensive career explore M.S. programs, at Miami University or elsewhere. M.S. programs in Biology are typically offered as full-time degrees that require the completion of master’s thesis. 

Ph.D. degree. Some Dragonfly M.A. and M.A.T. graduates decide to pursue a Ph.D. While Project Dragonfly does not currently offer a Ph.D., Dragonfly graduates have successfully enrolled in Ph.D. programs, including at Kansas State University, University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), University of Washington, Texas Tech, University of Rhode Island, and others. These students have cited their Dragonfly graduate work as critical in preparing them for a doctoral program, preparing them to work across diverse social and ecological settings, co-develop community relevant issues, and lead social and ecological change, all skills relevant to many Ph.D. programs (as well as to many professions). Keep in mind, however, that Ph.D. programs in the sciences, particularly those without interdisciplinary tracts, may prefer or require a research-intensive M.S. degree and completion of a master’s thesis.

Funding your Degree

Please see our “Helping Fund Your Degree” page scholarships. In a recent survey of Dragonfly graduates, most students indicated that reduced tuition and the part-time basis of their coursework enabled them to self-finance their degree. Many students cited workplace and other reimbursement programs and scholarships as additional support.