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Course Travels/Meeting Dates

If I am accepted to an Earth Expeditions course, is it my responsibility to arrange my own airfare?

Yes; however, accepted applicants will receive further information about traveling to their course destinations. If you are accepted to an Earth Expeditions course, you are responsible for making your own travel arrangements to the specified city within the country of your Earth Expeditions. It is also each student’s individual responsibility to meet the class at the specified time and location. Due to the complexities of group travel and logistical constraints such as hotel and transport reservations, the class cannot wait for tardy students. We require that students arrive in their destination country by our designated meeting time to ensure that they join the class at the specified time and location.

What are the travel dates for Earth Expeditions courses? How long does the travel portion of each course last?

Please see each individual course webpage for specific dates for the in-country field portion of the course — AmazonAustraliaBajaBelizeBorneoBrazilCosta RicaGalápagosGuyanaIndiaKenyaMongoliaNamibiaParaguay, and Thailand. All Earth Expeditions students will also be part of their course’s Web-Based Learning Community from April to early December.

The field portion of each Earth Expeditions course lasts 9 or 10 days. Students traveling long distances should plan to add an addition 1 or 2 days of travel to this timeframe.

What are the accommodations like during the international experience?

Please see Admissions page

What is the approximate cost of airfare for Earth Expeditions international courses?

Airfare costs change frequently. To estimate fares to any of our locations, interested applicants may wish to visit an online fare finder (such as Travelocity, Expedia, or Orbitz), or call a travel agent. Bear in mind that airlines have seasonal fluctuations in fares and many factors may influence your final airfare pricing. Earth Expeditions allows you the option of flying on your own, and not as a group, to assist you in saving on airfare costs. Following acceptance, you will receive details on your instructors’ flights should you be interested in finding a similar airline itinerary.

What about visas/passports/travel insurance/other Earth Expeditions trip details?

If you are accepted to an Earth Expeditions course, you will be provided with a wealth of information you’ll need to travel abroad with the program. Miami University requires that students traveling outside the U.S. purchase travel insurance, which costs about $35, and carry a valid passport. But again, if you’re accepted to a course, you’ll be provided with all the necessary information.

For information about passports, visas, travel advisories, and other detailed travel information, check out the U.S. State Department’s Web site at www.state.gov/travel/.

To access information about traveler’s health and vaccines, take a look at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Web site at www.cdc.gov and under the heading “Health and Safety Topics,” click on “Travelers’ Health” or “Vaccines & Immunizations.”

Grades/Credit Hours

Can I apply my Earth Expeditions course credits to a master’s degree program?

Yes, you can apply up to 7 Earth Expeditions credits toward a Master of Arts in Biology (MA) or a Master of Arts in Teaching in the Biological Sciences (MAT) at Miami University.

Do you offer a master’s degree program?

Yes, Project Dragonfly and Miami University’s Department of Biology have partnered to offer the Global Field Program (GFP) master’s degree where you can choose to enroll in either a Master of Arts in Biology (MA) or a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in the Biological Sciences. For more information, visit our Global Field Program web page.

Will I receive a letter grade? Would it be possible for me to audit an Earth Expeditions course or take it Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit?

Earth Expeditions courses are taken for a letter grade and cannot be taken on a non-credit or pass/fail basis, nor may they be audited. Earth Expeditions students are expected to complete both the summer and fall parts of the course: the international field experience and work within the Web-Based Learning Community. Earth Expeditions participants receive individual course grades for the summer field-based and fall web-based portions of the course.

How many graduate credit hours will I receive for completing this course?

Students earn 7 graduate credit hours upon successful completion of each Earth Expeditions course, which includes a 5-credit hour summer plus a 2-credit hour fall registration and payment component. Please also see Admissions.

Will this Earth Expeditions class count toward my teaching licensure/certification?

It depends. Each state has different requirements for certification. Please check with your state’s Department of Education or your local university’s College of Education or similar department to find out the details for your area.

Costs

How much do Earth Expeditions courses cost?

2022 5-credit hour field course (in-country + Web): $3,225 + Airfare. Some courses include additional course costs, which are noted under “Course Details” on the individual course webpage.

2022 2-credit hour project course (Web, required): $790

Tuition and all basic expenses in the field are covered in the course costs, including:

  • Meals (incidental snacks and drinks not included)
  • Lodging
  • Field station fees
  • Field equipment (as needed)
  • Ground transportation (van, boat, train, etc., as needed)
  • Park entrance and guide fees

Course costs do not cover personal expenses, such as gifts, or some ancillary costs, such as passport fees, entry fees, required course readers, and any additional course texts. Certain courses also carry with them an additional cost for in-country travel; where applicable, this is noted on the individual course webpage.

Miami University also requires all international workshop participants to purchase travel health insurance for about $35. (Successful applicants will receive more details in their Web-Based Learning Community course workshop.) In some classes an additional textbook is required. In some countries, you may have to pay entrance and departure taxes/fees at the airport.

Once you arrive with the class in-country, you will have no additional charges for hotel, food, or transportation. You are responsible for purchasing incidentals and gifts, and for tipping at your discretion.

Is financial aid available?

To support involvement by a broad range of individuals worldwide, Miami University currently offers a reduced tuition rate for all Dragonfly classes.

Dragonfly recommends that accepted applicants to the program check with their employer to see if professional development funds are available to further offset costs.

What if I am unable to attend my Earth Expeditions course?

If you decide you cannot participate in an Earth Expeditions course after registering, to receive a refund from Miami University of Tuition only (Administrative and Program fees are non-refundable), you must drop the course by submitting your request to https://prototype.wufoo.com/forms/request-to-dragonfly-graduate-committee/ no later than 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard time on the last business day before the course start date. After this time, tuition is non-refundable.

Miscellaneous

What is a “Web-Based Learning Community”?

As a feature of every Earth Expeditions course, students join their colleagues and instructors in Dragonfly Workshops’ Web-Based Learning Community. Topics, discoveries, and ideas that arise from face-to-face encounters within your Earth Expeditions experience are extended through semester-long learning communities on the Web. From home or work, and on their own schedule, students interact with each other and with Earth Expeditions instructors in a seminar-style discussion in this collaborative Web-Based Learning Community. For a few hours a week, students discuss course assignments, develop and present projects, and exchange ideas on the Web.

To get an overview of the Web platform, visit www.dragonflyworkshops.org.

What is the AZA Professional Development Certificate Program?

Miami University’s Project Dragonfly partnered with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to expand AZA’s professional development opportunities, and in March 2013, Project Dragonfly with Miami University became an official AZA Learning Partner. Until September 2019, a suite of Dragonfly’s graduate courses counted toward earning a Certificate in AZA’s Professional Development Program. Although AZA is no longer accepting applications to the certificate program, Dragonfly remains an AZA Learning Partner, which AZA defines as a “high-quality resource for career development opportunities.” The AZA is exploring how to continue the Learning Partner program to keep sharing quality professional development opportunities with their membership.

Zoo and aquarium professionals looking for additional training opportunities may visit the AZA’s website to learn more about additional courses, webinars, and conferences that can help enrich their careers. Interested professionals can learn more at the AZA Professional Development page.

May I contact someone directly?

If you can’t find your answers on the Earth Expeditions Web site or here in the FAQs, please feel free to email your questions to earthexpeditions@miamioh.edu or contact Project Dragonfly‘s main office at 513.529.8576.

Who is teaching the Earth Expeditions courses?

Click here to see brief biographies about each of our core faculty members.

How do the graduate courses accommodate students with disabilities?

Student Disability Services (SDS) at Miami University provides a number of reasonable accommodations and resources to support Dragonfly master’s students who have disabilities. To learn more visit Miami’s Student Disability Services website.

Is This for Me?

How have students funded their participation? What kinds of funding sources are available?

“Believe it or not, I have been ‘pay-as-I-go.’ ”
– Jennifer H., GFP student from Longwood, Fla.

“Check to see if your employer offers tuition reimbursement. I was lucky in that my employer offered $3,500 per year for graduate school. That was more than enough to cover each year of the AIP program.”
– Amy T., AIP graduate from Goshen, Ohio

“I was able to pay as I went. I charged the tuition, which I found reasonable, and then worked hard to pay it off before the next semester. The cost is drastically reduced. I did not have a single loan. Also, I was able to write it off on my taxes.”
– Perky S., GFP graduate from Dover, Idaho

“With reduced fees as part of Miami University’s support for this program, each master’s course is offered at a fraction of actual costs. But we know students sometimes need additional help! Check out our Grant Tips page.”
– Project Dragonfly

I have so many job and family responsibilities. How will I find time to add graduate studies?

“I started the AIP master’s eight months pregnant and also had a 3- and a 2-year-old and was a full-time teacher. When you find something you love and are passionate about, you make it work. I graduated this past December and loved everything the AIP master’s taught me. … It is a worthwhile program and gears toward your individual passions!”
– Adrienne C., AIP graduate from Cleveland, Ohio

(replying to Adrienne C.) “I just graduated from the GFP master’s and think you hit on the most important aspect of the work load. If you’re enrolling in a program like this, the chances are you’re incredibly passionate about what you’re studying. While the workload can become heavy at times on top of other responsibilities, that passion definitely keeps driving you. That and the support of a great community filled with other people who share your passion.”
– Mike R., GFP graduate from Fair Lawn, N.J.

“I found that the course work provided an escape from the day-to-day demands of my job as a teacher. I looked forward to losing myself in my courses. They were almost like therapy. I looked at the summer Earth Expeditions courses as not only academic growth but personal growth, as well. I learned so much about myself and gained confidence that I never would have found had it not been for this program. It is amazing how much the program becomes a part of your life. … I could not picture my life without Project Dragonfly.”
– Leah C., GFP graduate from Batesville, Ind.

(replying to Leah C.) “Great post, Leah – I, too, found it an escape into another professional life to talk science with peers not high school students. Nice to hear the perspectives of other formal and informal educators – I think we respect each other’s jobs more as well.”
– Kimberly L., GFP graduate from Jackson, Ohio

“There are many grad programs out there (physical and online) but how many can CHANGE your life? This one will. There is not a week (or sometimes day) that goes by where I don’t reference (verbally or in the quiet of my mind) the wonderful experiences I’ve had and friendships I’ve made because of this program. Time management is key to survival, but that is with any program you will undertake. Mine was 9-11:30 pm most nights + some weekend time after all other things were done (job, grading, kids, family, exercise, etc). It is not meant to be easy. Life is work.”
– Kimberly L., GFP graduate from Jackson, Ohio

“I held down two part-time jobs and one full-time job while I was an AIP student. The biggest factors in my success were the support of the folks in my cohort and the support of our advisor. Outside of that group, however, the entire Dragonfly community was also very supportive, and I made great connections with people I’ve never even met in real life. That cheerleading will push you through the tough stuff for sure! The other key piece, which a lot of folks have already mentioned, is time management. It’s a big part of surviving trying to balance the program and life. I typically tried to devote my Saturdays and any downtime to working on things, even if my downtime was just a few minutes here and there. It can be challenging at times, but when you finish and get that diploma it will be one of your proudest life events! This program was truly life-changing for me, and I’m so glad I chose AIP!”
– Victoria B., AIP graduate from Alliance, Ohio

“In the words of Nike: ‘Just do it.’”
– Suzanne H., AIP student from San Diego, Calif.

“I was a GFP student. Not going to say it was not a real challenge. I am going to say that EVERYONE is supportive. Anything important is possible if you break it down into small chunks…and that’s what this program does…. And it’s really about the circle of classmates that are facing the same challenges you are facing. The opportunities outweigh the challenges. DO IT!!”
– Kati M., GFP graduate from Bellbrook, Ohio

“Let’s just say, if I can work 4 part-time jobs and graduate on time, you can, too! As long as you commit the right amount of time for each class, it is doable! The support system is fantastic and know that you aren’t in this alone!”
– Megan F., GFP graduate from Cincinnati, Ohio

“Time management is sooo important and perhaps the biggest challenge! Not watching TV helps!! It helps me to set aside a little time every day for coursework, even if just 45 minutes. I’ve been known to use a few work vacation days to dedicate to big projects/papers. Sometimes using vacation time is the only way I can get a big chunk of time (while my daughter is with child care) to focus on school projects without the distractions of being a mom.”
– Jamie D., GFP graduate from Schnecksville, Penn.

“I am 6 months pregnant, in my first year teaching, mother of one 7-year-old, and have a very needy husband….but I am so happy to be starting my 3rd semester with the AIP program! The workload is very doable and the classes you choose are very flexible. It is a very realistic program for busy people!! And the experiential learning on-grounds is amazing!!”
– Amanda C., AIP student from Oceanside, Calif.

“My son was 6 when I started this program, and I actually found ways to involve him, his classmates and his friends in some of my projects. It took away some of that mommy guilt. The 10-day expeditions in the summer proved to be a challenge since my husband owns a restaurant and works 7 days a week, but my family and friends were so supportive and pitched in to help! It was an awesome experience and worth every sacrifice and late night cup of coffee!”
– Amy T., GFP graduate from Port Huron, Mich.

“I did an EE course with an 18-month-old and pregnant with my second. The course work was a lot of work, but it felt like good, solid work that would help my teaching. So, I didn’t mind doing it at night. The 10-day Belize trip itself was amazing, and I still refer back to it in my classroom (4+ years later!). I would highly recommend this program. The teachers are amazing, and the fellow students are equally amazing. It’s a lot of work but so so so rewarding!”
– Danielle B., Earth Expedition student from Yarmouth, Maine

Will it take a long time to complete my graduate degree?

“I can’t believe the first 2 semesters have gone by so fast! So it doesn’t feel like it’s gonna take long.”
– Sarah S., AIP student from Peoria, Ariz.

“2.5 years, teaching middle school and two pregnancies!”
– Eric D., AIP graduate from Canfield, Ohio

“I completed my degree in two-and-a-half years while I continued teaching elementary school full time.”
– Kendell M., AIP graduate from Mentor, Ohio

“I will be taking 4 years to complete. Taking 2 online classes and working full time is pretty work intensive. I wanted to get the most out of it. It is all about the journey for me.”
– Lisa H., GFP student from Cincinnati, Ohio

“I’m a busy mom with two small kids and completed my degree in 2 and a half years.”
– Sarah C., AIP graduate from Bothell, Wash.

“Took me 3.5 years because I had a summer baby. It made a couple of semesters a little more doable (teaching full time).”
– Angela Y., GFP graduate from Lakewood, Ohio

“2.5 years for me, it was too fast”
– Joseph O., AIP graduate from Doylestown, Penn.

“It took me 2.5 yrs, and during this time I worked 3 jobs simultaneously, single-handedly planned both my wedding and honeymoon and still had a good time!!”
– Ashley P., GFP graduate from Hillsboro, Ore.

“I finished my degree in 2.5 years. Yes, as others have said, it was intense, but it was also amazing and so worth it. I was working full time, and during the final year I actually moved overseas for the first time to start teaching internationally.”
– Joey F., GFP graduate from Vienna, Va.

“It took me 3.5 years, beginning to end, but only because I had to postpone my second Earth Expeditions course. I was due to have our first child the same month I was scheduled to go to Namibia (August 2010). I figured that it probably wasn’t a good idea… I completed all other semesters on time, even with the baby and working full time. It was challenging but doable. And I miss it terribly.”
– Mandy R., GFP graduate from Trafford, Penn.

“Completed in 2.5 years while working full time – it was NOT easy, but I did it!”
– Heather L., AIP graduate from North Ridgeville, Ohio

“This degree is meant for working people. I worked a full-time job and (last semester only) worked part time as well. I finished in 2.5 years and miss all the learning.”
– Traci S., GFP graduate from Lake Worth, Fla.

“I started the program three months after finding out I was expecting our first baby. I had her during winter break of my first year. It was challenging at times but I was able to complete the degree in 2.5 years. Looking back, it was my fastest 2.5 years of school.”
– Courtney G., AIP graduate from Amelia, Ohio

“Worked full time and part time (2 jobs) and completed like above…2.5 yrs. flies by!”
– Natalie L., AIP graduate from Hoffman Estates, Ill.

I haven’t been in school for awhile! Will I fit in as an adult returning to school?

“I think I am one of the old ladies in the crowd. I started in the program at 54. I had just started my first year as an elementary school principal. I won’t tell you it wasn’t extremely challenging to juggle a full-time career and this adventure in learning, but I wouldn’t change a moment of it. I met amazing people I still connect with, I traveled to places few people have the privilege to see, and I learned more than I ever have in my life. If you are worried, don’t be. Project Dragonfly is there for you!!!”
– Priscilla S., GFP graduate from Dover, Idaho

“I finished my undergrad in 1986 and was 49 when I started the GFP. I never felt like I did not fit in, and in my experience all of the instructors and other students have been extremely helpful. The program is all about helping others succeed. But honestly I did feel overwhelmed when I was taking two classes while working full time, so I just decided to stretch things out a bit and take an extra year to complete the program. This was a good decision for me, and I am very happy with the program.”
– Pam M., GFP student from Blanco, Texas

“What can I say that everyone else hasn’t? Good things come to those who wait. I waited 15 years before I went back and applied to be a part of the AIP, and I’m so glad I did. I can’t say enough about the support I received from my classmates and instructors.”
– Kendell M., AIP graduate from Mentor, Ohio

“Yes, you will! Be prepared to meet some awesome people, both students and instructors!”
– Sam B., GFP student from Berwyn, Ill.

“If it makes you feel any better, I received my Master’s degree in the GFP in December of 2014. I received my undergraduate degree in 1991. Some of you might be able to relate to the fact that the Internet did not exist when I attended college the first time. HAHA! However, I completed the GFP in 2 and 1/2 years, while working full-time and loved every minute of it. The learning atmosphere is very supportive. Believe me, if I can do it, so can you!”
– Leah C., GFP graduate from Batesville, Ind.

“The simple answer is DEFINITELY. This program especially is so warm and welcoming and supportive. Anyone of any background or age will be accommodated and guided through every hurdle.”
– Sarah C., AIP graduate from Bothell, Wash.

“I am pretty sure I was the youngest in my AIP Cohort and had graduated with my B.S. just 14 days before my first class at the Cincinnati Zoo. We had a variety of ages in our cohort and every single one of us ‘fit in.’ It doesn’t matter when the last time you were in school… this program is for everyone!”
– Mary R., AIP graduate from Fairborn, Ohio

“Yes. And this will sound boring and insignificant, but the learning platform used in this program is ‘long-time-since-in-school’ friendly and clearly has the end user in mind. I’ve seen some horrible online platforms that my friends and relatives have to use for their grad programs. Also, you will be so fascinated and engaged with the content and topics that the work is hardly ‘work.’ You are not just paying to go through the motions for a degree. You grow and develop and leave with enlightenment and integrity. You will fit in. If you are reading this… this program is for you.”
– Tessa T., AIP graduate from Richfield, Ohio