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Application to the Program

Are letters of recommendation required? Do I attach rec letters to my application; how should I submit them?

– Yes, recommendation letters are required.
– No, you will not attach the letters. However, you will want to talk to your recommenders to let them know Miami University will be contacting them to get their recommendation letter.

As part of the Miami University Graduate School application, you will be prompted to provide the names, institutions, and email addresses for a minimum of two references who have agreed to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf in support of your Graduate School application. The application will allow you to list the name and e-mail address of a third reference, but only two letters of recommendation are required to complete your application package.

Once you have submitted your Graduate School application and paid the application fee, an automated email containing a direct link to the recommendation system will be generated and sent to each of your references. When your references login, they will access an applicant-specific recommendation form that is pre-populated with your name, email address, and target degree, and they will be prompted to:

• share their contact details and information on how they know you;
• rate you on a series of characteristics and attributes; and
• upload a letter of recommendation.

To check on the status of a letter of recommendation, you may login to your student application portal and select “Manage your Account.” You will see your recommenders’ names listed and their status.

Do I need to take the GRE?

No. You don’t need to take the GRE.

I have not taken any biology courses to date. Will this affect my application?

No. It is okay if you have not taken an undergraduate biology course (or its equivalent). This will not affect your application/acceptance to the master’s program. All applicants regardless of their academic background will be considered.

However, satisfactory completion of one college-level life science course (e.g., general biology, general ecology, etc.) or its equivalent is required to complete the master’s degree. If you are accepted into the program and you have not met this requirement, you will be notified and can then enroll in a biology course during your master’s studies to fulfill the requirement. Dragonfly offers a web-based course, BIO 668 Biology through Inquiry, that fulfills this requirement. Details and additional information on the biology course requirement are available in our Biology Requirement FAQs and on the Biology through Inquiry webpage.

Is there a minimum grade point average (GPA) I need for admission to the master’s program?

For admission to the Miami University Graduate School as a degree candidate with regular standing, you must have earned a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75 (4.0 scale) at the institution awarding your bachelor’s degree. Undergraduate course work taken after the completion of your bachelor’s degree will not be considered in determining your grade point average.

My undergraduate GPA is below 2.75; is it still possible for me to be accepted to the program?

Yes. While the Miami University Graduate School requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 in order for an applicant to be offered regular graduate admission, individual departments do have the opportunity to petition for conditional admission for applicants whose cumulative GPAs are below this threshold if they are otherwise impressed by the applicant’s qualifications and credentials. While not a required part of the application package, low-GPA applicants may send a personal statement addressing any factors affecting their prior academic history to the Project Dragonfly Graduate Committee for their consideration. Personal statements may be uploaded to your Graduate School application using the file upload feature accessible from your Applicant Checklist.

In my application, is there a way for me to share more about my background, my identity or other life experiences not covered by the two essay questions?

We understand that applicants come from varying backgrounds and life experiences. The Graduate School application has an optional Personal Statement where you can share other relevant details about your life not included in your Personal Essays. Again, this is not required, but applicants may opt to use the Personal Statement to provide more context, such as how they have overcome obstacles or hardships or how their voice or experiences can offer a perspective that is not often highlighted in academia. Personal statements may be uploaded to your Graduate School application using the file upload feature accessible from your Applicant Checklist.

May I apply to the GFP (Global Field Program) and the AIP (Advanced Inquiry Program)? If so, what are the steps?

Yes! If you would like to be considered for admission to the Global Field Program and the Advanced Inquiry Program in the same application cycle for entry into one or the other, please:

1. Complete a Pre-Application for each program (Step 1 on the Apply webpage).
2. Create and complete two accounts in “My Project Dragonfly” using the program-specific links in Step 2 on the Apply webpage. You will need to use two different e-mail addresses, one for each account.
3. Send an email message to GFP_Masters@miamioh.edu stating that it is your intention to apply to both programs. Please also share with us which program would be your first choice.

NOTE:
–You do NOT need to complete two Graduate School applications (Step 3 on each “Apply” page); a single application will suffice since both degree options (M.A. in Biology and M.A.T. in the Biological Sciences) are available through both the GFP and the AIP.
–While we can consider your application to the GFP and the AIP in the same application cycle, note that you will accept your placement into only one of the degrees.

Do I need to submit transcripts as part of my application package?

Yes. When you complete your Graduate School application, you must upload unofficial copies of academic transcripts for each degree and/or stand alone course that you list in the “Academic Information” section of your application.

Applicants who are offered admission must then submit official copies of their transcripts to the Miami University’s Graduate School before the end of their first semester of study. Please be sure the transcript(s) you upload include your name, the name of the academic institution, the courses you have taken, the grade received in each course, and the dates of attendance. Transcripts documenting your bachelor’s degree must show the degree earned and your final cumulative grade point average.

Accepted applicants may have official copies of their transcripts submitted electronically to grad_transcripts@miamioh.edu. Hard copies should be sent to:

Graduate Admissions
Miami University
301 Nellie Craig Walker Hall
Oxford, OH 45056

How do I fill out the Miami University Graduate School Application?

Starting your application:

Follow the Graduate Degree (Online Programs) link on the Graduate School Application website.

When creating your application:

  • “What program are you interested in?”: Please select either "Biology (Project Dragonfly) (online)" for the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree or "Biological Sciences (Project Dragonfly) (online)" for the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree. Select Summer 2023 as your admission term. Please note that you will NOT see “Advanced Inquiry Program” or “Global Field Program” listed here.
  • After creating your initial account you will receive an automated confirmation message from the Miami Graduate School.  Please allow about 15 minutes before following the link that is shared in this message as this much time is needed for the system to display the next part of the application on your Application Status page.

Completing your application once your account has been created:

 

Program Selection: Please share your target degree, and please indicate whether you wish to apply to the Advanced Inquiry Program or the Global Field Program.  If you are applying to the Advanced Inquiry Program, please also indicate your AIP Institution choice.

Academic History: Please enter information for all previously attended colleges and universities, including Miami University, and be prepared to upload a copy of your unofficial transcript for each school listed. Please be sure to include any graduate classes taken at Miami University as either a degree-seeking student or a CGS (Continuing Graduate Status) non-degree student. 

Please note that unofficial transcripts must include:

  • Your name
  • The name of the college or university you attended
  • A list of completed courses and the grades earned
  • For transcripts from institutions where you earned a degree:
    • A notation listing the degree earned and the date the degree was awarded
    • Your final cumulative grade point average

 

Test Scores: No graduate admissions test scores are required for application to the AIP or GFP.  Leave this section blank and click “Continue.”

Recommendations:  Please provide the names, organizations, position titles, telephone numbers, and email addresses for a minimum of two references who have agreed to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf in support of your Graduate School application. The Graduate School application will allow you to list additional recommenders, but only two letters of recommendation are required to complete your application package.

Supplemental Materials:

After you submit your Graduate School application, please return to your Application Status page, where you will upload the following required materials(.doc, .docx, and .pdf are accepted file types):

  • In your Application Checklist you will see a link to submit your Project Dragonfly Essay Responses, which is your responses to two essay questions (limit of 250 words each):
    • How have you translated professional opportunities, classes, or life experiences into your work?
    • How do you think this experience will benefit your personal life, professional life, and your community?
  • Under Upload Materials, you will be able to upload a copy of your résumé or CV.

 

While applications are accepted through January 15 for the GFP and February 215 for the AIP, we encourage you to complete the Graduate School application portion of your application well in advance of these deadlines. Doing so will help ensure that your references have time to complete your letters of recommendation and that all materials will be received and processed in a timely manner.

When should I submit my GFP application?

Application to the Global Field Program (GFP) is open between early September and January 15 each year, with a priority deadline of January 1.  Completing your application by the priority deadline is encouraged; however, all applications received by the January 15 due date will receive full consideration. 

We also encourage you to complete the Miami University Graduate School application portion of the application package well in advance of the due date as doing so will help ensure that your references have time to complete your letters of recommendation and that all materials will be received and processed in a timely manner.

More information is on the Apply page.

I am interested in applying to the GFP as an international student/non-U.S. citizen. Am I eligible for admission?

Through the Global Field Program, Miami offers courses in 16 countries within a singular graduate curriculum. Enrolling international students, many of whom come from countries where Miami sustains course partnerships, has been part of the GFP's mission for more than a decade, and the presence of these students helps make our program truly global and supports Miami's position as a globally-engaged university.

If you are an international applicant/non U.S. citizen, please carefully review Miami University's recommendations (following) as you consider applying for the Global Field Program, then send an email to Dr. Kevin Matteson (matteskc@miamioh.edu) including your country location and a brief statement on why you are interested in joining the Global Field Program.


Miami University Statement:
Students may be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis to complete an online program from their country of residence. U.S. Online degree programs for international students are often subject to geographical restrictions. It is the international student’s responsibility to ascertain any special requirements in their home jurisdiction for (i) recognition of the online degree, licensure, certification, or employment in a specific field; (ii) any tax implications (e.g., withholding tax) in addition to the price of tuition; and (iii) understanding the process and reasons for collection of its data in its home jurisdiction.

International students who enroll in an online graduate program acknowledge and agree that the University’s online program is a certificate and/or degree accredited and only recognized in the USA and may not lead to any accreditation or recognition in their home jurisdiction.

International applicants interested in applying to one of Miami’s online graduate programs should contact Graduate Admission at applygrad@miamioh.edu about their intent before beginning the application process.

I will graduate from my undergraduate institution this May. Can I apply to the AIP or GFP to start in the Summer Term?

Per Miami Graduate School policy applicants are expected to have completed their undergraduate studies before starting their master's program at Miami. This is doable for programs with Fall Semester admission, but sometimes more difficult with Project Dragonfly programs, which start with the Summer Term in mid-May. That said, some overlap (1-2 weeks) between the finish of an applicant’s undergraduate program and the start of the Project Dragonfly graduate program (AIP or GFP) is ok. Feel free to contact us at AIP_Masters@MiamiOH.edu or GFP_Masters@MiamiOH.edu with questions if you are unsure about how to proceed.

Admissions

When will I be notified if I’m accepted?

Admission decision notifications are sent to all applicants with completed application packages, regardless of the decision, by:

• March 15 for applicants to the Global Field Program
• April 15 for applicants to the Advanced Inquiry Program

Admission decisions are sent by email to the email address you used to create your “My Project Dragonfly” account.

Will age be a factor in the selection process?

No. Miami University does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or veterans’ status in its education programs, activities, admissions, or employment policies. All applicants will be considered based on their application materials.

Does it matter where I live?

Because of the field- and web-based nature of the Global Field Program, provided they have regular access to a computer and an Internet connection, our students can live literally anywhere in the U.S., so you can earn your master’s degree with the GFP from your home state! Furthermore, program costs are the same for all GFP students regardless of state of residence.

 

International Applicants

Through the Global Field Program, Miami offers courses in 16 countries within a singular graduate curriculum. Enrolling international students, many of whom come from countries where Miami sustains course partnerships, has been part of the GFP's mission for more than a decade, and the presence of these students helps make our program truly global and supports Miami's position as a globally-engaged university.

If you are an international applicant/non U.S. citizen, please carefully review Miami University's recommendations as you consider applying for the Global Field Program, then send an email to Dr. Kevin Matteson (matteskc@miamioh.edu) including your country location and a brief statement on why you are interested in joining the Global Field Program.

Do I need a computer or an Internet connection?

Yes. All of the coursework that is completed as part of the course of study occurs online within Miami University’s web-based learning community, so all students will need regular access to a computer and to the Internet. While not required for admission, accepted students often find that possessing a basic familiarity with computer use and comfort with online tools and services is helpful in some of the project work completed throughout the program. Keep in mind that if admitted, your peers, instructors, and Dragonfly’s staff members are all available for help and support.

Do I have to have taken classes at Miami University to apply?

No.

Must I have had a long and outstanding career or have previously traveled abroad to be considered?

No. The selection committee is looking for a wide cross-section of people — different levels of experience, different ages, different backgrounds.

Can I start and complete this degree with possible travel and in-person restrictions due to COVID?

Yes! Dragonfly graduate programs were originally designed as primarily hybrid and online web-based degrees; therefore, we are fully prepared to adapt as needed so that students at all stages can continue making progress toward their master’s degrees.

For more information, you can also view our COVID-19 page.

Acceptance to the Program

How difficult is it to be accepted to the master’s program?

Acceptance to the master’s program is based on each applicant’s application materials and the merit of his or her application.

How and when will I be notified if I’m accepted? Will I be notified if I am not accepted?

Admission decision notifications are sent to all applicants with completed application packages, regardless of decision, by:

  • March 15th of every year for applicants to the Global Field Program
  • April 15 for applicants to the Advanced Inquiry Program

Admission decisions are sent by email to the email address you used to create your “My Project Dragonfly” account.

Costs

Will I be able to apply for student aid and/or loans while I am a Dragonfly master’s student? Does the University have payment plans? Can I defer my existing student loans?

To qualify for federal student loans, and to defer federal student loans, a degree-seeking student must be enrolled at least half-time (five credit hours at the graduate level) in an academic term. Under the current course of study/credit hour configuration, this means that many, but not all, semesters’ registration and enrollment can be managed in order to hit this mark.

During terms in which master’s students are enrolled for 5 or more credit hours, they can apply for a federal student loan by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is possible that they may be granted a federal loan in an amount that would cover most expenses for the 2.5- to 3-year program. Also, at any time during the master’s experience, any student may apply for loans from private financial institutions. More information can be found on the Miami University One Stop’s Apply for Financial Aid webpage.

All students who take out federal student loans qualify for only one six-month deferment for each particular loan. Students who have not previously used their one-time, six-month deferment are able to defer federal loans beginning in the term in which they are enrolled half-time. Students who have already used their six-month grace period would only be eligible for another six-month grace period on any new loans that have been borrowed.

Please see Project Dragonfly Financial Aid Information for additional details, including information on payment plans. For Washington State residents seeking information and resources about student loan repayment or seeking to submit a complaint relating to your student loans or student loan servicer, please visit www.wsac.wa.gov/loan-advocacy or contact the Student Loan Advocate at loanadvocate@wsac.wa.gov.

How will costs vary if I am an out-of-state student?

The AIP and the GFP carry the same tuition rate for out-of-state students as for in-state students. Learn more about costs at each program’s respective “Courses and Costs” page:

AIP Courses and Costs

GFP Courses and Costs

Will costs remain the same throughout my GFP master’s experience?

A student’s total cost to earn their GFP degree depends on when they start the program and how long they take to complete it.  Current course costs are shared on the GFP Courses and Costs webpage and follow a Market Driven Tuition rate that is part of a cyclical three-year tuition commitment from Miami University.  Project Dragonfly works closely with the university to keep costs down for all participants.

How do students pay for this program?

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. 

We offer some further ideas on Helping to Fund your Degree and Scholarships for Current Dragonfly Students.

Coursework

Do you have any examples of student work?

Students complete a range of projects as they complete their degree work. For example, all students complete an Authorship Leadership Challenge to prepare a manuscript or other media for a professional outlet. To see a list of published articles authored by our students, click here.

How long do I have to complete my degree?

While many students complete the degree in 2.5 to 3 years, because of varying individual circumstances some students require additional time, which is fine. Per Miami University policy, all master’s level students must complete their requirements for the master’s degree by December 31 of their fifth year of study; in other words, a student admitted in 2023 has until December 31, 2028, to complete the degree requirements.

Are there physical requirements?

For the Earth Expeditions courses that GFP students take as part of their course of study, students must be in good health and be able to sustain moderate physical activity. Walking and spending many hours outside should be expected during your field experience. If you have been living a somewhat sedentary lifestyle, we suggest that you begin moderate exercise at least two months before departing on your Earth Expeditions course: walking or hiking is perfect; including a range of flat and hilly terrain in your training. It’s a good idea to walk with a daypack as you will almost always have daily supplies with you during the course.

While most Earth Expeditions are not continuously physically strenuous, they are active. There will be physical activity every day: swimming in shallow or deeper water while snorkeling, or hiking, sometimes in steep or rugged terrain. If your body is conditioned to this type of exercise, you will have more stamina and be better able to fully enjoy your surroundings and take in the educational opportunities on the trail. Depending on the Earth Expeditions location, environmental factors such as heat, humidity, and altitude can impact your mental and physical capacities. Being physically prepared will help you handle these challenges with a spirit of adventure. Rest assured, students from their 20s to their 70s have participated fully in Earth Expeditions courses.

Can I take the same field course twice (e.g., Namibia two years in a row)?

An Advanced Field option is available for each Earth Expeditions field site, allowing students  to take  two courses in the same location during different years. For approval, you will need to submit a letter stating your goals to the Project Dragonfly Graduate Committee when requesting to your next Earth Expedition course. Taking the Advanced Field course will require specific educational objectives that clearly show how the opportunity to go to the same country twice will help you advance your program of study.

Can I take more than one Earth Expeditions course during a summer?

No. While you can take the same course twice within the Global Field Program, you cannot take two Earth Expeditions courses simultaneously. The goal of the GFP is to not only provide content knowledge on inquiry, community-based global conservation, and participatory education, but to also develop our students as whole people. Through journaling and other means, Earth Expeditioners are encouraged to reflect on their experiences at these key conservation sites and, upon returning home, take time to process what they’ve done and learned, internalize these lessons and then incorporate them into a more mindful way of being on the job and in the world generally. This takes time, and each Earth Expedition is unique in what you will take from it. Taking one Earth Expedition course at a time allows the lessons and experiences of that place to settle and become part of who you are in the world.

Can I choose which classes I take?

GFP students are required to take a total of 21 credit hours centered around Earth Expeditions courses and a total of 14 credit hours of Core courses. You can find the GFP course of study and a list of required classes by year on the GFP Courses and Costs page. All students are required to take one of three  introductory Earth Expeditions courses in their first year; in the following two summers, students submit their course preferences, ranking their Earth Expeditions course selections in priority order.  We place more than 400 students every summer in our international courses, so ensuring everyone’s first choice placement isn’t feasible; however, most students are placed in one of their top three choices.  And while travel is an important and transformative part of the GFP, even more important are the collaborative changes, environmental partnerships, and connections that occur in all of our Earth Expeditions courses. In addition to the fact that our students can live anywhere in the world and take our courses, the program’s flexibility lies within a student’s ability to self-direct each project he or she takes on within the framework of the course structure, to guide his or her own degree experience.

Can credits from this program can be transferred into other university programs?

Possibly. When transferring credits from Miami University to other institutions, the receiving institution bears ultimate responsibility for the type and number of credits that may be transferred.

Can I transfer courses from another university/institution?

No.

Can I apply previously completed Core Courses toward the GFP?

Yes. BIO 631 Conservation Science & Community (3 credits), BIO 632 Biology in the Age of Technology (3 credits), and BIO 634 Issues in Evolution (3 credits) can be taken outside of the degree program and subsequently counted towards your master’s degree requirements. These credits count toward the 14 credit hours of required Core courses. For these credits to be applicable toward your GFP degree requirements, you must have:

1) been accepted to the master’s program.
2) participated in the GFP for at least one semester.
3) received a grade of “B” or better in your course(s).
4) taken the course within 5 years of your projected graduation date for the master’s.
5) completed the Request to Dragonfly Graduate Committee form.

Note: No more than 9 credit hours of Core Courses may be counted toward the GFP. No more than 10 credit hours total may be counted toward the GFP.

Can I apply a previously completed Miami University Earth Expeditions course toward the GFP?

Yes. One Earth Expeditions course (5 credit summer course + 2 credit fall course for 7 total credit hours) can be taken outside of the degree program and subsequently counted towards your master’s degree requirements. For these credits to be applicable toward your GFP degree requirements, you must have:

1) been accepted to the master’s program.
2) participated in the GFP for at least one semester.
3) received a grade of “B” or better in your Earth Expeditions course.
4) taken the course within 5 years of your projected graduation date for the master’s.
5) completed the Request to Dragonfly Graduate Committee form.

Note: No more than 7 credit hours of Earth Expeditions courses may be counted toward the GFP. No more than 10 credit hours total may be counted toward the GFP.

Can I apply previously completed Advanced Inquiry Program Web+ coursework toward the GFP?

Yes. Up to 7 credit hours of previously taken AIP Web+ classes can be taken outside of the degree program and subsequently counted towards your master’s degree requirements. Students wishing to count 7 credit hours or more of AIP Web+ courses may use them to replace one Earth Expeditions course. Students with fewer than 7 credit hours of AIP Web+ courses may use them to replace BIO 632 Biology in the Age of Technology*. For these credits to be applicable toward your GFP degree requirements, you must have:

1) been accepted to the master’s program.
2) participated in the GFP for at least one semester.
3) received a grade of “B” or better in your course(s).
4) registered for the course(s) through Miami University.
5) taken the course(s) within 5 years of the projected graduation date for the master’s.
6) completed the Request to Dragonfly Graduate Committee form.

* Students who can demonstrate that they have previously completed a course on evolutionary theory may also have the option of replacing BIO 634 Issues in Evolution.

Note: No more than 7 credit hours of AIP Web+ courses can be counted toward the GFP. No more than 10 credit hours total may be counted toward the GFP.

Miscellaneous

Can I take coursework for professional development/stand-alone graduate credit?

Yes!  Those who are not interested in earning a full master’s degree may take stand-alone courses for professional development or general interest. We have multiple online and hybrid field courses on topics in education, conservation biology, sustainability, and more. All courses have reduced tuition through Miami University.  Please visit our Professional Development Courses webpage for additional information.

After I graduate, will I be able to find a relevant job? How will I be able to apply my master’s degree to my current job while I’m in the program and then after graduation?

Because the AIP and GFP are designed for working professionals, many students and grads stay in their position but change the nature of their work, or create a new position within the same institution. Others use their master’s experience to become more highly qualified for new careers and jobs at other places. The students and jobs span a range of arenas, including formal education, nonprofit, government, and business. Project Dragonfly graduate students include professionals working in conservation organizations, non-profits, businesses, parks, government agencies, schools and more. Because our students are so diverse, interactions among all of our grad students often lead to new ideas for implementing conservation education programs locally and globally.

In large part, students drive their own master’s experience through projects they design, so where a student ends up depends on where he or she wants to go. But students also develop specific content knowledge and skills in biodiversity threats and conservation, evolution, community engagement, inquiry-based education, science writing and publishing, and leadership, among many others. These skills can be beneficial in a current work environment or help prepare a master’s student for a new career. Both the AIP and the GFP provide students with academic preparation in the life sciences, innovative research experiences, and opportunities to generate and apply knowledge in diverse community contexts.

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.

What is the difference between the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and the Master of Arts (M.A.)? Which degree option is right for me?

Advanced Inquiry Program master’s students select from two degree options: either an M.A. in Biology or an M.A.T. in the Biological Sciences. In terms of the course of study, there is little difference between the two. M.A. and M.A.T. candidates go through the Advanced Inquiry Program together, oftentimes in the same classes. And while those who do not currently hold a teaching license are generally advised to select the M.A. program, which option an applicant chooses is largely based on his or her academic background and/or current profession or professional objectives (please also see “Does the M.A.T. degree also include teaching licensure?” below).

Generally, students working toward a Master of Arts (M.A.) integrate biologically focused projects, while those working on a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) may have a focus on education. The program is self-directed and, in large part, projects are a result of the specific audience, your efforts, and your own personal and professional goals in the program. The big-picture difference between the two degrees is that fulfillment of project assignments for an M.A.T. may include exploration of the biological sciences through lesson plans and work with student populations as your audience. However, for the M.A., graduate students are asked to focus on zoological conservation and life science projects outside of the typical lesson plan, curriculum or traditional classroom experience. That said, overlap between the disciplines of biology and education is also encouraged and expected in this program. The main expectation is that you will be deliberate about aligning your degree, Master Plan, and professional goals in ways that make sense for you.

Does the M.A.T. degree also include teaching licensure?

No. The M.A.T. degree option is designed for you if 1) you are certified to teach, 2) you have an academic degree in education or education related field (i.e., bachelor’s or master’s), or 3) you have an interest in education or have taught, teach, or plan to teach in a k-12 school or informal education setting. This master’s program does not lead to educator certification.

In addition, for teachers looking for professional development or advancement, realize that this M.A.T. in the Biological Sciences is offered through Miami University’s Biology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences. The degree is not through an education department or College of Education. Some state Boards of Education require a degree to be from an approved education department or College of Education to receive an endorsement, additional teaching area, or other types of advancement. Other boards may look for the degree to be in a content area field, such as ours in biology. To be sure this program will meet your professional advancement goals, we strongly suggest you check with your school district and your state’s Department of Education before enrolling.

Will the coursework I take through the GFP count toward my teaching licensure/certification?

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

Who is teaching the M.A./M.A.T. courses?

All classes that are part of the GFP curriculum are taught by Miami University instructors, including core Dragonfly staff and full- and part-time faculty.  Additionally, partners at each of our international field sites serve as a global network of creative and deeply committed people on the frontlines of community innovation, participatory learning, and ecological well-being. Biographies of Project Dragonfly Team members are available on our Team webpages.

What are the major differences between the GFP and the AIP?

Both the AIP and GFP seek to create an alliance of professionals who use inquiry and other forms of participatory education to improve human and ecological communities. Both programs support collaborative engagement. Both are based on the premise that “making a difference” should be woven into the fabric of education–through practice. This practice (which is astonishingly rare in conventional educational settings) requires expanding learning beyond the classroom, tackling real-world issues, and supporting shared knowledge creation and shared action. So in terms of their approach, both programs have much in common.

However, the AIP and GFP differ fundamentally in their focus. The GFP is clearly globally focused and includes primary and intensive learning experiences abroad. The AIP is locally focused with primary and intensive learning experiences in communities where AIP institutions are located.

The distinction goes deeper however, because it is not based on academic content alone: the fundamental delivery system, settings, partnerships, and social networks differ as well. It is the AIP institutions themselves, the learning experiences and the community-connections they create, that distinguish the AIP from the GFP. The AIP degree is a multi-institutional construct that will be shaped in ways that are not possible through the GFP, shaped by the unique mission, history, social value, resources, and people of each AIP institution. The AIP degree creates a national network of AIP institutions, allowing for direct cross-fertilization of ideas and practices. The AIP is not only provides a “local curriculum,” it is a uniquely co-owned national experiment, one with considerable potential to create partnerships and cross-training, and to evolve as more successful pedagogical variations are assessed and communicated across participating institutions over time.

Can I obtain a student ID?

Yes!  All Miami University students may request and obtain a DigitalID — please see the Campus Services Center’s Miami IDs webpage for further information.  Additionally, for non-official purposes (reduced rates at conferences, tuition reimbursement from an employer, etc.), Project Dragonfly can prepare a letter for you that verifies your enrollment and standing in the master’s program. Enrollment verification for official purposes (such as student loan deferment) must be obtained through the National Student Clearinghouse – please see the Enrollment Verification page for instructions and information.

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?

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 Helping Fund Your Degree and Dragonfly Scholarships page. Below are some quotes from Dragonfly students on how they funded their degree.

“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

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

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

Kayla Clark

Belize Student Reflection: Kayla Clark

“I am a saltwater human through and through so I was surprised that the parts of the trip that most impacted me were inland and not in the clear blue ocean water."

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