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Global Field Program

The Global Field Program (GFP) is a master’s degree program that brings scientists, educators, community leaders, and others together at critical conservation hotspots in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas to explore new solutions for a sustainable planet. GFP students learn to work effectively across diverse ecological and social settings as they foster change through community-engaged education, scientific inquiry, environmental stewardship, and global understanding.

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Program Overview

GFP students choose to pursue either a Master of Arts in Biology (MA) or a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in the Biological Sciences (the MAT is for teachers with an existing license and does NOT lead to a teaching licensure). The degree is designed for working professionals and is offered part-time to enable students to continue working while completing their degree. Students receive guidance as they develop their own educational focus for their coursework on topics such as environmental justice, ecological restoration, participatory education, urban sustainability--driven by their individual interests.

GFP master’s candidates join an expansive network of leaders who work collaboratively to bring about change in local and global contexts. The GFP builds on the graduate courses and environmental partnerships of Earth Expeditions (see the Earth Expeditions website for descriptions of the global field course sites).

Miami’s GFP is well suited for students with interests in environmental biology, conservation, sustainability, environmental education, participatory learning, community-engagement, environmental justice, as well as a wide range specializations such as ethnozoology, traditional ecological knowledge, island biogeography, animal welfare, nonprofit leadership, marine biology, conservation art and media, youth programs, and more.

Because the GFP combines summer field courses worldwide with online learning communities, this master’s degree can be completed part-time from anywhere.

Featured Video*

 

*Video produced by Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

What kind of support and experience can this program provide?

Master's Degree Options

Applicants elect to enroll in either a Master of Arts in Teaching in the Biological Sciences (MAT; for teachers with an existing license; does NOT lead to licensure) or a Master of Arts in Biology (MA) (see program details). MA and MAT candidates go through the Global Field Program together.

Both the MA in Biology and MAT in Biological Sciences degree paths are open to a broad range of individuals including recent college graduates and professionals working in non-profit, education, business, and government settings – anyone who holds a Bachelor’s degree and has interest in improving human and ecological communities. Specifically with teachers in mind, the MAT degree provides real-world experiences that advance district, state, and national educational standards through research-based practices for student achievement in core content areas.

Miami University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (please see Miami University’s Accreditation page).

Note: Earth Expeditions courses can be taken for stand-alone graduate credit outside the degree program (see the Earth Expeditions website). 

Eligibility

Bachelor’s degree. Enrollment is open to applicants regardless of academic major or profession. The GFP master’s can be completed part-time while working. Miami offers significantly reduced tuition for this program.

COVID Response Information

Concerned about COVID-19? As a pioneer in multi-faceted online, hybrid, multi-site, and experiential learning, Project Dragonfly implements diverse approaches for engaged education and is fully prepared to adapt courses as needed to maximize safety regardless of the situation. For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Applications

Applications are accepted from early September through January 28 of each year for enrollment beginning late spring. The GRE is not required. Click here to review the requirements and begin your application.

  baja students during sunset overlooking the gulf of california

Students on Baja, Mexico Field Course overlooking the Vermillion Sea/Gulf of California. 

Is This For Me?

Here are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions.

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 Helping Fund Your Degree.”
– 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

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Apply to the Global Field Program