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Professional Development Courses

In addition to the Master’s degree programs described elsewhere, Project Dragonfly offers a number of online and hybrid courses that, along with our suite of Earth Expeditions global field courses, can be taken on their own for professional development and lifelong learning, outside of a degree program.

Stand-alone Courses for Professional Development

All of the courses below are open to individuals who would like to earn stand-alone graduate course credit from Miami University. “Web Courses” are offered 100% online and can be completed from anywhere in the world. “Web+ Courses” combine online learning with on-site experiential learning experiences with a premier learning partner in select U.S. cities. Due to their site-specific design that includes unique learning opportunities and professional connections, students interested in Web+ Courses should be within traveling distance of a Web+ learning partner site (see course list below for relevant physical locations).

Am I Eligible?

These graduate courses are open to anyone who holds a bachelor’s degree. Students enroll at any stage of their career, from recent graduates to retirees and from all types of educational and professional backgrounds.

Additional Notes for Some Specific Groups

Teachers: State Boards of Education vary in terms of professional development requirements so be sure to check the details for your state. Feel free to reach out to Associate Director Kevin Matteson ( to review syllabi and understand more about how these courses may fit your professional goals.

Zoo and aquarium professionals: Project Dragonfly is designated as an official AZA Learning Partner, which means that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has deemed Dragonfly as a “high-quality resource for career development opportunities.”

Current Miami University undergraduates and graduate students: Undergraduates who have earned 64 or more credit hours and have a GPA of 3.0 or above may request permission from the Miami University Graduate School to enroll in graduate-level classes. Please visit the Graduate School website for further information. Miami graduate students may enroll in Dragonfly courses for graduate credit.

Course Costs

To support involvement by a broad range of educators and conservation professionals nationally, Miami University offers significantly reduced tuition for these graduate courses. Through spring 2027, the cost per credit hour is:

  • Web Courses (100% online): $455/credit hour
  • Web+ Courses: $580/credit hour

Course Offerings

We offer Web Courses (100% Online) and Web+ Courses (online and in-person)

Note: Earth Expeditions global field courses may also be taken outside a degree program.

Summer Term (mid-May to early August)

White monkey

Biology through Inquiry (3 credit hours)

Covers general biology topics via an inquiry-based and student-driven framework. This course also meets the biology requirement for Project Dragonfly master’s programs.
Orange dragonfly on cloth

Globally Connected Conservation (5 credit hours)

This course explores the applied theories and professional skills required to develop meaningful conservation action. Students collaborate to identify needs, design, and implement conservation campaigns.

Fall term (late August to early December)

Students working directly with their local community

Conservation Science & Community (3 credit hours)

This course explores the theory and practice of conservation science, including discussion of threats to biodiversity as well as methods to collaboratively address social-ecological problems. Vital to this course is a project in which students work directly with their local community to better understand and address real ecological problems.
A Galapagos tortoise eating

Issues in Evolution (3 credit hours)

An understanding of evolution is critical for those seeking to better protect life on earth. In this course, students learn and discuss foundational evolutionary concepts as well as emerging topics. Students design a project that presents information on an evolutionary topic of choice in the form of a lesson plan, infographic, or review paper.

Spring term (late January to early May)

Bee in a flower

Pollinator Biology & Conservation (2 credit hours)

Pollinators are critically important to global ecosystems. This course explores the diversity of pollinators, from relatively well-known honey bees to wild bee species and non-insect pollinators such as bats and hummingbirds. Participants implement a project that involves creating a pollinator garden or submitting a pollinator-focused research paper, lesson plan, or grant application.
A student doing some wildlife mapping

Biology in the Age of Technology (3 credit hours)

This course explores the beneficial and negative impacts of technology for conservation biology and environmental action. Topics include wildlife mapping via GPS and GIS, use of drones, satellite imagery, radio-collars, citizen/community science, social media, and the impacts of media on children including Nature Deficit Disorder. Through projects, students research a biological problem of interest and design a participatory media product to engage community members in that topic.

Web Courses (100% Online)

Coursework occurs entirely on the web but always involves connecting with nature and your local community. Students taking these courses may reside anywhere in the world.

Web+ Courses

Web+ Courses combine study in a web-based learning community with experiential learning in person and through an AIP Master Institution. Current AIP Master Institutions are located in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis and New York. Students taking Web+ Courses should reside near an AIP Master Institution.

Web+ Courses are offered in different academic terms, depending on the on-site experiential learning location.

In addition to the online component taught by Miami University faculty, students in Web+ Courses benefit by working side-by-side with the extraordinary professionals at AIP Master Institutions, who provide mentorship, direct connections to local education and conservation initiatives, and who help deepen personal, professional, and community connections and engagement. Contact your local Master Institution to be sure there is space in the course, for additional course details, and to get specific experiential on-site learning dates.

Web+ Course List

Chicago: Brookfield Zoo Chicago
Animal Behavior & Conservation • Climate Change • Graduate Research: Book Discussion • Environmental Stewardship in My Community • Foundations of Inquiry • Great Lakes Ecosystems • Plants & People • Primate Behavior & Conservation • Regional Ecology

Cincinnati: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Animal Behavior & Conservation • Environmental Stewardship in My Community • Graduate Research: Barrows Lecture Series Seminar • Habitats, Adaptations & Evolution • Plants & People

Cleveland: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Ecophysiology: Biomimicry • Environmental Stewardship in My Community • Foundations of Inquiry • Human Dimensions of Conservation • Primate Behavior & Conservation • Project Design & Assessment

Denver: Denver Zoo
Ecophysiology: Biomimicry • Environmental Stewardship in My Community • Global Biomes • Human Dimensions of Conservation • Regional Ecology: Rocky Mountain Field Investigations • Graduate Research: Book Discussion • Urban Ecology

Jacksonville: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Environmental Stewardship in My Community • Foundations of Inquiry • Regional Ecology: Florida Biodiversity • 

New York: Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo
Climate Change • Environmental & Informal Science Education • Graduate Research: Science Literature • Human Dimensions of Conservation • Project Design & Assessment • Animal Behavior & Conservation • Primate Behavior & Conservation • Environmental Stewardship in My Community • Regional Ecology • Global Biomes

San Diego: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
Human Dimensions of Conservation • Conservation Research at Living Collection Institutions • Project Design & Assessment

Seattle: Woodland Park Zoo
Foundations of Inquiry • Environmental Stewardship in My Community • Graduate Research: Perspectives in Environment & Culture • Habitats, Adaptations & Evolution • Regional Ecology: Northwest Wildlife Conservation • Animal Behavior & Conservation • Global Biomes • Conservation Research at Living Collection Institutions

St. Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden
Environmental Stewardship in My Community • Global Biomes • Project Design & Assessment

Contact Project Dragonfly

111 Upham Hall
Oxford, Ohio
Est. 1994