Graduate Credit Courses



Zoo Expeditions (ZE) combine web-based graduate coursework through Miami University (Oxford, OH) with unique experiences at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, connecting you to a broad network of like-minded individuals and community leaders. With Project Dragonfly, we proudly bring you exciting, inquiry-driven topics ranging from animal behavior and plant ecology to habitats and evolution.

This suite of “Web+” courses merge the academic expertise of Miami University instructors with the world-class wildlife conservation expertise of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.  Classes offer participants the opportunity to develop inquiry-based learning skills and provide them with exciting course content in a variety of subject areas. These courses are designed for both certified K-12 teachers and non-traditional educators or professionals working in the natural sciences.

Did you know we support a full master’s degree program at the Zoo?  Check out the Advanced Inquiry Program!

Current courses include:

Summer Term – Register March 1 – 30

  • Environmental Stewardship: Issues in Cincinnati Conservation – This course focuses on conservation issues currently facing the Cincinnati-Tri-State area, and will allow participants to design their own conservation-focused inquiry projects. Zoo Expedition students will also get the opportunity to interact with professional conservation biologists working on Zoo grounds!  (3 credits – online work & four Saturdays in-person)

Fall Term – Register June 1 – 28

  • Plants & People – Students in this course examine the deep human connection to plants, the importance of nature and natural places to child development, and plant ecology & conservation – all while surrounded by thousands of species of plants. (3 credits – online work & four Saturdays in-person)
  • Animal Behavior & Conservation – This course provides students with a wealth of content on animal behavior and conservation, while giving them the opportunity to study the Zoo’s diversity of animal species. (3 credits – online work & four Saturdays in-person)
  • Habitats, Evolution, & Adaptations – In this course, Zoo Expedition participants learn about the relationships of plants and animals to their surroundings, and the adaptations they have evolved to survive and flourish. (3 credits – online work & four Saturdays in-person)

Spring Term – Register October 1 – 30

  • Barrows Conservation Lecture Series Seminar – Our spring graduate seminar centers around the Zoo’s popular Barrows Conservation Lecture Series. This course gives you the chance to learn about global conservation efforts and attend 4-5 lectures led by world famous researchers, conservationists, explorers, and teachers. (1 credit – online work & four to five lectures in-person, typically on Wednesday evenings) 

aipRegistration is a multi-step process (note the above “open” enrollment dates):

  1. Non-matriculated students must first apply to Miami’s Graduate School for “Continuing Graduate Status” (CGS) admission.
  1. The Graduate School will review the application and, upon approval, will send the applicant a letter of CGS admission. Please note that CGS admission does not confer or imply admission to the AIP; this approval simply allows the student to enroll in graduate-level courses without pursuing a graduate degree.
  1. Once a student has received their CGS admission letter from the Graduate School, contact Project Dragonfly at [email protected]. This office will share the appropriate course registration link with them and will also copy the Zoo.
  1. Zoo staff will then email you with an additional CZBG registration link that is also required in order to secure your spot in the course.  Space in courses are limited and are closed once they reach capacity, so the earlier you register, the better.

Your placement is not confirmed until you have completed Miami CGS admission, as well as both Dragonfly and Zoo course-specific registrations.

NOTE:  Foundations of Inquiry, Master Plan in Action, Internship, and Independent Study courses (which you may see listed during the Zoo registration step) are only open to AIP graduate students.


There are two tuition charges assessed per course:  Miami University’s portion of tuition and the Cincinnati Zoo’s portion for course fees.

Your tuition for Miami will be due to the Miami Bursar, typically required in full by the time of the course start date.  Information about Miami’s fee payment can be located on their website after you have received your login information for your myMiami online account.

You will be asked for immediate payment information (credit card) for the Zoo’s portion of the fees during registration.

Miami Tuition  Cincinnati Zoo Tuition
2017 – 18 Academic Year $270/credit hr (flat rate) $135/credit hour
2018 – 19 Academic Year TBD TBD



Tuition costs are estimates and subject to change based on your specific schedule and university fluctuations in course fees.

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By getting involved with Zoo Expeditions, you will find yourself surrounded by interesting questions that you are excited to answer! Together with their own students, previous Zoo Expedition participants have compared the activity of wild cats and house cats. They’ve wondered who plays more: gorillas or first graders. They’ve even explored whether caring for a plant can change how students care for their school, and more! These courses provide current content in each of the three course areas while providing educators with the skills they need to reach their students through scientific inquiry.

With experts on-site at the Zoo and Miami University instructors on the web, Zoo Expedition courses enable students to interact with peers, program alumni, and community leaders and explore new frontiers in community-engaged learning.  In addition to the face-to-face experiences at the Zoo, participants also engage weekly throughout the semester with instructors and course peers in an easy-to-use, web-based learning community to discuss assignments, course readings, and semester-long research projects.  Each course includes web instruction, discussion seminars, group work, on-site experiences, and direct investigation of the Zoo’s wealth of animal and plant life.

More Info?

Please contact Jerran Orwig, Advanced Inquiry Program Manager, if you have any questions about a Zoo Expeditions course, the AIP master’s program, and/or the registration process.