Graduate Courses

Zoo Expedition Courses

Zoo Expeditions are 3-credit hour Graduate courses taught on grounds at the Zoo. Through a partnership with Project Dragonfly at Miami University, we proudly bring you exciting, inquiry-driven topics ranging from animal behavior to plant ecology and evolution.

Zoo Expeditions is a suite of  graduate courses that merge the academic expertise of Miami University’s Project Dragonfly with the world-class wildlife conservation of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.  These courses offer educators the opportunity to develop inquiry-based teaching skills and provides 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 working in the natural sciences.

Current courses include:


Spring 2015- Register from October 1-30, 2014

Graduate Seminar: Our spring graduate seminar centers around the Zoo’s popular Barrow’s Lecture Series. This course gives you the chance to learn about global conservation efforts and attend lectures led by world famous researchers, conservationists, explorers, and teachers.

Summer 2014 – Register from April 1 – 30, 2014

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!

Fall 2014 – Register from June 1 – 28, 2014

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.

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.

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.




Registration is a TWO step process:

1. Register with Miami University

Register here with Miami

2. Register with the Zoo

Register here with the Zoo 

There are separate fees for each step, and you will be asked for immediate payment information (Credit Card) for the Zoo’s portion of the fees.  Your fees for Miami will be due to the Miami Bursar separately. Information about Miami’s fee payment can be located on their website after you have received your login information for your MyMiami online account.

Internships, Independent Study, and Foundations of Inquiry are only open to AIP graduate students. All students must have approval before registering for an Internship or Independent Study.

Please contact Mollie O’Neil if you have any questions or concerns about the registration process:

The Zoo Expedition Difference

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.

Taught by instructors from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and Miami University, each three-hour graduate course is designed to fit the needs of working teachers and informal educators, occurring on four Saturdays at the Zoo and throughout the semester on the web. Class meetings include traditional lecture, discussion seminars, and direct investigation of the Zoo’s wealth of animal and plant life. 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 learning community to discuss assignments, course readings, and semester-long research projects.

Course Details

 Registration links will appear here when the registration window is open. Check back soon!

For information, contact Mollie O’Neil mollie.oneil@cincinnatizoo.orgHurry! Classes fill fast!


Earth Expeditions

Earth Expeditions are 7-credit hour Graduate courses offered by Miami University and the Cincinnati Zoo that bring educators and scientists together at conservation hotspots in Africa, Australia, Central and South America, Asia and the Caribbean. 

 P1010107-300x225Travel to pivotal hotspots in Africa, Australia, Central and South America, Asia, the Caribbean, & Hawaii to engage in inquiry and action projects on vital issues in conservation. Build relationships with classroom teachers, information educators, and conservationists from around the world.

Earth Expeditions looks forward to its seventh year offering extraordinary opportunities for educators. This exciting program brings together the world-class wildlife conservation programs of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and the academic expertise of Miami University’s Project Dragonfly in inquiry-based learning. Our mission is to build an alliance of educators with first-hand knowledge of inquiry-driven, community-based learning for the benefit of ecological communities, student achievement, and global understanding.

How to Apply

All spots in our 2014 course schedule have now been filled, but applications for 2015 Earth Expedition courses will be accepted from September 2014 until January 28, 2015. For more information or to be placed on our mailing list, visit

Who’s Eligible?

Earth Expeditions courses are open to K-12 teachers, graduate students, school administrators, university faculty as well as educators from non-school settings such as environmental centers, businesses, youth programs, parks, museums or zoos. Applicants must be 18 years old or older and have a bachelor’s degree. Click here for more information about eligibility.

Earth Expedition Options

Courses provide direct study experiences at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden conservation sites in Africa, Australia, Central and South America, Asia, the Caribbean, and new in 2013 – Hawaii! Join cheetah conservation efforts in Namibia, explore neotropical ecology in Costa Rica or study reintroduced blue-and-gold macaws in Trinidad. Build relationships with educators around the world. Each participant earns seven graduate credits from Miami University at a significantly reduced tuition rate. Learn More>.