Graduate Courses

Why not make the Zoo (or the world) your campus?

Zoo Expedition Courses

Zoo Expeditions (ZE) are graduate courses taught on grounds at the Zoo, accredited by Miami University (Oxford). Through a partnership with Project Dragonfly, we proudly bring you exciting, inquiry-driven topics ranging from animal behavior and plant ecology to evolution.

This suite of courses merge the academic expertise of Miami University’s Project Dragonfly 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 have a full master’s degree program at the Zoo? Check out the Advanced Inquiry Program!

Current courses include:

Summer – Register from March 1st-30th

  • 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 – Register from June 1st-30th

  • 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 – Register from October 1st-30th

  • Barrows Conservation Lecture 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 email you with an additional CZBG registration link that is also required in order to secure your spot in the course.

Your placement in the course is not confirmed until you have completed Miami CGS admission and both Dragonfly and Zoo registrations.  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, 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.

For the 2016-2017 academic year, Miami’s tuition charge is estimated at $198/credit hour and CZBG’s tuition charge is estimated at $130/credit hour.

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.


aip2By 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 Zoo, Miami University, program alumni, and community experts, each course includes traditional lecture, discussion seminars, group work, 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-based learning community to discuss assignments, course readings, and semester-long research projects.

More Info?

Please contact Jerran Orwig, Advanced Inquiry Program Manager, if you have any questions about the program and/or registration process: [email protected].