Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions

No. The selection committee is looking for a wide cross-section of people -- different levels of experience, different ages, different backgrounds.

Applicants will receive admission decision notifications via e-mail by March 15th.

Yes.  All of the coursework that is completed as part of the GFP Course of Study includes online interaction within Project Dragonfly’s Web-Based Learning Community, so all students will need a valid email address and reliable, regular access to the Internet.  While not required for admission, accepted students often find that possessing a basic familiarity with computer use and comfort with online tools and services is helpful in some of the project work completed throughout the program.  Keep in mind that if admitted, your peers, instructors, and Dragonfly’s staff members are all available for help and support.

Because the GFP involves taking web-based courses in addition to international field experiences, we currently have students across the nation as well as abroad. Also, as part of its support of Earth Expeditions, Miami University has waived all out-of-state tuition for Earth Expeditions courses, so tuition and course fees are the same regardless of where you live.

No. Miami University does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or veterans' status in its education programs, activities, admissions, or employment policies. All GFP applicants will be considered based on their application materials.

Coursework

The GFP will offer an Advanced Field option for each field site, allowing participants to take up to two courses in the same location during different years. For approval, you will need to submit a letter stating your goals to the Project Dragonfly Graduate Committee when requesting to your next Earth Expedition course. Taking the Advanced Field course will require specific educational objectives that clearly show how the opportunity to go to the same country twice will help you advance your program of study.

No. While you can take the same course twice within the Global Field Master’s Program, you cannot take two Earth Expeditions simultaneously. One of the objectives of the GFP is to not only provide content knowledge on inquiry, community-based global conservation and participatory education issues, but to also develop our students as whole people. Through journaling and other means, Earth Expeditioners are encouraged to reflect on their experiences at these key conservation sites and, upon returning home, take time to process what they’ve done and learned, internalize these lessons and then incorporate them into a more mindful way of being in the classroom, on the job and in the world generally. This takes time, and each Earth Expedition is unique in what you will take from it. Taking one Earth Expedition at a time allows the lessons and experiences of that place to settle and become part of who you are in the world.

GFP students are required to take a total of 21 credit hours centered around Earth Expeditions courses and a total of 14 credit hours of core web-based courses. You can find the GFP course of study and a list of required classes by year at http://gfp.miamioh.edu/course_of_study. All students are required to take one of two introductory field methods Earth Expeditions courses in their first year. In the following two summers, students rank their Earth Expeditions course selections, and we work hard to place them in one of their top three choices. We place more than 400 students every summer in our international courses, so, as you can imagine, ensuring everyone's first choice would be a difficult task. And while travel is an important and transformative part of the GFP, even more important is the collaborative change, environmental partnerships and connection that occurs in all of our Earth Expeditions courses. In addition to the fact that our students can live anywhere in the world and take our courses, the program's flexibility lies within a student's ability to self-direct each project he or she takes on within the framework of the course structure, to guide his or her own degree experience.

Yes.  Only one previous Earth Expeditions field course (7 credit hours) may be transferred toward your master's. For these credits to be considered towards your degree, you must have:
1) been accepted to the master's program.
2) participated in the GFP for at least one semester.
3) received a grade of “B” or better in your Earth Expeditions course.
4) completed both the summer field and fall "Inquiry & Action" components of your Earth Expeditions course for a total of 7 credit hours.
5) taken the course within 5 years of your projected graduation date for the master’s.
6) completed the Request to Dragonfly Graduate Committee form.

Note: No more than 7 credit hours total may be transferred into the GFP.  Categories may not be combined.

Only one previous iDiscovery course or Advanced Inquiry Program Master Institution-based course (up to 3 credit hours) may be transferred towards your master's. This course will replace one of the two Advanced Seminars in the program (Issues in Biodiversity or Issues in Evolution). Also, for these credits to be considered towards your degree, you must have:
1) been accepted to the master's program.
2) participated in the GFP for at least one semester.
3) received a grade of “B” or better in your transferred course.
4) registered for the course through Miami University.
5) taken the course within 5 years of the projected graduation date for the master’s.
6) completed the Request to Dragonfly Graduate Committee form.

Note: Only a single course up to a maximum of 7 credits total may be applied towards your master's program.

Possibly.  When transferring credits from the GFP at Miami University to other institutions, the receiving institution bears ultimate responsibility for the type and number of credits that may be transferred.

Field courses require a moderate amount of walking and similar (not excessive) activity.

Though many students will complete the degree in 2.5 years, they are not limited to this timeframe. However, the GFP must be completed within 5 years, consistent with Miami University Graduate School regulations.

Students complete a range of projects as they complete their degree work. For example, all students complete a Professional Media Workshop to prepare a manuscript or other media for a professional outlet. To see a list of published articles authored by our students, click here.

Application to the Program

The application process for the Global Field Program typically opens on or around September 1st of each year.  While applications are accepted through January 28, we encourage you to complete the Miami University Graduate School application portion of your Miami application by January 18.  Doing so will help ensure that all materials will be received and processed in a timely manner.  More information is on the Apply page at http://gfp.miamioh.edu/apply.

 

There are three simple steps. All three must be completed by the application deadline to become an eligible candidate for the GFP master’s.

For admission to the Graduate School as a degree candidate with regular standing, you must have earned a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75 (4.0 scale) at the institution awarding your bachelor’s degree.  Undergraduate course work taken after the completion of your bachelor’s degree will not be considered in determining your grade point average.  Please visit the Miami University Graduate School's Admissions page for more details.

Graduate School Application

Admissions Information:
Choose "Yes" that you are applying to a Graduate Degree Program.  Indicate that you plan to enroll in part-time study.

Have you previously attended Miami as a student?:
If you have taken any graduate class at Miami University (Earth Expeditions, Zoo Expeditions, and iDiscovery, are considered Miami graduate classes) check the YES box.

Taking a course for licensure or endorsement:
If you have selected the MAT as your degree program, please be aware that our MAT does NOT confer a teaching certification or a licensure. Neither does the MA.

Graduate admissions test:
No graduate admissions test scores are required for application to the GFP

Program Choice:
In the program choice section you may select either Biology (Master of Arts) or Biological Sciences (Master of Arts in Teaching).  Select Summer 2016 as your admission term.  Please note that you will NOT see "Global Field Program" or "GFP" listed here.

Additional Materials:
As part of your Graduate School application you will be required to upload the following (.doc, .docx, and .pdf are accepted file types):

- responses to two essay questions (limit of 250 words each):
1.  How have you translated professional opportunities, classes, or life experiences into your work?
2.  How do you think this experience will benefit your personal life, professional life, and your community?

- transcripts for each institution you have previously attended

- a copy of your résumé or CV

References:
Please provide the names, institutions, and email addresses for a minimum of two references who have agreed to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf in support of your Graduate School application.

While applications are accepted through January 28, we encourage you to complete the Graduate School application portion of your Miami application by January 18. Doing so will help ensure that all materials will be received and processed in a timely manner. Your AIP application and references are due February 28. More information is on the Apply page at http://gfp.miamioh.edu/apply.

Acceptance to the Program

Acceptance to the program is based on each applicant’s dossier and the merit of his or her application. The dossier includes: 1) the GFP Pre-application, 2) the Miami University Graduate School application form and transcripts, 3) two electronic letters of recommendations, and 4) the Earth Expeditions application form which includes two essays related to the master’s degree and an applicant’s CV/resume.

For FAQs on the Earth Expeditions program, please visit: www.EarthExpeditions.org/faqs

Yes. When you complete your Graduate School application, you must upload unofficial copies of your academic transcripts to your application. Applicants who are offered admission must then submit official copies of their transcripts to Miami University's Graduate School before the end of their first semester of study.  You will need a transcript for each degree and/or stand alone course that you list on your M.U. Graduate School application form.  Please be sure the transcript(s) you upload include your name, the name of the academic institution, the courses you have taken, the grade received in each course, and the dates of attendance.  Transcripts documenting your bachelor's degree must show the degree earned and your final cumulative grade point average.

Requirements

No. You don’t need to take the GRE.

Yes. You will be prompted to submit two recommendations as part of the Miami University Graduate School application.

Costs

Costs are subject to change, but we endeavor to keep costs down for all participants.

The GFP carries the same tuition rate for out-of-state and international participants as it does for in-state participants.

To qualify for federal student loans and to defer federal student loans, a student must be enrolled half-time (at least five credit hours for graduate students) in an academic term. Under the current GFP credit hour configuration, first-year GFP students register for 7 hours in the summer, 2 hours in the fall, and 4 hours in the spring -- enough credit hours for a student to be enrolled half-time for part of the year, but not enough credit hours to maintain half-time status for the entire academic year. Here are the current financial aid options available to GFP students:

During the summer when GFP students enroll in a 7-credit hour course, they can apply for a federal student loan by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is possible that they may be granted a federal loan in an amount that would cover most expenses for the 2.5- to 3-year GFP program. Also, at any time during the GFP experience, any student may apply for loans from private financial institutions. More information can be found at http://miamioh.edu/admission/finaid/graduate/loans/index.html

All students who take out federal student loans qualify for only one six-month deferment for each particular loan. GFP students who have not previously used their one-time, six-month deferment are able to defer federal loans beginning in the summer that they are enrolled in a 7-hour course. Students are not currently able to defer loans for the entirety of the 2.5- to 5-year GFP program. GFP students who have already used their six-month grace period would only be eligible for another six-month grace period on any new loans that have been borrowed.

Miscellaneous

As a feature of this program, students join the MA/MAT team and instructors in Dragonfly Workshops' Web-Based Learning Community. For an overview of the web platform, visit www.DragonflyWorkshops.org.

Brief biographies about each of our core faculty members teaching the summer Earth Expeditions are available online on the Earth Expeditions Faculty webpage.

Additionally, faculty, mentors and facilitators from premier institutions in the United States and abroad support GFP students thought their coursework and the development of their Master Plans.  Biographies of these additional faculty members may be found on the Web-Based Learning Community Faculty webpage.

It depends. Each state has different requirements for certification. Please check with your State Department of Education or your local university's College of Education or similar department to find out the details for your area.

Both the AIP and GFP seek to create an alliance of professionals who use inquiry and other forms of participatory education to improve human and ecological communities. Both programs support collaborative engagement. Both are based on the premise that "making a difference" should be woven into the fabric of education--through practice. This practice (which is astonishingly rare in conventional educational settings) requires expanding learning beyond the classroom, tackling real-world issues, and supporting shared knowledge creation and shared action.  So in terms of their approach, both programs have much in common.
 
However, the AIP and GFP differ fundamentally in their focus.  The GFP is clearly globally focused and includes primary and intensive learning experiences abroad.  The AIP is locally focused with primary and intensive learning experiences in communities where AIP Master Institutions are located.
 
The distinction goes deeper however, because it is not based on academic content alone: the fundamental delivery system, settings, partnerships, and social networks differ as well.  It is the AIP Master Institutions themselves, the learning experiences and the community-connections they create, that distinguish the AIP from the GFP.  The AIP degree is a multi-institutional construct that will be shaped in ways that are not possible through the GFP, shaped by the unique mission, history, social value, resources, and people of each AIP Master Institution.   The AIP degree creates a national network of AIP Master Institutions, allowing for direct cross-fertilization of ideas and practices.  The AIP is not only provides a "local curriculum," it is a uniquely co-owned national experiment, one with considerable potential to create partnerships and cross-training, and to evolve as more successful pedagogical variations are assessed and communicated across participating institutions over time.

Student Disability Services (SDS) at Miami University provides a number of reasonable accommodations and resources to support Dragonfly master's students who have disabilities. To learn more visit Miami's Student Disability Services website.

Because the AIP and GFP are designed for working professionals, many students and grads stay in their position but change the nature of their work, or create a new position within the same institution. Others use their master’s experience to become more highly qualified for new careers and jobs at other places. The students and jobs span a range of arenas, including formal education, nonprofit, government, and business. Project Dragonfly graduate students include professionals working in conservation organizations, non-profits, businesses, parks, government agencies, schools and more. Because our students are so diverse, interactions among all of our grad students often lead to new ideas for implementing conservation education programs locally and globally.

In large part, students drive their own master’s experience through projects they design, so where a student ends up depends on where he or she wants to go. But students also develop specific content knowledge and skills in biodiversity threats and conservation, evolution, community engagement, inquiry-based education, science writing and publishing, and leadership, among many others. These skills can be beneficial in a current work environment or help prepare a master’s student for a new career. Both the AIP and the GFP provide students with academic preparation in the life sciences, innovative research experiences, and opportunities to generate and apply knowledge in diverse community contexts.

Based on the information that has been shared with us by Miami University’s “H.O.M.E.” (Housing Options, Meals and Events) office, which issues student ID cards, the deciding factor as to whether or not a GFP student may receive a student ID card from Miami is whether or not the card serves a functional purpose to the student on campus (e.g. door access, pay for print, vending sales, etc.)  If any student in the program will need to utilize services on campus, then the issuance of a Miami University photo ID is certainly possible.  But if the card would not fulfill a functional need on campus for the student, a card will not be issued.  For non-official purposes (reduced rates at conferences, organizational membership at the student level, etc.), Project Dragonfly can prepare a letter for you that verifies your enrollment and standing in the master's program.  Enrollment verification for official purposes (such as student loan deferment) must be obtained through the National Student Clearinghouse - please see http://miamioh.edu/onestop/your-records/academic-records/enrollment-verification/index.html for instructions and information.

No.  The MAT degree option is designed for you if 1) you are certified to teach, 2) you have an academic degree in education or education related field (i.e., bachelor's or master's), or 3) you have an interest in education or have taught, teach, or plan to teach in a k-12 school or informal education setting. This master's program is not intended to lead to educator certification.  Educators are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Global Field Program master's students select from two degree options: either an MA in Biology or an MAT in the Biological Sciences.  In terms of the course of study, there is very little difference between the two.  MA and MAT candidates go through the Global Field Program together, and while those who do not currently hold a teaching license are generally advised to select the MA program, which option an applicant normally chooses seems to be largely based on his or her academic background and/or current profession or professional objectives (please also see "Does the MAT degree also include teaching licensure?" above). 
 
Generally, students working toward a Master of Arts (MA) should integrate biologically focused projects while those working on a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) may have a focus on education. The program is self-directed and, in large part, projects are a result of the specific audience, your efforts, and your own personal and professional goals in the program. The big-picture difference between the two degrees is that fulfillment of project assignments for an MAT may include exploration of the biological sciences through lesson plans and work with student populations as your audience. However, for the MA, graduate students are asked to focus on zoological conservation and life science projects outside of the typical lesson plan, curriculum or traditional classroom experience.That said, overlap between the disciplines of biology and education is also encouraged and expected in this program. The main expectation is that you will be deliberate about aligning your degree, Master Plan, and professional goals in ways that make sense for you.
 

Miami University’s Project Dragonfly has partnered with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to expand AZA’s professional development opportunities. In March 2013, Project Dragonfly and Miami became an official AZA Learning Partner. Now, a suite of Dragonfly’s graduate courses count toward earning a Certificate in AZA’s Professional Development Program. The Certificate program organizes training opportunities into concentrations, such as behavioral husbandry, conservation and research, and education and interpretation. Dragonfly courses that count toward an AZA Certificate are noted at www.EarthExpeditions.org and by contacting individual AIP Master Institutions.

Zoo and aquarium professionals looking for additional training opportunities may visit the AZA’s website to learn more about additional courses, webinars, and conferences that can help enrich their careers. Interested professionals can learn more at http://www.aza.org/professional-development/.