Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions

Yes.  All of the coursework that is completed as part of the course of study occurs online within Dragonfly Workshops, Project Dragonfly’s web-based learning community, so all students will need regular access to a computer and 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 of the field- and web-based nature of the Global Field Program, provided they have regular access to a computer and an Internet connection, our students can live literally anywhere in the world, so you can earn your master's degree with the GFP from your home state or country!  Furthermore, program costs are the same for all GFP students regardless of citizenship or state/country of residence.

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

No. Miami University is committed to providing equal opportunity and an educational and work environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, or veteran status. Miami shall adhere to all applicable state and federal equal opportunity/affirmative action statutes and regulations. All applicants will be considered based on their application materials.

Coursework

Yes.  One previous Earth Expeditions field course (7 credit hours) may be transferred toward your master's. For these credits to be applicable toward your GFP degree requirements, 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, earning 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 of Earth Expeditions courses, and no more than 11 credit hours total, may be transferred into the master's program.

Yes.  Up to 7 credit hours of previously taken AIP Web+ classes may be transferred towards your master's.  Students wishing to transfer 7 credit hours or more of AIP Web+ courses may use them to replace one Earth Expeditions course.  Students with fewer than 7 credit hours of AIP Web+ courses may use them to replace BIO 633 Issues in Biodiversity*.  For these credits to be applicable toward your GFP degree requirements, 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(s).

4) registered for the course(s) through Miami University.

5) taken the course(s) within 5 years of the projected graduation date for the master’s.

6) completed the Request to Dragonfly Graduate Committee form.

Note: No more than 7 credit hours of AIP Web+ classes, and no more than 11 credit hours total, can be transferred into the GFP.

* Students who can demonstrate that they have previously completed a course on evolutionary theory may also have the option of replacing BIO 634 Issues in Evolution.

Yes.  BIO 631 Conservation Science & Community (2 credit hours) and BIO 633 Issues in Biodiversity (2 credit hours) are the only Core Courses that may be taken outside of the degree program and subsequently transferred towards your master's degree requirements. These credits count toward the 14 credit hours of required Core Courses. For these credits to be applicable toward your degree requirements, 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 the course.

4) taken the course within 5 years of your projected graduation date for the master’s.

5) completed the Request to Dragonfly Graduate Committee form.

Note: No more than 4 credit hours of Core Courses, and no more than 11 credit hours total, may be transferred into the 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.

GFP students are required to take three Earth Expeditions courses for a total of 21 credit hours and 14 credit hours of Core Courses, which take place exclusively within the Dragonfly Workshops web-based learning community. 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, foundational 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.

No. While GFP students may take the same course twice through the Advanced Field course option, you cannot take two Earth Expeditions within the same summer. 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, students in Earth Expeditions courses 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 Expeditions course 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.

The GFP offers an Advanced Field course option for each Earth Expeditions field site, allowing students to take 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.

For the Earth Expeditions courses that GFP students take as part of their course of study, students must be in good health and be able to sustain moderate physical activity. Walking and spending many hours outside should be expected during your field experience. If you have been living a somewhat sedentary lifestyle, we suggest that you begin moderate exercise at least two months before departing on your Earth Expeditions course: walking or hiking is perfect; include a range of flat and hilly terrain in your training. It's a good idea to walk with a daypack as you will almost always have daily supplies with you during the course.

While most Earth Expeditions are not continuously physically strenuous, they are active.  There will be physical activity every day: swimming in shallow or deeper water while snorkeling, or hiking, sometimes in steep or rugged terrain. If your body is conditioned to this type of exercise, you will have more stamina and be better able to fully enjoy your surroundings and take in the educational opportunities on the trail. Depending on the Earth Expeditions location, environmental factors such as heat, humidity, and altitude can impact your mental and physical capacities. Being physically prepared will help you handle these challenges with a spirit of adventure. Rest assured, students from their 20s to their 70s have participated fully in Earth Expeditions courses.

Although most students generally complete the degree in 2.5 to 3 years, because of varying and individual circumstances some students may need to take longer, which is fine. Per Miami University Graduate School requirements, all master's level students must complete their requirements for the master's degree by December 31 of their fifth year of study; in other words, a student admitted in 2020 has until December 31, 2025 to complete the degree requirements.

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 your references have time to complete your letters of recommendation and 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.

 

Application components include:

1) submission of the pre-application
2) creation and completion of your account in "My Project Dragonfly"
3) submission of the Miami University Graduate School application, which includes submission of unofficial transcripts, responses to two essay questions, an upload of one's CV/résumé, and two letters of recommendation.

More information on each of these three steps is located on the program "Apply" webpage.

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 2020 as your admission term.  Please note that you will NOT see "Global Field Program" or "Advanced Inquiry Program" 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.  The Graduate School application will allow you to list the name and e-mail address of a third reference, but only two letters of recommendation are required to complete your application package.

While applications are accepted through January 28 for the GFP and February 28 for the AIP, we encourage you to complete the Graduate School application portion of your Miami application by January 18 (GFP) or February 18 (AIP). Doing so will help ensure that our references have time to complete your letters of recommendation and that all materials will be received and processed in a timely manner.

Yes. When you complete your Graduate School application, you must upload unofficial copies of academic transcripts for each degree and/or stand alone course that you list in the "Academic Information" section of your application.

Applicants who are offered admission must then submit official copies of their transcripts to the Miami University's Graduate School before the end of their first semester of study.  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.

Accepted applicants may have official copies of their transcripts submitted electronically to applygrad@miamioh.edu. Hard copies should be sent to:

The Graduate School
Miami University
102 Roudebush Hall
501 E. High Street
Oxford, Ohio 45056 USA

Yes.  As part of the Miami University Graduate School application you will be prompted to 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.  The application will allow you to list the name and e-mail address of a third reference, but only two letters of recommendation are required to complete your application package.

Once you have submitted your Graduate School application and paid the application fee, an automated email containing a direct link to the recommendation system will be generated and sent to each of your references.  When your references login, they will access an applicant-specific recommendation form that is pre-populated with your name, email address, and target degree, and they will be prompted to:

• share their contact details and information on how they know you;
• rate you on a series of characteristics and attributes; and
• upload a letter of recommendation.

To check on the status of a letter of recommendation, you may login to your student application portal and select "Manage your Account." You will see your recommenders' names listed and their status.

No. You don’t need to take the GRE.

For admission to the Miami University 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.

Yes.  While the Miami University Graduate School requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 in order for an applicant to be offered regular graduate admission, individual departments do have the opportunity to petition for conditional admission for applicants whose cumulative GPAs are below this threshold if they are otherwise impressed by the applicant’s qualifications and credentials.  While not a required part of the application package, low-GPA applicants may send a personal statement addressing any factors affecting their prior academic history to the Project Dragonfly Graduate Committee for their consideration.  Personal statements may be sent to Connie Malone at malonecm@miamioh.edu.

Please note that petitions for conditional admission are unlikely to be considered if the applicant's GPA is below 2.5.

Because of the field- and web-based nature of the Global Field Program, provided they have regular access to a computer and an Internet connection, our students can live literally anywhere in the world, so you can earn your GFP master's degree with us from your home country!  Non-U.S. citizens would complete the International Application to the Miami University Graduate School; additional application materials/requirements include:

• Proof of English language proficiency through submission of TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores.  Applicants who have earned a degree from a country where English is the official language are exempt from submitting proof of English proficiency.

• Proof of having earned at least a 4-year U.S.-equivalent bachelor's degree.

• Records submitted as part of the Graduate School application process that are issued in a language other than English must be accompanied by a literal certified English translation.

Because international GFP students participate in the program from their home countries, financial and other immigration documents are not required for application.

Program costs are the same for all GFP students, regardless of citizenship or state/country of residence.

Yes!  If you would like to be considered for admission to both the Global Field Program and the Advanced Inquiry Program, please:

1. Complete a Pre-Application for each program (Step 1 on the GFP "Apply" webpage and the AIP "Apply" webpage).
2. Create and complete two accounts in “My Project Dragonfly” using the program-specific links in Step 2 on the GFP "Apply" webpage and the AIP "Apply" webpage. You will need to use two different e-mail addresses, one for each account.
3. Send an email message to GFP_Masters@miamioh.edu stating that it is your intention to apply to both programs.  Please also share with us which program would be your first choice.

NOTE: You do NOT need to complete two Graduate School applications (Step 3 on each "Apply" page); a single application will suffice since both degree options (MA in Biology and MAT in the Biological Sciences) are available through both the GFP and the AIP.

No. It is okay if you have not taken an undergraduate biology course (or its equivalent). This will not affect your application/acceptance to the master's program.  All applicants, regardless of their academic background will be considered.

However, satisfactory completion of one college-level life science course (e.g., general biology, general ecology, etc.) or its equivalent is required to complete the master's degree. If you are accepted into the program and you have not met this requirement, you will be notified and can then enroll in a biology course during your master's studies to fulfill the requirement. Dragonfly offers a web-based course, Biology through Inquiry, that fulfills this requirement.  Details and additional information on the biology course requirement are available at:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Biology Course Requirement for Project Dragonfly Master's Programs.

Acceptance to the Program

Acceptance to the master's program is based on each applicant’s application materials and the merit of his or her application.

Admission decision notifications are sent to all applicants with completed application packages, regardless of decision, by:

• March 15 for applicants to the Global Field Program
• April 15 for applicants to the Advanced Inquiry Program

Admission decisions are sent by email to the email address you used to create your "My Project Dragonfly" account.

 

Costs

Prices are subject to annual budget approval and are subject to change.  We work with Miami University to keep costs down for all participants.

The AIP and the GFP carry the same tuition rate for out-of-state students as for in-state students. Learn more about costs at each program's respective "Costs" page:

AIP: http://aip.miamioh.edu/costs

GFP: https://gfp.miamioh.edu/cost

To qualify for federal student loans and to defer federal student loans, a degree-seeking student must be enrolled half-time (at least five credit hours at the graduate level) in an academic term. Under the current Course of Study/credit hour configuration, this means that many, but not all, semesters’ registration and enrollment can be managed in order to hit this mark.

During terms in which master's students are enrolled for 5 or more credit hours, 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 program. Also, at any time during the master's experience, any student may apply for loans from private financial institutions. More information can be found at https://miamioh.edu/onestop/grad-students/other-assistance/index.html#/.

All students who take out federal student loans qualify for only one six-month deferment for each particular loan.  Students who have not previously used their one-time, six-month deferment are able to defer federal loans beginning in the term in which they are enrolled half-time.  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.

Please see Project Dragonfly Financial Aid Information for additional details.

 

Miscellaneous

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, affiliations, and social networks differ as well. It is the AIP Master Institutions themselves, the experiential 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 affiliate. The AIP degree creates a national network of AIP Master Institutions, allowing for direct cross-fertilization of ideas and practices. The AIP not only provides a "local curriculum," it is a unique national experiment, one with considerable potential to create collaborations and cross-training, and to evolve as more successful pedagogical variations are assessed and communicated across participating institutions over time.

An integral feature of both the Advanced Inquiry Program and the Global Field Program is collaborative work and interaction with peers and instructors that takes place within Dragonfly Workshops, the web-based platform that provides the online space for all the courses and workshops you'll engage in as a master's student. Every workshop joins students with members of the MA/MAT team, including course instructors, facilitiators, and advisers. For an overview of the web platform, please visit www.DragonflyWorkshops.org.

Advanced Inquiry Program and 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 little difference between the two.  MA and MAT candidates go through the program together, oftentimes in the same classes. And while those who do not currently hold a teaching license are generally advised to select the MA program, which option an applicant chooses is 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?"). 

Generally, students working toward a Master of Arts (MA) 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.

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.

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.

Photographs and brief biographies about each of our core team members — our instructors, facilitators, advisers, directors, staff and partners — are available on Project Dragonfly's Team webpage.

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.

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 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.

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/.

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.