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Jacksonville Zoo Launching Master’s Degree With Miami University Of Ohio

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Graduate students will be doing on-location learning at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens as part of a new master's program.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and Miami University are accepting applications for a new master’s degree centered on improving local communities and ecosystems.

The degree is aimed at Jacksonville-area graduate students by combining online Miami University coursework with on-location learning at the zoo and doing fieldwork. The program is designed for working professionals and can be completed in as little as two-and-a-half years, the zoo said in a news release. 

Miami University was established in Oxford, Ohio, in 1809. The online coursework will be taught by a Miami University instructor, with two-thirds of the Advanced Inquiry Program led by experts at the zoo. The coursework includes experimental learning, local conservation and students' designing their own hands-on investigations.

“The AIP will not only provide local Jacksonville residents with an affordable master’s degree, but this unique program will equip them to make strides toward a more sustainable future in our Jacksonville community and beyond,” said Miami University Director of Education Leanne White in an email to WJCT News.

Students will also have the option to take one of Project Dragonfly’s Earth Expeditions courses to apply toward their master’s degree. The Earth Expeditions field courses offer learning experiences at conservation and education hot spots in Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas, on topics such as human-wildlife interactions in Kenya, orangutan conservation in Borneo and Buddhism and conservation in Thailand.

Project Dragonfly was started in 1995 as an education reform initiative funded by the National Science Foundation.

Applications are being accepted online, with courses beginning in May 2020. The program is open to anyone with a bachelor’s degree, regardless of concentration.