Current Student Information

Dates and Deadlines


January 29, 2024 - Spring Semester Begins

February 28, 2024 - Applications DUE for Cohort 2024

March 1, 2024 - Summer Registration Opens

May 10, 2024 - Spring Semester Classes End

May 11, 2024 - New Student Orientation for Cohort 2024

May 18, 2024 - Miami University Commencement Ceremony in Oxford, OH

May 21, 2024 - Summer Semester Begins

June 1, 2024 - Fall Registration Opens

June 13-16, 2024 - Foundations of Inquiry (BIO 654) Intensive - Required Dates

August 9, 2024 - Summer Semester Classes End

August 26, 2024 - Fall Semester Begins

November 1, 2024 - Spring Registration Opens

December 6, 2024 - Fall Semester Classes End

December 13, 2024 - Miami University Commencement Ceremony in Oxford, OH

January 2025 - WCS-AIP Graduation Event at the Bronx Zoo (TBD)



Spring 2024 Elective W+ Courses and In-Person Dates

Ecophysiology: Biomimicry - BIO 658

3 credits, Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 2/3, 2/11,3/5, 4/7, 5/4 Note: All sessions will take place at the Bronx Zoo, except 2/3, which will take place at the New York Aquarium.

Students in this course will explore the ways in which humans can (and do) emulate systems and designs found in nature to create materials, medicines, social systems, computers and so much more. Students will fine tune their observation skills and complete a design challenge using nature as their guide. Through this course, students will develop their observation and collaboration skills and will acquire research experience in the life sciences on such topics as the principles of ecophysiology, form and function of organismal adaptations, phenotypic and behavioral plasticity, and maintenance of homeostasis. Students will think critically and scientifically about the ways in which nature can benefit humankind through technological inspiration and solutions to environmental problems. Students will apply what they have learned as they develop curricula and create design challenges for professional use. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Acquire research experience in the Life Sciences, e.g., on the principles of ecophysiology, form and function of organismal adaptations, phenotypic and behavioral plasticity, maintenance of homeostasis, and more.
  • Investigate how organisms respond to abiotic variables such as temperature, sunlight, altitude, water depth, and salinity.
  • Think critically and scientifically about the ways in which nature can benefit humankind through technological inspiration and solutions to environmental problems.
  • Develop curricular or other learning resources for professional use.
  • Engage in reflective and evaluative peer review in face-to-face environments and on the web to provide colleagues with personal insight, new perspectives or analyses, ideas for useful applications, and connections to other research and projects.Develop and expand a focused plan or strategy that includes a timeline for conducting anticipated projects.

Summer 2024 Required W+ Courses and In-Person Dates

Foundations of Inquiry – BIO 654

Required Summer #1 - 3 credits, Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 5/28, 6/13, 6/14, 6/15, 6/16, 7/18, 7/30 Note: There are no excused absences from the June dates. All sessions will take place at the Bronx Zoo.

This course will engage participants in exploring the foundations of inquiry-based learning and teaching while gaining a new familiarity with the Bronx Zoo as an informal science education setting, and with the AIP learning model and online platform. This course will guide students through making observations on zoo grounds, and using those observations as a foundation for completing an independent scientific inquiry project. Participants will further learn how to guide this process with others and how to apply these skills for use in their communities or classrooms to create change and become local leaders. This type of first-hand, experiential learning encourages independent and critical thinking, increasing awareness and concern for the local environment and its inhabitants. We will engage in activities that demonstrate the universal applicability of inquiry in a wide range of settings. Participants will come away with information and techniques for utilizing inquiry in their AIP journey and beyond. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Construct an understanding of the nature of science, and investigate models of inquiry in the life sciences
  • Create and conduct their own field research projects
  • Engage in reflective and evaluative peer review

Master Plan in Action – BIO 655

Required Summer #2 – 1 credit, Pass/Fail

In-Person Dates: 5/23, 6/4, 6/20, 6/27, 7/2, 7/11, 7/23 Note: All sessions will be at the Bronx Zoo.

The AIP Master Plan (MP) represents a student’s ideas and areas of interest as those ideas relate to the student’s professional and community goals. By writing a Master Plan, students are able to focus their AIP journey and visualize the actions and steps that they might take toward completing their master’s degree. During this course, with guidance and input from peers and the AIP Cohort advisors, students work on completing their Master Plans. This method ensures that students have a workable plan that helps them anticipate ways to incorporate the projects they create as part of their AIP experiences into their professional and life goals. Students will also think about the common threads and program tenets which tie together the projects in their AIP journey, and that ultimately becomes their final master’s ePortfolio -- the culminating experience at the end of their degree. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop and expand a focused plan or strategy that includes a timeline for conducting anticipated projects
  • Examine, critique, and apply relevant research methodologies
  • Conduct critical peer-review of colleague’s work
  • Use networking and outreach to elevate the outcomes of the Master Plan
  • Begin developing a cohesive body of work for inclusion in ePortfolio

Environmental Stewardship in My Community - BIO 656

Required Summer #3 – 3 credits, Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 6/1, 6/8, 6/30, 7/14, 7/28, 8/4 Note: Sessions will take place at partner organizations in New York City (or within close proximity) or at the Bronx Zoo. Students will be responsible for travel to/from these sites.

Participants will investigate and participate in conservation opportunities and solutions in their local communities, practice inquiry-based learning, develop a conservation project to be used in their community or classroom, and reflect on their ecological footprint. At the end of this course, participants have a solid understanding of current issues facing local habitats and strategies for empowering their community or students to generate solutions and take action. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Use inquiry to drive learning in science and integrated topics
  • Explore the principles of sustainability and community-based conservation
  • Use local community resources, including WCS facilities, as learning resources
  • Investigate local conservation issues to understand causes and impacts; analyze solutions to these issues
  • Develop strategies for engaging students or community members in conservation action

Summer 2024 Elective W+ Course and In-Person Dates

Global Biomes - BIO 699

3 credits, Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 5/30, 6/9, 6/16, 6/29, 7/13, 7/25 Note: All sessions will take place at the Bronx Zoo, except 6/9, which will take place at the New York Aquarium.

This course serves as an introduction to the biomes, species and cultures connected with WCS’s global work. Participants will use WCS parks as a laboratory to explore and understand a wide variety of landscapes, and plant and animal adaptations to these ecoregions. Participants will also explore strategies for engaging in inquiry investigations with species, habitats and conservation. Participants will gain insights into WCS conservation areas of focus and learn what makes these areas biologically unique. Participants will also engage in discussions about the political, economic and cultural climates of these areas and explore how these factors shape and determine WCS’s conservation strategies. Participants will examine and discuss the long-term impacts that WCS strives to achieve in these areas. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand how relationship between species and their habitats are the importance of biological diversity.
  • Investigate climate patterns and plant/animal adaptations characteristic of different biomes.
  • Use wildlife on zoo grounds to investigate wildlife of select biomes.
  • Explore current reseaerch and conservation issues relevant to different landscapes
  • Develop an action plan designed to engage your audience in taking conservation action that will minimize negative human impacts on a select species or biomes.

Fall 2024 Elective W+ Course and In-Person Dates

Project Design & Assessment - BIO 663

3 credits, Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 9/7, 9/19, 9/24, 10/6, 11/2, 12/3 Note: All sessions will take place at the Bronx Zoo.

This course instructs students about one of the most important scientific endeavors: evaluation to indicate whether their own work or the work of others is showing a trend and, thus, having an impact. The course is focused on two main sets of evaluation, natural science and social science studies. The course will review statistical thinking and discuss how to construct successful studies that will open students to accurate and effective evaluation. We will discuss how to choose between different statistical tests and the consequences for their experimental design. Students will be engaged in the different ways researchers and others apply statistics to natural science and social science studies. Students conducting social science research will determine whether to conduct qualitative or quantitative studies and will parse out the differences and values of each approach.This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Engage with each other to interpret introductory statistical theory and assess statistical tests for their usefulness given different experimental models in a hypothesis testing format
  • Design, conduct, and analyze a research project using appropriate experiential design and statistical analysis
  • Evaluate, choose, and justify statistical tests based on sound experimental design
  • Propose appropriate assessment techniques for a diversity of natural science and social science projects
  • Engage the differences between qualitative and quantitative data collection efforts, and reflect on the appropriate analyses for a study question
  • Interpret, represent, and communicate evaluation products to the public and peers
  • Employ community resources, including the AIP site's environment, and outreach to create connections and use the network as a learning resource
  • Engage in reflective and evaluative peer review in face-to-face environments and on the web to provide colleagues with personal insight, new perspectives or analysis, ideas for useful applications, and connections to other reserach and projects.

Climate Change - BIO 628

3 credits, Letter Grade

In-Person Dates: 8/31, 9/8, 9/28, 10/27, 11/14 Note: All sessions will take place at Central Park Zoo.

Global warming is irrevocably altering our polar ice caps, our oceans, our forests, and the world’s plant and animal life. In this course, participants study the science of climate change, the diverse causes of climate change, and the impact of climate change at local, regional, and global scales. Topics include global warming’s effect on weather and climate, ice caps, deforestation, and species conservation. Because the public plays a central role in how the world responds to climate change, students also investigate the factors that guide public perception, ranging from media to social interaction. Students explore the effect of climate change specific to the biology of their local region and consider what actions they and their communities can take locally. Through project assignments and research, at the end of this course participants not only have a solid understanding of current issues surrounding climate change but will also have considered and developed strategies for taking action. This is a Miami University online course with experiential learning on-site at an affiliated Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) institution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Engage with each other and with experts in the field to investigate and interpret global climate change issues.
  • Critically analyze primary research on the causes, impacts, and proposed solutions to climate change.
  • Evaluate methods by which public perception is formed and consider and critique the polling process, including national and international media and social interaction.
  • Gain an understanding of climate change and global warming as a field of study locally and assess how to apply the tools of conservation science in their own communities.
  • Become more proficient employing local resources, including the AIP Master Institution environment, exhibits, and community partnerships, to increase public engagement in climate change issues.
  • Engage in reflective and evaluative peer review in face-to-face environments and on the web to provide colleagues with personal insight, new perspectives or analyses, ideas for useful applications, and connections to other research and projects.

WCS AIP Internship Program

WCS AIP students have exclusive access to the WCS AIP Internship Program. Please contact tchudoba@wcs.org or wcsaip@wcs.org if you would like to find out more information.

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