WCS and the AIP

WCS/Bronx Zoo is one of a select group of AIP sites in the United States. The AIP is an online master’s degree created by Project Dragonfly, which is located in the Biology Department at Miami University. A state university in Oxford, Ohio, Miami was established in 1809 and is listed as one of the eight original Public Ivies. The university has a long and distinguished record of excellence in research and teaching in science and education.

Degrees & Delivery

Applicants elect to enroll in either a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in the Biological Sciences or a Master of Arts (MA) in Biology from Miami University. MA and MAT candidates go through the AIP together.

All AIP courses are delivered online by a Miami University instructor. Two-thirds of AIP courses also include up to five days (or equivalent) per course of experiential learning and field study opportunities on grounds at the Bronx Zoo, other WCS parks, or at sites across the greater NYC area.

Note: The MAT program does not confer a teaching license or certification.


AIP Master's students earn a minimum of 35 total credit hours: 21 credit hours of AIP Web+ (or W+) courses that combine web-based instruction with experiential learning on-site at WCS facilities and other locations in the greater NYC area and 14 credit hours of AIP Core Courses that occur on the web.

The WCS AIP program includes 7 credits of required W+ courses over three consecutive summers: Foundations of Inquiry, Master Plan in Action and Environmental Stewardship in My Community. In the first summer, students learn how to apply the tenets of inquiry to their own learning by conducting their own semester long inquiry investigation. In summer two, students work to fully craft their Master Plan - a personalized, designed and driven structured focus for their degree, targeting their methods for making a meaningful contribution to conservation change during the AIP and beyond. The final required course during summer three, students create programming that fosters environmental stewardship in others, towards the objective of their Master Plan.

Learn more about students' Master Plans.

Photo Credit: Jeff Morey ©WCS

For the remaining 14 AIP Web+ credits students can choose from a suite of elective courses that meet their interests and Master Plan goals. Recent and upcoming electives include Animal Behavior & Conservation, Urban Ecology, and Conservation Psychology.

Download the full Course Catalog and Scope & Sequence here.

Students also complete 14 credits of required Project Dragonfly Core Courses in topics including:

  • Conservation Science and Community
  • Biology in the Age of Technology
  • Issues in Evolution
  • Science Leadership & Media Workshop
  • Master's Capstone
Photo Credit: Jeff Morey ©WCS

Students have the opportunity to experience international field work by participating in a 5 credit Earth Expedition, in locations such as Brazil, the Galapagos, Thailand, India and Kenya -for more information on Earth Expeditions visit https://www.earthexpeditions.org.

Also offered are online graduate credit hours that include a WCS internship exclusively for AIP students that offers the opportunity to work alongside WCS staff and gain valuable practical experience. Recent AIP interns have worked with the WCS GIS team, developed sustainable seafood programming with the WCS Seascapes Team, and created and led teacher trainings with the WCS Professional Development team.

This program is designed for working professionals - all W+ experiential learning on-site is conducted weekday evenings or on the weekends. Coursework can be completed in as little at 2 1/2 years, or the program can be extended to accommodate personal and professional obligations.

Estimated Cost

Miami University offers substantially reduced tuition for all AIP courses and waives all out of state tuition fees. The entire degree can be completed for as little as $18,550. Course costs are subject to change.

Download an estimated tuition breakdown here.

For more information about the WCS-AIP program please email: wcsaip@wcs.org

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