High School Marine Biology Program (HSMB)

Program Overview
So you want to be a marine biologist, but aren’t sure where to start? We’ve got the answer with Shedd Aquarium’s High School Marine Biology Program. First, go behind the scenes at Shedd and work with Shedd experts to learn about unique Bahamian flora and fauna, research techniques and important environmental issues. Then travel to the Bahamas and live aboard Shedd’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II. While at sea you’ll experience life as a marine science researcher, immersing yourself in discoveries by conducting your own research and developing solutions to important Bahamian ecological challenges. Dive in and apply now!

Environmental education programs are powered in part by support from Exelon.


The application period for High School Marine Biology 2015 is now closed. Please check back in December 2015 for 2016 applications. 

Age and Requirements

High school teens (minimum of 14 years old). Must permanently reside in Illinois or immediately surrounding states. Must have completed one year of high school science before program.

Program Dates

2015 dates:
Orientation April 30
Pre-trip June 22-26
Trips July 1-8 or July 11-18
Post-trip July 29-31
End-of-summer teen event August 4

Program cost

2015 Rate: $1,895 a person


Full and partial scholarships are available based on family financial need. Apply during program registration.


Program cost includes tuition, textbooks, additional readings, laboratory materials, snorkel equipment, and room and board while in the Bahamas.

Not included

Program cost does not include airfare to Miami, or room and board while in Chicago.

Physical requirements

All applicants must complete a verification of swimming ability signed by a swim coach, gym teacher, or local pool monitor, and have the capability and endurance to participate in the physical activities associated with work on a research vessel.

Refund and cancellation policy

Please review our refund and cancellation policy.


Program outcomes

Every Shedd program is evaluated so we never stop learning from you. Here’s what we’ve learned from our participants about High School Marine Biology:  

• Teens are immersed in marine environments to better understand ecological systems and the research done to study them.

• Teens examine first-hand environmental challenges and the stakeholders impacted by them.

• Teens develop and fine-tune skills that will allow them to be the problem solvers of tomorrow.

•Teens cultivate new abilities to apply science and life skills in a vibrant environment.

What our participants had to say

I feel a lot different after this trip. Before the trip I had no clue what marine biology really looked like, and now I definitely feel as though I have gotten to see what it's really like. I also would have never imagined having the amazing experience that I had and this trip has definitely made me want to do marine biology even more than I did before."