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 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.


We are no longer accepting applications for the summer of 2016. Please check back in December of 2016 for applications for the summer of 2017.

Read the FAQ

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

2016 Dates:

Evening Orientation at Shedd: May 5
Pre-trip at Shedd: June 27-July 1
Trips to Bimini: July 7-14 or July 17-24
Post-trip at Shedd: August 2-4
Evening End-of-Summer Teen Celebration at Shedd: August 9

Program cost

2016 Rate: $1,895 a person


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


Program cost includes tuition, readings, laboratory materials, and room and board while in the Bahamas. Snorkel equipment is also available to borrow free of charge.

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 increase ecological knowledge and demonstrate an understanding of how elements within an ecosystem work together while exploring in an authentic marine environment.

• Teens consider various stakeholder perspectives while thinking about solutions to real world environmental challenges.

• Teens develop and fine-tune life and career skills that will enable them to be problem solvers of tomorrow.

Report Highlights

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."

“The highlight was definitely figuring out what I want to do with my life. There were so many directions my life could have gone in before HSMB, everything science related, but now I know I want to go into marine science specifically.”