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!

Click here to read reflections from previous HSMB participants!

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


Applications are now closed.

Age and Requirements

High school teens (minimum of 14 years old). Must permanently reside within 150 miles of John G. Shedd Aquarium. Must have completed one year of high school science before program.

Program Dates

2018 dates:

Program orientation at Shedd Aquarium
Thursday, May 03, 2018, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Pre-trip session at Shedd Aquarium
Monday, June 25-29, 2018, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Field component aboard the R/V Coral Reef II in the Bahamas departing from Miami, FL
Week 1: July 5-12, 2018
Week 2: July 15-22, 2018

Post-trip session at Shedd Aquarium
Tuesday, July 31 through Thursday, August 2, 2018: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Mentor programs: End-of-summer celebration at Shedd Aquarium
Thursday, August 9, evening

Program cost

2018 Rate: $1,995 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 certified lifeguard over the age of 18, 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.

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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.”