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11 Marine Biology Summer Programs for High School Students

If you’re a high school student interested in STEM, consider applying for a summer program! For marine biology, specifically, summer programs are a solid way to gain academic exposure, work on building a network, and have some research experience under your belt before you apply to university. 


Additionally, if you’re a high school senior about to apply to an undergraduate degree in marine science or biology, participating in a summer program will give you a solid edge over other applicants - admissions officers are looking for applicants that go beyond the classroom to engage in the subject of their choice, and possess advanced skills that can enable them to do better at university. A summer program can help you tick all of these boxes!


Application Deadline: Varying deadlines based on cohort. The main summer deadlines are March 15, April 15, and May 15

Duration: Options range from 12 weeks to 1 year.

Location: Remote — you can participate in this program from anywhere in the world!

Eligibility:

  • You must be currently enrolled in high school

  • Students must demonstrate a high level of academic achievement. (Note. students have an unweighted GPA of 3.3 out of 4)

  • No previous knowledge of your field of interest is required!

Program Dates: The summer cohort runs from June to August, the Fall cohort from September to December, the Winter cohort from December to February, and the Spring from March to June 


The Lumiere Research Scholar Program is a rigorous research program tailored for high school students. The program offers extensive 1-on-1 research opportunities for high school students, across a broad range of subject areas that you can explore as a high schooler. 


The program pairs high-school students with Ph.D. mentors to work 1-on-1 on an independent research project. At the end of the 12-week program, you’ll have developed an independent research paper! You can choose research topics from subjects such as psychology, physics, economics, data science, computer science, engineering, chemistry, international relations, and more. You can find more details about the application here!


Location: Seal Harbor, Maine

Cost: AIO base tuition is $3,200 for Advanced: $3,300 for Advanced for College Credit

(the additional cost of 4 credits in 2024 is $580 and billed directly from UMaine)

Program Dates: July 7-19 and July 21-August 2, 2024

Application Timeline: for 2025, Applications start October 15th.

Eligibility: Ages 15-19, with at least one year of science education experience


Situated near the Acadia National Park, this Marine Science Program is a for any students hoping to work on projects in the realm of marine biology. 


This two-week program allows about 40-50 students to study the different aspects of oceanography alongside trips to the beach, tidal pools, salt marshes, and more to understand the different chemical, physical, and biological aspects. One of the main projects for all students is to design and maintain a saltwater aquarium. Alongside these sessions, you will be allowed to engage with professionals through special lectures and mini-seminars as well as have access to optional laboratory techniques. You will have the chance to interact with one another and form long-lasting connections in their network.


With an additional cost, students can also get college credits for this program through the University of Maine’s regional campus at Machias.


The program is so well respected that the College of the Atlantic, in Bar Harbor, Maine, offers $10,000/year scholarships to any AIO student (up to $40,000 for the 4 years) who is accepted into their program with a recommendation from one of our Directors.


Location: Based on locality

Cost: no cost, stipend available

Program Dates: June to August

Application Timeline: January 16th, 2024

Eligibility: Must be 16 years of age and reside in the United States


The Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program is an 8-week summer internship for high school students interested in fisheries and marine sciences. This is sponsored by the American Fisheries Society and students are paired up with professionals in their local area through the AFS network. 


While each internship will be unique to the student and their connected professional, Hutton scholars may expect to engage in multiple laboratory and field-based research. The list of potential activities includes electrofishing, public education, data analysis, laboratory analysis of fish age and growth, and so much more! This opportunity not only allows students to gain practical skills on a project but also allows them to tap into the vast network of the AFS. 


At the end, participants are invited to the Hutton Scholars Summit where they may share their final reports on their respective projects and engage with other Scholars and scientists.


Location: University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD

Cost: no cost, 500$ stipend per week 

Program Dates: July 1 - August 9

Application Timeline: The deadline for application is May 31st, 2024

Eligibility: Open to high school seniors who have been accepted into a US College/University and pursue a bachelor’s degree in related field


The National Science Foundation and NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Centre at UMES fund this competitive, fully-funded internship program for high school seniors. In this program, students engage in a variety of fields related to geoscience including Marine Biology, Marine Chemistry and Physical Oceanography. Students participate in lectures and hands-on activities under the guidance of field experts and faculty. Students also receive college credits for this program.


Aside from this, students are also required to take two college-level courses (College Algebra or Calculus I and Freshman Seminar Course) that help them prepare for college academics. 


Location: Kwiáht Center, San Juan Islands, WA

Cost: no cost, stipend may vary 

Program Dates: Dates vary between apprenticeships

Application Timeline: Apprenticeships are offered year-round with varying deadlines

Eligibility: Current high school students, with preference given to local public and private schools and tribal schools


Kwiáht is a non-profit conservation center and biology laboratory. Here, high school students can apply for apprenticeships to Associates. In the course of these apprenticeships, students will conduct relevant research and work in the center's natural environment and using the center’s tools and facilities. Alongside daily mentoring, there is also the possibility of contributions to a publication which is a huge boon for early career students.


Students have to send proposals for projects that detail the research question and methods to conduct study and analysis. These proposals are judged based on their relevance to ongoing work and upon acceptance, apprentices are assigned to different associates. 


Through this program, students can get exposed to ongoing research projects and gain practical tools and skills that allow their profiles to shine when applying for higher education.


Location: Mānoa, Hawai’i

Cost: $1000, students from Hawai’i may be eligible for $500 subsidies

Program Dates: June 3rd-7th 2024

Application Timeline: The deadline for the application is May 6th, 2024

Eligibility: All high school students



This 5-day program by the University of Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology offers hands-on learning for students interested in marine science research. Professional scientists at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) introduce students to concepts and modules like marine bioacoustics, coral feeding, microplastics and data analysis. 


Students gain experience in field studies, lab experiments, hands-on data collection and other projects. They also get the chance to study coral reefs, marine ecosystems, and the diverse marine life found in the Pacific using the institute’s top-notch research facilities.


This program allows students to showcase their passion for marine biology on their profile and form a network of peers and faculty that may help them in their future education and career paths.


Location: San Diego, California / Remote programs also available

Cost: $1500-4000, depending on tier of course, scholarships are available

Program Dates: Varies depending on the program

Application Timeline: Rolling

Eligibility: Students at least 15 years of age, in classes 10th - 12th, and with a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0


The UCSD Research Scholars Marine Science Track is a great opportunity for passionate students with multiple tiers of courses that are available online and offline. 


The tier 1 course, “Introduction to Marine Science” occurs in Fall and takes place online twice a week. This course gives students a deep dive into the dynamics processes that govern marine environments and discusses a wide range of topics including Chemical Oceanography, Physical Oceanography, Marine Ecology, and Human Impact. Students also gain an understanding of current research in this field alongside diverse career options in marine research, policy development, and related fields 


Tier 2 courses pertain to more advanced topics like rocky intertidal environments (as present in the “Advanced Marine Biodiversity: Life on the Edge” course) and bioluminescence. These are in-person courses that engage students in the class as well as laboratories to equip them with practical knowledge. Students get the opportunity to analyze thermal imaging as well as engage in classical genetics to understand various processes that take place at individual organism and population levels.


This course is a solid opportunity to engage in marine research and get an experience of how undergraduate and graduate education and research take place in this field.


Location: St. Petersburg, Florida, US

Cost: $2000, including participation in all sessions, accommodation, food and transport

Program Dates: June 9th - 14th and 16th - 21st 2024

Application Timeline: Closed for 2024, application deadline unclear

Eligibility: Students from 11th and 12th grade in Fall 2024, who must pass the swim test.


Having a renowned marine biology program, Eckerd College’s Pre-College Program in Marine Science is a great opportunity for high school students interested in pursuing Marine Science as a major at Eckard or other universities.


Its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico gives its access to a brilliant nature resource which students tap into during the program. Each student may engage in various activities like netting off shore for invertebrates, catching marine fish and invertebrates, deploying hydrophones to record underwater sound, protograph movements of dolphins or even observing the foraging of shorebirds. 


Students work with the accomplished faculty of Eckerd College and engage in various field and lab-based projects that give them broad exposure to multiple activities one can be part of with a degree in marine science all the while exploring integral concepts of marine biology, geology, chemistry, and more. This experience equips students with a lot of practical experience that allows their profile to stand out when they apply for different university programs.


Location: California Coast

Cost: $3,995

Program Dates: July 19th - August 1st

Application Timeline: Closed for 2024, application deadline unclear

Eligibility: Students from 7th to 12th grade in Fall 2024


In this two-week coastal adventure, students work along the coast of California involved in various projects that allow students to learn about the various marine ecologies that are to be explored. From exploring ongoing research projects at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to engaging in coastal conservation activities like invasive plant removal and wildlife monitoring in the Channel Islands National Park, students are exposed to multiple different facets of marine biology from a conservation standpoint. These sessions are led by marine biologists and naturalist experts who help students understand the ecology present around them. 


Location: Long Island Aquarium, NY

Cost: This is an unpaid internship 

Program Dates: This internship will be at least 120 working hours long

Application Timeline: Fall Semester – August 15th

Spring Semester – December 15th

Summer Semester – May 15th

Eligibility: All high school students who can commute to and from the aquarium


The Long Island Aquarium offers internships with the Aquarium’s education department. For students who like to work with written information and aim to become science communicators. This Internship will give them experience in working with the public at LIA’s interactive touch tanks where interns will educate them with information regarding the exhibits. 


Students are paired with mentors who teach the material as well as offer career advice to understand prospective education and career paths. Interns will be assigned a weekly schedule in order to complete the required hours.


Location: Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, FL

Cost: unpaid internships

Program Dates: 16-18 weeks depending on term

Application Timeline: October 1 (winter term) | February 1 (summer term) | June 15 (fall term)

Eligibility: All high school students from around the world who can read, speak, and understand English and are also physically fit


The Dolphin Research Center has been an active site of marine mammal education and research. It also runs internships where high school students can be part of the Research Center’s projects. Selected interns work 40 hours a week - 4 days with their assigned department and 1 day providing assistance in other areas - where they can be involved in many facets of the Center like Education, Research, Medical, Animal Care, and Training. 


This experience is a great opportunity to work in a research center and gain experience in not just marine biology but also science communication, outreach and photography. 



Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: Acadia Institute of Oceanography logo


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