Explore science at the New England Aquarium! Join researchers and educators as we investigate the world around us in a bid to better understand and protect our blue planet.

Marine Biologist in Training (MBIT) courses are challenging opportunities for students in grades 7 to 11 to learn about marine science and build skills for problem solving, scientific study, leadership, and population and resource management. Students might find themselves studying fish in a lab, taking water quality samples from a research boat, or contributing to ongoing research projects. Combining classroom time with hands-on experience, this program creates a unique learning opportunity with the New England Aquarium as a resource.

It's cool! It's also different. It wasn't huge on facts and worrisome tests, it was just a friendly, open, learn-at-your-own-pace, fun class.
- Anonymous MBIT: Fish student

MBIT: Animal Conservation

A Six-Day Course in Early Spring for Students in Grades 9 to 11

Animal conservation impacts every facet of our society, from food resources to tourism commodities to considerations of morality. Inevitably, such efforts must be informed by a variety of questions. How do scientists study and track dynamic populations to understand population health? Why are some species considered “overfished?” How does habitat relate to an animal’s appearance and behavior? In MBIT: Animal Conservation, participants will explore the world of conservation and sustainable practices while working toward solutions for real-world issues.

Topics of investigation and activities will include: 

  • Fisheries science
  • Turtle rehabilitation
  • Right whale populations
  • Community-based solutions


MBIT: Your Local Ocean

A Five-Day Course in Late Spring for Students in Grades 7 and 8

The area of the Atlantic Ocean off our coast is called the Gulf of Maine. This huge body of water goes from Cape Cod all the way to Nova Scotia, Canada. This vital area is home to an enormous variety of plants and animals as well as a lot of people living on the coast. We will investigate why our local waters are important feeding grounds for endangered whales and home to hundreds of species of fish, how our coasts protect us from storms, and what steps are being taken to protect it all. Join us for MBIT: Your Local Ocean to learn more about our ocean backyard and why it is such a unique and important ecosystem!

Activities and topics of investigation will include: 

  • Study local habitats during coastal field trips
  • Analyze animal behavior on a whale watch
  • Study local invertebrates in the lab
  • Use models to study the ocean floor
  • Learn about ongoing research in Boston Harbor


MBIT: Field Work

A Five-Day Course in Early Fall for Students in Grades 9 to 11

Marine science is so much more than classroom or laboratory work! It can be tracking a whale to study its behavior, or monitoring fish populations in a local stream. Heading outside to observe the aquatic world, this class provides a way for scientists to research how natural systems operate. It also means that scientists have to cope with challenges, such as ever-changing and harsh weather, broken equipment, or figuring out how to study an animal that lives hidden beneath the waves. During MBIT: Field Work, we will travel to different sites each day to practice field protocols used by professional scientists. Through hands-on research, students will improve their grit and adaptability while practicing with tools commonly used by scientists in the field.

Activities and topics of investigation will include:

  • Contribute to citizen science projects
  • Travel to and study a new habitat for each class
  • Gain familiarity with actual field biology methods
  • Work with classmates to plan and conduct field research
  • Practice using common scientific tools 


MBIT: Scientist

A Six-Day Course in Late Fall for Students in Grades 7 to 8

Ask most scientists what the most important tool they have is and you can bet they’ll say: An inquisitive mind and the ability to ask a good question. This doesn’t just come naturally, it takes practice. In MBIT: Scientist, discover how research is done by professional marine biologists at the Aquarium and around the world, and then practice that yourself! Hone your ability to think through important details while keeping an eye open to observe trends. We will collect data in the lab and offsite in the field, analyzing it to share with our peers. After refining our own questions and collaborating with classmates to draft a research proposal, we will present it to a panel of professional scientists as we practice how to create compelling research projects that others will help make happen! 

Topics of investigation and activities will include:

  • Scientific methods and research study design
  • Visit Aquarium research labs and meet with professional scientists
  • Practice project management
  • Build leadership and teamwork skills
  • Gain confidence with public speaking as you communicate your research to an audience


That was the first time I actually felt like a real marine biologist at work, conducting an investigation and later analyzing the data.
- Dylan, MBIT: Scientist student


Field Work classes meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., all other classes meet from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  Animal Conservation Local Ocean Field Work Scientist


Application Due Date


February 3, 2020
 March 30, 2020
August 17, 2020
September 21, 2020


2020 Class Dates


March 1, 8, 15,
22, 29, April 5

Sundays: April 26, May 3, 10,
17, 24

September 13, 20,
27, October 4, 11

October 18, 25, November 1, 8, 15, 22


Tuition and Expenses

Tuition will be required upon acceptance to an MBIT program. Financial aid is available with eligibility and tuition copayment amount determined by your household’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Applying for financial aid will not influence the success of your application to the program.

Base Tuition: $425

Aquarium Members $375

Tier 1 Scholarship $40
AGI <$40K

Tier 2 Scholarship $80
AGI $40K-$80K

Participants are required to bring their own lunch. Lunch may also be purchased at the Aquarium Café unless class if off-site on a field trip.

How to Sign Up

Create a family profile online. Applications are available from within your family profile.

loster in hands
Hands-on learning for teens

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I know I got in?

    Applicants will be informed by email within one week following the application deadline. If you are accepted, you will be given instructions on how to complete required forms and submit tuition.

  2. If I do MBIT, can I become a volunteer at the New England Aquarium?

    Successful completion of the MBIT program does not guarantee a volunteer opportunity at the Aquarium. Please visit the volunteer website for details about volunteer opportunities.

  3. What do I get with my tuition?

    • Five to six days of instruction (depending on specific program) by Aquarium educators, with backgrounds in research science, ocean education, and fish biology
    • Free access to the Aquarium when the Aquarium is open for the duration of the program
    • Discount at the Aquarium Café while class is in session
    • Opportunity to meet students from other schools with a similar passion for the ocean

  4. What do I need to bring the first day?

    On the first day you should have:

    • Closed-toe shoes that can get wet
    • Layers of comfortable clothing; be ready for an active classroom
    • A positive attitude and willingness to work and learn!

  5. Is the entire program at the Aquarium?

    Most of the time in MBIT: Animal Conservation and Scientist will be spent in classrooms adjacent to the Aquarium, along the Harborwalk around the Aquarium, or in the Aquarium itself. There is, however, one day with a planned field trip (weather dependent) to a local coastal area.

    MBIT: Field Work and Your Local Ocean will spend multiple days on field trips, engaged with work outside of the Aquarium grounds.

  6. OK, if I do MBIT, what then?

    Some youth do MBIT as a stand-alone experience, to participate in a program at the Aquarium because it fits into their interests and adds to their tool belt of knowledge and experiences. But if you choose, MBIT can be so much more! Our goal is to provide opportunities for youth to gain the knowledge to fully appreciate and steward the ocean. Additionally, participants will leave with skills that will serve them for life in whatever path they choose. MBIT is but one part of learning at the Aquarium, with subsequent potential opportunities in our other youth programs also available

Contact Us

Contact the Program Office at 617-226-2425 or email harbordiscoveries@neaq.org.