Coastal Ocean Science Academy Marine Science Summer Day Program

The Coastal Ocean Science Academy (COSA) is a marine and environmental science summer day program that aims to introduce and connect young people to local coastal habitats and the factors that shape them. The program is based at Northeastern’s Marine Science Center on the rocky shore of Nahant, where participants explore the rocky shore and tidepools, meet scientists and students, and tour science labs with our dedicated team of educators, then visit coastal habitat field sites nearby. We use the incredible natural classroom around us, hands-on learning, and plenty of fun to engage young people in coastal science and inspire lifelong natural and scientific curiosity.

COSA programs will follow current Massachusetts State and Northeastern University health guidelines for COVID-19.

The program takes place at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center at 430 Nahant Road, Nahant, MA 01908. All programs run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day, and they begin/end each day at the Marine Science Center in Nahant.

This is a drop-off program; participants should be dropped off at the check-in table inside the entrance gate to the MSC each morning, and picked up at 4:00 p.m. each day.

Registration for COSA launched in February and the program  and waitlists are now FULL.  Please email [email protected] be added to the notification list for COSA 2025 dates, registration opening, and information.

2024 Program Dates:
Middle School Program (Littorina): Monday, July 22 – Friday, July 26
High School Program: High School Program (Chondrus): Monday, August 12 – Friday, August 16

All programs run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day, and they begin/end each day at the Marine Science Center in Nahant.

Program Fees:

Fees include morning and afternoon snacks, all program instruction and equipment, student materials, COSA t-shirt and water bottle, and transportation to off-site field locations.

  • Middle School Program: $550 for the 5-day program.
  • High School Program: $550 for the 5-day program.


Registration will go live Tuesday, February 13, 2024.

To register:

  • Complete the online application form
  • Include in the registration a response from the student applicant to the following questions:
    • Why are you interested in participating in the COSA program?
    • What would you like to get out of the COSA experience?
  • Submit 50% program fee ($275) to secure the spot (N/A if scholarship applicant)
  • Complete waivers required by Northeastern’s Minors Program Office (read and sign online)

Participants will be accepted on a rolling basis until all slots are filled.

Thanks to the support of generous donors, we are pleased to offer a limited number of full and partial scholarships to students interested in participating in the program. Our program goals are aligned with national efforts to broaden participation in academics and careers related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

Nahant Scholarships: Nahant residents are eligible to receive a 50% reduction in program fees.  Please indicate residency on the registration form.

Need-based Scholarships: A limited number of full scholarships are available to students whose households fall within the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines for Free and Reduced Lunch.  Eligibility information is available here. If funds permit, partial scholarships may be awarded to other students expressing need.

Those interested in applying for a need-based scholarship should indicate it on the registration form, and then submit a letter of recommendation (instructions linked here). No additional scholarship application/documentation is required.

Scholarship materials must be received by March 30, 2024. (Some COSA spots will be held open until this time to accommodate the scholarship timeline). Notification of scholarship awards will begin in early April, and will continue until all scholarship funds are disbursed. Please contact Sierra Muñoz with any questions at ([email protected]).

Available Programs
COSA Littorina
Middle School Program
The Littorina program exposes students entering sixth, seventh, and eighth grade to local coastal and marine habitats, including the sandy beach, rocky shore, open water/harbor, and coastal wetlands. This is a one-week, field-based program where students will learn how to keep a field notebook and take basic measurements of weather, water quality, and biodiversity all while exploring the relationship between these parameters. Participation will well-equip students to enter the research/project-based Coastal Ocean Science Academy for high schoolers in the future. The middle school program runs from Monday, July 22 through Friday, July 26, 2024. Maximum group size is 20
COSA Chondrus
First-time and Returning High School students
First-time students enrolled in this introductory marine biology program will learn about coastal and marine habitats and develop basic research skills. Topics covered include marine organism identification and classification, water quality monitoring, measuring species richness and diversity, and survey analysis. Students will also explore threats to coastal and marine resources.
Returning high school students will work parallel with first-time students, acting as team mentors during fieldwork and other activities. They will also have separate opportunities and instruction presented at a level that assumes their prior knowledge and advanced interest in marine science, and will learn how to collect field site data to develop sound research questions and methodologies, and how to analyze data and present results.
Field studies for all students take place in coastal environments including the salt marsh, sandy beach, and rocky shore. Chondrus runs Monday, August 12 through Friday, August 16, 2024. Maximum group size is 20.
Support Opportunities

Please consider making a gift to the COSA Scholarship Fund today – donations can be made directly to the fund online here, or, contact Outreach Program Coordinator Sierra Muñoz at [email protected] or 617.373.2825 to learn more.

“I have learned a lot about marine science and marine careers over this past week. This has made me more interested in pursuing a marine career in my future!”

“COSA gave me experience in working with sea animals on the coast, and now I can use that experience to help me decide what I want to do as a job in the future”

“With new guest scientists each day and meeting new animals, I very much enjoyed my week at COSA and actually had a lot of fun while learning!”

“My child loved attending COSA! I am impressed with all the knowledge gained, and growth in enthusiasm for marine science that I witness! My child looks forward to applying for next summer as well. Thanks for all you hard work and dedication to making this program available to our high school students interested in marine science!!”

“Our daughter--who has a real passion for marine biology--has participated in COSA in middle school and now high school and has loved both experiences. If the program lasted the whole summer, she's sign up in a heartbeat for it. The hands-on nature of the program and the very supportive and knowledgeable instructors make this program a must for anyone interested in marine science.”
“My son had such a wonderful experience at COSA! Having the chance to do real science, including field work and lab work comparing different environments was transformative. We knew he was generally interested in science, now he knows with certitude he wants to pursue a career in biological sciences.”