Every year, the After School Program (ASP) offers courses to New York City high school students interested in the sciences at the museum. There are courses in anthropology, astrophysics, earth science, genetics, biodiversity, and more. Each course makes use of the Museum's unique resources through hall visits, lab and collections tours, talks and lectures by scientists, and hands-on activities. ASP offers 5 sessions throughout the school year, running October through June. Each session is five weeks long, and courses meet once or twice a week from 4:30 - 6:30 PM. Students may attend only one course per session. We accept students regardless of citizenship or immigration status. All After School Program Exploratory and Science Research courses are offered free of charge!




Within these content areas, we offer two types of courses, Explore AMNH and Research AMNH. Explore AMNH courses are a “deep dive” into a particular topic and a fun, hands-on way to find out about science in new formats. Research AMNH courses offer a chance to see how research is done at the museum, and discover a broad view of the field. Learn more about any of the courses listed below by following the link in the course title. 

Click the link below for the 2018-19 Exploratory and Science Research Course Calendar.



Explore AMNH courses engage students with diverse interests through in-depth, “elective-style” coursework. It’s a “deep dive” into topics across all fields of the museum. Explore AMNH is an opportunity for scientists, educators, and students to explore science in unique and surprising ways. Any New York City high school student in grades 9-12 may take one or more exploratory courses throughout the school year.

Session 1 - (10/10 - 11/15/2018)




Research AMNH courses are intensive 5-week courses that introduce students to the fundamentals behind the science research practiced at the Museum. Courses are sorted by two categories: Life Science (anthropology, conservation science, and evolutionary biology) and Physical Science (astrophysics, earth science, astronomy). Classes focus on core scientific theories, concepts, and practices. Each Research AMNH course is co-taught by a Museum scientist and a Museum educator and are designed to prepare students for the possibility of conducting authentic scientific research through a partner program, the Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP). 
Please note that completion of two Research AMNH courses is a requirement for SRMP, but that completion of prerequisites does not guarantee acceptance into SRMP. Any New York City high school student in grades 10-12 may take one or more exploratory courses throughout the school year.


Life Science Tracks:

Session 1 - (10/10 - 11/15/2018)

Molecular Genetics
Conservation Biology


Physical Science Tracks:

Session 1 - (10/10 - 11/15/2018)

Wonderful Universe



Support for Youth Initiatives is provided by The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation.

Support for the Science Research Mentoring Program at the American Museum of Natural History is provided by Christopher C. Davis, The Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund; The Pinkerton Foundation; the Bezos Family Foundation; the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; the Solon E. Summerfield Foundation; Inc.; and the Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation.

Complimentary test preparation and college admissions support for program participants is generously provided by Kaplan Test Prep.



Past Events

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Past Offerings

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Faces From the Past - Exploratory Course

April 27, 2018 - June 1, 2018

In this course, we will examine fossil skull casts from human relatives to sculpt facial reconstructions on 3D-printed skulls. We will examine differences in skulls, create detailed facial musculature, apply tissue-depth markers, and make interpretations about where they lived and how they died. 

Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth - Science Research Course

April 23, 2018 - June 4, 2018

In this Earth and Planetary Science course students will learn about the latest research conducted at the Museum through interactions with scientists, lectures, hall visits and hands-on activities. 

Pleiades M45 Open Star Cluster

Stars - Science Research Course

April 23, 2018 - June 4, 2018

This class will introduce you to the variety of stars out there, from white dwarves to red giants, and G-type stars, like our Sun, to recently discovered brown dwarf stars that are changing our thoughts on what a star even is. 

double helix model of DNA

Our Concrete Jungle - Exploratory Course

April 23, 2018 - June 4, 2018

Our class will investigate NYC’s natural history from a pre-colonial Eden to concrete jungle, learn the skills of ecological research, and roam the Halls of the Museum (after hours!). We will visit Central Park, Inwood Park, and the shores of the Hudson River to learn about the diversity of animals and plants living right on our doorstep. Our class will also discuss what is needed to improve our NYC environment as we debate current conservation issues, including climate change resilience, environmental justice, hydrofracking, and urban re-wilding.

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Genes in Space - Exploratory Course

March 2, 2018 - April 20, 2018

Learn what PCR experiments can teach us about identifying genes, and design an experiment that could be entered into the Genes in Space Competition. Your project, if accepted, could be conducted by astronauts living on the International Space station!

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Linguistic Anthropology - Exploratory Course

March 2, 2018 - April 20, 2018

In this course, you will examine how scientists use sound to track the evolution of language, languages in danger of disappearing, and the effect of rapid technological advancement on the future of communication. 

A bright image of Saturn.

Secrets of the Solar System - Science Research Course

February 27, 2018 - April 19, 2018

This class will take you on a grand tour of the solar system, from Mercury and the moons of Saturn, to asteroids and comets. How did such a diversity of worlds come to be? Like space detectives, we will follow the clues and try to unravel the secrets of the solar system’s formation and evolution.

Tree of LIfe

Tree of Life - Science Research Course

February 27, 2018 - April 19, 2018

This course will explain how living organisms are related through the Tree of Life. With hands-on activities, hall and museum collection visits, and laboratory dissections students will learn how scientists organize biodiversity into classification systems using morphological and molecular data.   

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Archaeology of Tomorrow - Research Course

February 26, 2018 - April 18, 2018

Explore how the study of material culture is changing as satellites, 3D scanners, and digital museums gain use in the field, and gain hands on experience to see how technology is teaching us about the past.

Borokua Explore21 Coral

Marine Biology - Exploratory Course

January 5, 2018 - February 9, 2018

In this course, students will learn about marine invertebrates and biodiversity through the field research and scientific expertise of scientists working at the Museum. The course will cover marine ecosystems as well the major groups of marine life and their evolutionary relationships. Class activities will include dissections, observing marine specimens through microscopy, exploring marine life displays in Museum halls, cladistics and the study of evolution, as well as meeting with scientists.

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Open Space - Exploratory Course

January 3, 2018 - February 14, 2018

How do you make objects in outer space, objects that no human has ever visited, easier to understand on a more intuitive level? Science Visualizations! The Open Space project is a brand-new planetarium software being developed by the Natural History Museum that is pushing the boundaries of visualizing outer space. This class will use Open Space and other Science Visualizations to help understand some of the amazing objects in our solar system such as Mars, Pluto, Comets, Asteroids, the Sun, and our own Earth. Activities will include defining what separates a cutting-edge science visualization from other methods of communicating science, understanding how scientists gather data from different missions in outer space, and examining how these tools help scientists discover new and exciting properties of these mysterious worlds.

Small diagram of human intestines with larger scale single dimensional illustration of unidentified bacteria

Invisible Bodies - Exploratory Course

November 3, 2017 - December 15, 2017

Find out how some of the hardiest life forms on the planet can cause disease, jump from body to body, and compete with other microorganisms to survive virtually everywhere you (don’t) look!

A bright image of Saturn.

Life Beyond Earth - Exploratory Course

September 15, 2017 - October 27, 2017

In this course, you will learn the basics of the field of astrobiology, a systematic way of categorizing and searching for life in the cosmos.


Human Origins - Science Research Course

September 12, 2017 - October 19, 2017

Trace the path of human evolution through in-depth discussions, hands-on activities, and visits to Museum halls that plot the history of humankind.


Life Beyond Earth - Exploratory Course

April 28, 2017 - June 2, 2017

Are we alone in the Universe? This question has intrigued humans ever since we had the courage to look skyward. Explore the science of categorizing and searching for life in the cosmos.

Prep 1

Microfossils - Exploratory Course

January 4, 2017 - April 5, 2017

Tiny fossils can hold giant secrets when we use the right tools to uncover them. Join the museum to work with and analyze never before touched specimens from our paleontology collection with the latest digital technology. Find out what single-celled marine organisms dating back to the Paleozoic era can tell us about mass extinctions and ocean pollution. Get hands-on with digital modeling, scanning, microscopy and 3D printing, and get up close and personal with the smallest fossils you can find!


Politics, People, and Pathogens - Science Research Course

January 4, 2017 - February 15, 2017

Using the tools on anthropology, you will uncover how history, geography, and our own culture can affect how we treat malaria, HIV, guinea worm and other tropical diseases in the developing world, and what you can do to stop their spread.

Saurischians to Birds image

Claw to Wing - Exploratory Course

November 4, 2016 - December 16, 2016

Explore what extinct theropods and birds had in common with paleontological evidence and how paleontologists collect, prepare and analyze fossils in the field.

adult cuba map

#ScienceFTW: Cuba - Exploratory Course

September 14, 2016 - December 19, 2016

Go behind the scenes to learn about island biogeography - the spectacular ways life evolves on islands - and revisit collections and discoveries Museum scientists made on the island. At the same time, work with science educators and game designers to develop a prototype for a tabletop game to teach others about island biodiversity and the trials and tribulations of a museum-based scientists.

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Darwin’s Dangerous Experiments - Exploratory Course

March 15, 2016 - April 21, 2016

In this class, you will test the origins of the theory of Natural Selection with experiments recreated from the writings of Charles Darwin. Darwin’s great curiosity for the natural world meant that he carried out scientific experiments throughout his life, from small garden experiments to traveling the globe. Darwin developed the theory of evolution by natural selection working with a vast network of correspondents across the globe, helping him understand how his experiments worked in real-world conditions. Find out what Darwin told his friends and learn how he formulated his theory by trying Darwin’s Dangerous Experiments on worms, plants and seeds!

Borokua Explore21 Coral

Medical Anthropology - Exploratory Course

November 5, 2015 - December 17, 2015

Using the tools on anthropology, you will uncover how history, geography, and our own culture can affect how we treat malaria, HIV, guinea worm and other tropical diseases in the developing world, and what you can do to stop their spread.


DNA Barcoding - Exploratory Course

February 24, 2015 - April 2, 2015

In this course, we will explore a cutting edge methodology that has helped scientists all over the world identify and study biodiversity: DNA Barcoding.  


Explosive Earth - Exploratory Course

January 7, 2015 - February 11, 2015

This class will explore the world of volcanoes!  We will learn why they exist, where they form, and a volcano study is never complete without modeling how they erupt.


Conservation Genetics - Exploratory Course

January 6, 2015 - February 12, 2015

In this course, we will learn about how DNA sequencing, including DNA Barcoding, and fingerprinting techniques can be used to determine species distribution patterns, to identify products made from endangered animals, and to propagate endangered species in captivity.

Tree of LIfe

Tree of Life - Science Research Course

September 9, 2014 - October 21, 2014

Learn how scientists use both physical and molecular characteristics of plants and animals to classify and name species, as well as determine how different species are related to one another.

Dinosaur behavior

Footprints in Time - Exploratory Course

May 2, 2014 - June 6, 2014

In this course, we will explore the evidence left behind by the many magnificent extinct organisms, focusing on ichnofossils, and infer how these creatures lived and behaved by comparing them to currently living animals.

Stars - Science Research Course

The Cosmic Perspective - Exploratory Course

April 28, 2014 - June 9, 2014

Set the time machine for 14 billion years ago. In this course you will study the universe, from its earliest moments to the formation of galaxies, from stars that shine to the dark matter we know is lurking around every corner. Through hall explorations, hands-on activities and visits with Museum scientists you will come to see that our universe is a dynamic place. You may find yourself asking, the universe started with a bang, but how will it end?


DIY Astronomy - Science Research Course

February 25, 2014 - April 3, 2014

Learn how to measure the distance to a star, find and classify a variable star, and more! Explore Unix, SuperMongo, IRAF and other computer tools that astronomers use every day.


Our Changing Climate - Exploratory Course

February 25, 2014 - April 4, 2014

Our global climate is changing. But what is causing these changes?  Are humans the only cause? Participants will research past climate change events and link them to present-day changes to gain a deeper understanding of what is actually happening.


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Barcode of Life - Exploratory Class

February 24, 2014 - April 2, 2014

In this course, we will explore a cutting edge methodology that has helped scientists all over the world identify and study biodiversity: DNA Barcoding.  Students in this course will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on labs to learn the basics of DNA barcoding and learn basic concepts in ecology, biodiversity and conservation biology.