Internship Programs

Marine Conservation Institute is a non-profit conservation advocacy organization that has been working since 1996 to protect and restore marine biodiversity.  From our offices in Seattle, WA and Glen Ellen, CA, we encourage research in marine conservation biology, bring scientists together to examine crucial ocean issues, conduct policy research to frame the marine conservation agenda, lead educational outreach efforts, and build partnerships to solve problems affecting marine life and coastal communities.

Please also consider donating to support our work. Together, we can protect marine life for us and future generations.



This internship program provides motivated and academically-promising students an opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a real‐world arena. During their internship, students work closely with science and policy staff on cutting edge issues in marine conservation biology and ocean policy. Many of the internship opportunities are geared towards graduate students or individuals who have recently completed graduate degrees, though opportunities are occasionally available for undergraduates to work on pressing marine conservation issues. 

For internship positions, we seek individuals with excellent communication skills, substantive knowledge or experience in marine science or policy, and a shared commitment to protecting our oceans. We also prefer candidates who have a demonstrated ability to work independently, with minimal direct supervision. Training is provided.


Types of Internships:

Science Internship – Based in our two west coast offices, science interns have an opportunity to train closely with our science staff to research a specific marine conservation research topic. Previous science interns have assisted projects such as: our high seas gems project, habitat conservation assessments for National Marine Sanctuaries, and the Atlas of Marine Protection. These internships are available as project development dictates.

Communications Internship - Based in our Seattle headquarters, communications interns have the opportunity to train with the Communications Coordinator to gain important skills in conservation communications. Communication interns help coordinate institute-wide communications including but not limited to: social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), blogs, press releases, action alerts, daily newsclips, monthly newsletters, and infographics. Interns also have the opportunity to contribute pieces to the institute’s blog On The Tide.


Available internships:

Global Ocean Refuge System Science Internship

Reports to: Global Ocean Refuge Director 
Location: Glen Ellen, CA
Period: 3-4 months

Position Overview:

As a leader in the global movement to protect and recover the integrity of vast ocean areas, Marine Conservation Institute uses the latest science to identify important marine ecosystems around the world and then advocates for their protection. Our unique effectiveness comes from our vision, expertise and our willingness to partner with others. Training out of our Glen Ellen (San Francisco North Bay) office, interns have the opportunity to volunteer and gain important conservation science and advocacy skills. 

To safeguard marine ecosystems on a global scale, Marine Conservation Institute is leading an urgent initiative called the Global Ocean Refuge System. The Global Ocean Refuge System incentivizes governments to protect marine life by giving prestigious awards for effective marine protected areas that meet science-based standards. It aims to catalyze strong protection for at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030, enough to avert the extinction of most marine life.

Global Ocean Refuge System Science Interns train closely with the program director to help evaluate marine protected areas (MPAs) for Global Ocean Refuge Awards. The Science Intern will conduct research on the nominees and write evaluation reports. The intern will also have the opportunity to contribute pieces to the Institute’s blog, On the Tide. We will consider part-time applicants (16+ hours/week) or full-time applicants (35+ hours/week) for this volunteer, at-will internship.


Desired skills:


  • Excellent internet research skills
  • Proficient in Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Ability/willingness to learn new computer programs

Marine Science

  • Understanding of ocean conservations issues
  • Familiarity with marine protected areas
  • Experience searching and reading scientific literature


  • Interpersonal skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills


Intern tasks may include:

Research activities:

  • Research and compile information on MPAs from around the world
  • Research advances in MPA monitoring and enforcement approaches

Conservation program assistance:

  • Assist with communications – writing blog pieces, etc.
  • Proofreading a variety of external documents, emails, website pages
  • Brainstorming a variety of activities and programs



Internships are on a volunteer basis; no benefits or relocation costs are provided. We are willing to work with interns and their universities to obtain academic credit for internship work. It is the intern’s responsibility to negotiate this relationship with their institution and verify that the internship training and experience meets academic credit requirements.


Application Process

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and will be posted until filled. To apply to this position, please send the following materials via email to

  • Cover letter detailing your interests, relevant experience, goals and availability
  • Résumé
  • Short formal writing sample 
  • Course list detailing applicable coursework experience
  • List of 3 references

Please reference the position title and your name in the subject line, and do not call our office regarding this opportunity.