Whale Breaching
Photo: NOAA, under NOAA permit #15240

The sanctuary encourages undergraduate and graduate students to get involved and gain valuable experience through internships. Over the years, many students have completed internship projects for the sanctuary and many have also continued on to work in the field of marine conservation.

NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary hosts interns throughout the year, although on-the water research is done from November through April. Internships are located in one of our two office locations, Kīhei (Maui) and Līhu‘e (Kaua‘i). For special projects we have placed interns with some of our partner organizations. Internships are open to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post doctoral students. Sanctuary internships fall under one of three topic areas: research, risk assessment and management, and education/outreach. Students must be U.S citizens or have arrangement through their foreign universities.

Please note that the sanctuary is not able to provide room or board for interns. The majority of sanctuary internships are unpaid and interns are responsible for their own transportation to and from the sanctuary work site. Funds for travel are not available.

National marine sanctuaries are federal offices, and therefore all interns must either be citizens of the United States or have a visa that allows them to work in the U.S.

Due to COVID-19 limitations, we are not accepting internship requests until further notice.

Other Internships

Other unpaid internships may be made available on occasion:

Student opportunities available through NOAA

Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Young Scientist Opportunity

Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship

National Coral Reef Management Fellowship

Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Volunteer Internships

Additional internships are also posted here:

NOAA Scholarship Office

Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance

University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Marine Option Program


NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary posts all federal jobs online at USA Jobs.

Additional employment opportunities may be found here:

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Jobs and Internships

University of Hawai‘i Job Search

State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources Jobs