Marine Conservation Philippines
Volunteer in Marine Conservation Philippines

Thesis student

For part of our projects, we really need people with a background in marine or environmental science. We think that by improving our knowledge of marine life, in the end we will be able to conserve it much better. By helping to educate the marine scientists and conservationists of tomorrow, we hope to have a much bigger impact on marine conservation than we could ever have by ourselves. As such we are a looking for people with a background in marine science (current students or people looking for more working experience after completing their studies). As a student you could do your own research project for your thesis with us, our you could get working experience in a marine conservation organisation by doing an internship.

We recognize that thesis students contribute much more than regular volunteers both to conservation and to our organisation. But since we don’t have external funding, we do need you to cover at least some of your costs. The reduced participation fee reflect your contribution to us. As our space is limited, we also need to limit the number of thesis students. We will provide any letters, documents or other help needed if you are looking for grants or other funding. Keep in mind it often takes a while for requests by grants to get approved, so start looking long before you plan to leave.

What you will learn

With your thesis you will improve your skills as a researcher. You will learn to be independent and self-reliant. It is a good step up if you would like to continue as a researcher after your studies. With your tutor back home you will design a good research proposal and you will carry it out with us. This will improve your creativity both in designing feasible research proposals, managing changing circumstances and reporting it in a consistent manner.

If you have your own topic in mind, you can discuss it with us, and we’ll look if we think it is feasible with logistics, our location and facilities in mind. If you are looking for inspiration, take a look at our scientific research ideas for topics that we would like people to cover.

Requirements for students:

  • Enrolled in a MSc or BSc program in (marine) biology, environmental sciences or similar;
  • Willing to carry out an independent research project at MCP;
  • Will design a research proposal back home;
  • A university tutor will help with writing a research proposal and final report;
  • The research proposal needs to be logistically compatible with our running programs. This is agreed upon by us before you come;
  • Inform us before you come what your university expects of us in terms of evaluation and tutoring;
  • Stay for a minimum of 16 weeks, so you have ample time to get to know the location, hone your research skills and gather your data;
  • Bring your own laptop for data entry. Any other research materials that aren't available already need to be brought or bought by you from your own budget.
  • Collected data will be freely available for everybody. Your research report will be published on our website.
  • If you publish a scientific article, your MCP tutor will be listed as co-author. If MCP publishes an article, you will be co-author if part of the data is from your research.

What we offer:

  • Tutoring on site;
  • Feedback on your proposal, activities and methodology;
  • Usage of all the MCP facilities;
  • Training in methodology and species identification if necessary and available;
  • Discount on the normal volunteer fee of 66%. You will pay only $150/week. This includes three daily meals; tea, coffee and water; various snacks; basic dorm accommodation; free scuba diving and use of dive gear; marine park fees.
  • You can join any PADI dive course you wish to, but you have to pay for the certification and books.
  • Assistance from volunteers for data gathering if needed and depending on availability;
  • Possibility of presenting your research proposal and research findings to the staff and volunteers.
  • An inspiring and fun working environment of local and international conservationists, volunteers and scientists.


  • From day one, every day has been an adventure, no dull moments. As an intern you are given responsibility on different activities. These activities vary from my own research to teaching kids to organizing events etc. The most amazing thing of this country is the beautiful environment and mostly the people, the kids. Every time you travel and meet the local culture, you get more perspective on things. You realize the things you have and appreciate certain things and moments more. READ FULL REVIEW
    Rita Naus
  • I’m now almost halfway through my data collection, and MCP has really been awesome and very helpful to reach this point. As we’re doing fish surveys, we need to go to places were no other divers are present so the data is not biased, so they put the truck and oxygen (necessary safety when you go diving in remote locations) at our disposal every day and let us make our own plans according to what we need to get done. READ FULL REVIEW
    Joel Rohrer
  • MCP gave me a lot of responsibility during my stay and I loved it. Because of that I’ve seen more and learned more than I could have expected. Working with so many volunteers teaches you a lot about yourself, about your functioning and your social skills. I Learned more about teaching, doing research, creative thinking, planning and of course marine biology. READ FULL REVIEW
    Jorien van Schie