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The 2021 Scheme is now CLOSED

About the scheme

The Cambridge Conservation Internship Scheme provides an opportunity for undergraduates to experience professional life in the global conservation community. There are currently six internships places available. Each year the scheme receives 30-40 applications.

The six placements for 2021 are offered by the following organisations:

UNEP-WCMC (United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre)

1.   Measuring the impacts of an initiative aimed at behavioural and social change for the protection of rainforests
2.   Strengthening collaboration in the context of the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative
3.   Improving business engagement in biodiversity initiatives

Birdlife International

4.   Conservation Intern – European Marine Programme
5.   Conservation Intern – European Species Programme
6.   Science Intern – Red List update for birds

What do the internships involve?

The internships usually take place from July to September, and must last for a minimum of six weeks.

The nature of the work, project or programme will be decided by the organisation concerned (who will also supervise the intern). One of the Careers Service staff will also act as a supervisor on an informal basis. You may find it informative to read the past intern reports: 2020, 2019201820172016

All internships are unpaid, other than those with the UNEP-WCMC, which are paid minimum wage. For information on securing funding, please see below.

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to all current Cambridge University undergraduates (including finalists) who are passionate about making a contribution to global biodiversity issues. The following are ineligible to apply:

  • Students undertaking a second undergraduate degree.
  • Undergraduates studying under exchange or short term schemes.
  • Postgraduates (MPhil, Master’s and PhD), except integrated master’s students.
  • MVST students in their fourth year or above, or who have started their clinical studies

If you are a UK Visa holder, please check that you are permitted to undertake work (including unpaid internships) in the UK.

How to apply

Applications should be emailed to before the application deadline at midnight, 7 February 2021 (Sunday evening). Late applications will not be considered.

Your application should include a CV, and a covering letter for each of the internships (a maximum of two) you would like to be considered for. You should state your first and second choice in your covering letter/s.

If your first and second choices of internship are with UNEP-WCMC, you are invited to also stipulate a third choice, as long as it is not with UNEP-WCMC.

  • Your CV should be called ‘YOUR NAME – CV’; and the cover letter/s ‘YOUR NAME - ORGANISATION NAME’ to which you are applying.
  • Put your name at the top of your CV and covering letters (Word or PDF only).
  • Include a phone number on your CV to allow organisations to contact you.
  • Ensure that your application documents showcase your relevant skills and experiences, as well as your motivation for applying for each specific internship.

If at any point in the process your circumstances change, please immediately contact us by email and withdraw your application in order for the place to be reallocated. If you have accepted another offer please do not leave your application live as a ‘safety-net’.

Please email with any queries.

The selection process

Applications chosen by the selection panel will be forwarded to the organisation/s concerned. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to interview at the relevant organisation, and informed of the outcome by the individual organisations as soon as possible.

If you secure an internship, you are required to attend an induction workshop in June 2021. You must also complete a brief report, detailing your experience, by the end of September.

Securing funding

While reasonable expenses will be paid for by the host organisation, interns will be responsible for their own living costs and accommodation. With their permission, contact details will be shared amongst successful candidate who may wish to explore sharing accommodation over the summer.

Terms and conditions


By making an application to the Cambridge Conservation Internship Scheme you agree to release all personal details (including name, contact details, CV and covering letter) and application documentation to members of the selection panel. These personal details will not be circulated to anyone else and will be used only for the purposes of selection. If you are selected, your application documentation will be forwarded to the organisation concerned.


The Careers Service cannot undertake to investigate organisations to check that they are well regulated, safe or comply with legal requirements. The Careers Service accepts no liability for loss or damage suffered whilst undertaking the work placement. The award of a place is not our official endorsement that the organisation will be able to offer or fulfil their obligation to provide useful work experience. Any information provided by the Careers Service is general information only and should not be relied upon in deciding whether to accept a placement.