Getting Started . . . Tips for Students

If you are going to do research with human subjects, you will need to work with your advisor to prepare your IRB application. This guideline is meant to help you and your advisor through this process. You will find that our website has many helpful materials. Below we have outlined steps to help you successfully complete the IRB process.

Decide on the type of IRB review: Request for Exemption, Expedited Review, or Full Review. See the FAQs for information on the types of review.  Also, see the policy and guidelines as there may be special guidelines that apply to your research.

View the traiing videos on our website to help you write the application.

Write a draft of your IRB application and other relevant items such as the consent/assent forms, information sheets, recruitment flyers, surveys, etc.

Share your drafts with your advisor. Work with her or him on revisions. Visit the IRB office, if necessary, to clear up any questions you may have. You may also consult with the IRB chair or IRB members. 

Submit according to the instructions on the application.  Be sure to include all the required attachements (letter of support, training certification, consent form, etc.) 

Wait for a response.  You may not begin your research until you have received IRB approval. We cannot retroactively approve research!

Expected Time to Response

  • Requests for Exemption are reviewed administratively in the office of Graduate Studies and Research.  A response from the reviewer is generally sent within 1-2 weeks. 
  • In an expedited review, your application will be sent to just one of the IRB committee members who will review it on behalf of the committee. Average time  for first response is 3-4 weeks.
  • In a full review, your application will be reviewed by the entire committee at the next IRB meeting. Average approval time is 4-6 weeks.
    An IRB committee member may contact you to request clarifications or revisions on your application. Respond back via email as quickly as possible; the email response becomes a part of your application.  Note: Always cc the IRB in all your correspondence! (

Note! Many times a reviewer will have questions for you to respond to before a final approval is granted.  Be sure to respond promptly to any requests for clarification your reviewer may have. Approvals and requests for clarification are sent by email.  Be sure your email address is correct and legible so that we may contact you! 

Inform the IRB office if there any changes to your research, and renew your IRB if after one year if you are still interacting with subjects or handling confidential data.

If you have questions, please contact the IRB office: /760-750-4029.

Good luck with your research!