Students – How to Apply for IRB

The process of applying for IRB review as a student

All personnel, staff, faculty should have access to the Blackboard course. Email the IRB if you can not access.

training_vid bb_site nih_train








The first steps are: 

  1. Decide whether or not your research is subject to institutional review.
  2. Decide whether it qualifies for exempt-level of IRB review, expedited-level of review, or requires full-board review (you may also see definitions of these in the IRB Policy Manual). Or – you can ask us: 

    Request for Determination

  3. watch the training video 

  4. Next, do the NIH training

  5. Watch this video on informed consent from the National Institute of Mental Health.

  6. Make a decision as to whether the informed consent form may be waived in your study. Note that expedited-level and full-board level applications usually require the use of the informed consent form (ICF)
  7. Complete application:

7. Submit your IRB application via email to irbsubmission@westernu.edu.

  • IMPORTANT: Choose EITHER expedited or exempt – not both. This is a common mistake. Choose only one of the three categories: full board, or expedited, or exempt.  you may not choose both. Your application will be returned if you choose to list expedited level review and then select the exempt criteria, which is used only for exempt-level review. If it is unclear what level you request, the app will be returned.Please submit a formatted version of the IRB application. i.e., a version that contains the check-able checkboxes.

8. The items below must be submitted to START the process of review.

  • Word version document of your IRB application

    • Signature “cover sheet” of the IRB application in a PDF. This is obtained by printing a paper copy of your IRB application from word. Then, have the advisor and chair sign the front page. Scan this signed page and attach the PDF in your submission email.

    • You must have an advisor in the “students” red box listed. This advisor previews your application and it also notifies the college that you are intending to do research involving human subjects. A college advisor will be able to assist you with the editing and proofreading of the application document. Please see your college’s faculty website for ideas of who you may ask to be your advisor.

    • IRB_checklist  

      Checklist – read through the checklist, ensuring you have included these items in your application.

    • Are you studying actual subjects?

    • Informed Consent Form (ICF) If you are involved with human subjects – interacting with them, or, using their personal health information you should include an Informed Consent Form, or, explain how approval to use information was obtained.

    • If using an ICF, then a recruitment letter is needed

    • Site Authorization Letter(s)– This includes the PCC. Please- if at all possible – attach the site authorization letter WITH your IRB application. If you are in the process of obtaining a letter of Authorization from the site where the research will be conducted, please indicate so and identify when the IRB can expect to receive it. 

    • Patients’ Experimental Bill of Rights – needed in California for conducting research on human subjects.

Submit application documents to irbsubmission@westernu.edu. 

IRB protocol applications that are incomplete or contain typos typically require at least one set of revisions.

updated 10-20-2016