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Submitting Your Protocol to the IRB

Before you submit your protocol, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Read carefully all of the information on the IRB website.  These pages contain all the information you need to prepare your protocol.
  2. Complete the online training program from CITI for research involving human subjects.
  3. Download all of the necessary forms and example documents for your specific research project from the IRB Forms page. *Note that as of July 2018, there are separate forms for research Exempt from review, research qualifying for Expedited review, and research requiring Full review.
  4. Complete the application form for the type of review that your research will undergo.
  5. Complete any and all additional items that are required, including consent forms, video release forms, etc.
  6. Email and attach your application, as well as all other supporting documents, forms, and scripts.
  7. If you are a student, work closely with your faculty advisor as you develop your materials. Make sure your advisor has a final copy of your protocol exactly as it will be submitted. After you have incorporated all of the changes your advisor recommends, make sure that your advisor sends an e-mail to containing the following statement: "I assume responsibility for ensuring that [student's(s') name(s)] is/are aware of their responsibilities as researcher(s). I have mentored him/her/them in filling out this proposal and have reviewed the final draft, which I approve. I will oversee this research in its entirety."
  8. Applications for Exempt and Expedited review will be reviewed within two weeks (except, in some cases, when an application arrives during a break). An application for Full review will be reviewed at our next monthly meeting, providing it arrives a week before the meeting. Meeting are held on Wednesdays of the third week of the month.

Possible Outcomes of IRB Protocol Review

  • Approval: a protocol that has been approved by the IRB requires no further action by the principal investigator (P.I.) before the research may commence. The P.I. will receive a letter from the IRB confirming this.
  • Revise/Resubmit: a protocol that has been deferred by the IRB usually requires that additional information be submitted. The P.I. will receive a letter from the IRB suggesting revisions to the protocol, requesting additional information, and/or requesting supplemental materials.
  • Reject: a protocol that has been rejected usually indicates an inappropriate use of research that may impact the rights or well-being of the anticipated human participants, or a research project for which the benefits clearly do not justify the risks. 

Keeping Your Submitted Protocol Up-to-Date


Federal regulations require "prompt reporting to the IRB of proposed changes in a research activity" and that "such changes in approved research, during the period for which IRB approval has already been given, may not be initiated without IRB review and approval except when necessary to eliminate apparent immediate hazards to subject."

If a P.I. finds that s/he needs to make substantial changes to the previously approved research protocol, s/he is required to submit a completed Revision Form and cease data collection until being notified by the IRB Administrator in writing that s/he is permitted to resume the study by the IRB.


IRB approval for research approved under Expedited and Full review will be one calendar year in duration, beginning from the date appearing on the formal letter confirming the protocol's approval.  If a P.I. needs to extend the research beyond this approved time period, s/he is required to submit a Continuation Form to the IRB Administrator who will notify the P.I. in writing as to whether the P.I. is permitted to continue the study beyond the original approval date.  Data collection may not continue past the original approval date until this permission has been received.


Federal regulations require that when a research project has been completed, the P.I. must submit a Closure Form to the IRB that describes the outcomes of the research, as well as any adverse effects experienced by participants during the research process.