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Student Research

What types of Student Research are subject to IRB review?

Some student-conducted studies that involve human participants are considered research and are subject to IRB review, including those:

  • Intended to satisfy the academic requirements for Independent Study or  Master's Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation;
  • Intended to result in publication, presentation outside the classroom, or public dissemination in some other form including internet-based journals, e-books and other "online" dissemination forums;
  • Conducted outside the classroom and/or departmental research participant pool (UDC) if the research  involves minors or populations of adults whose ability to freely give informed consent may be compromised or certain topics. This may include:
    • persons who are socioeconomically, educationally, or linguistically disadvantaged,
    • cognitively impaired,
    • elderly,
    • terminally ill,
    • incarcerated; 
    • pregnant women and/or fetuses, or;.
    • topics of a sensitive or personal nature, the examination or reporting of which may place the research participant at more than minimal risk; or any activity placing participants at more than minimal risk.

What Student Research is not Subject to IRB Review?

Student-conducted research not subject to IRB review include those:

  • Operated within the confines of the classroom or within a departmental research participant pool if they are a general requirement of a course; EXCEPTION: Graduate level theses or dissertations are subject to IRB review.
  • Or have the sole purpose of developing the student's research skills, and  will be overseen by a faculty member;
  • Or are conducted outside the classroom and outside the departmental research participant pools (UDC), provided they:
    • do not involve minors,
    • do not target special adult populations,
    • do not pose a risk of physical harm to pregnant women and fetuses, do not deal with a  topic of sensitive or personal nature, or
    • do not involve any type of activity that places the participants at more than minimal risk;
  • Or that are part of a larger research project that has current University of the District of Columbia IRB approval;
  • Or that are part of a larger research project that has current approval of a registered IRB at another institution, provided that, if research participants are to be recruited at UDC, the UDC IRB has given permission for such on campus recruitment. 

Student/Faculty responsibilities in regards to Student research:

  • If the student research project (undergraduate or graduate) is subject to IRB approval, the faculty advisor or the professor from the class must be listed as the PI on the application in The student will be listed as a co-PI.
  • Both parties must digitally sign the document for it to be considered submitted to the IRB for review.
  • The IRB review is not a substitute for a thorough review for the feasibility, necessity and proper methodology of the research project. However, the IRB will comment as necessary and make suggestions as to how the project can be improved.