Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I know if I need IRB approval?
All research conducted by members of the Fordham community involving human subjects is subject to review and approval by the IRB.  All external research which hopes to use the Fordham body for the recruitment of subjects is also subject to IRB review and approval.  These statements remain true whether you are a member of Fordham's faculty, staff, or student body, and regardless of where the research is conducted, or if any funding that may be involved.

I am conducting research for a class project. Do I need to get IRB approval?
Research, as defined in Federal Regulations 45 CFR 46 and conducted by undergraduate and graduate students, is subject to federal regulations that require that all research protocols involving human subjects be reviewed by an Institutional Review Board. However, a number of schools and departments offer courses that require students to undertake projects in which other people are interviewed, observed, or otherwise serve as participants. The purposes of these course projects are to train students and to provide them with an opportunity to practice various research methods. These projects do not generally result in generalizable knowledge or publications and are not undertaken with these goals in mind. Therefore, the IRB does not consider them to be research and IRB review is not required. Such projects are considered "classroom exercises" and are typically quite limited in scope.

Please note the following restrictions:

  • Any data collected under these circumstances cannot be used for future theses or publications.  If the student might want to use these data for a future thesis or publication, the project requires IRB review and approval before the data are collected.
  • Any student-initiated and/or student-conducted research that is not a research practicum or internship, that uses human subjects, and that is undertaken with the intent to contribute to generalizable knowledge, requires IRB review and approval. This includes, but is not limited to, undergraduate and graduate honors, thesis, and dissertation research. 
  • All class research projects that involve protected groups as defined in Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations Part 46 (such as, but not limited to pregnant women, children, prisoners, institutionalized mentally ill patients) require IRB review even if there is no intention to publish results.

Please contact the IRB at if you are still not sure whether your research requires review.

What type of review should I apply for?
The three different types of review are expedited, full board, and exempt. To determine which type of review you should submit your protocol for, review the descriptions here.

Remember that for expedited and exempt review, you must also specify the numerical category.

I have completed my Protocol. Is that all I need to submit?
Forward to your completed protocol along with any informed consent letters, assent statements, etc. which are specific to your project to your project . Remember, every submission must include a copy of all research personnel's  CITI completion certificate.

Do I really need to take the CITI course?
As of 1/1/13, all new and continuing research submissions must include a copy of the completion report from CITI, the human subject protection online course. This applies to faculty research, student research and their faculty advisors. Your submission will not be considered complete if it does not include certificates of completion from all participating researchers.

If you are taking the course for the first time, please take the Social/Behavioral Research basic course. Completion certificates expire after three years. If you have already taken the CITI course and it is not expired, please complete the Social/Behavioral Research refresher Course.

How long will it take me to complete the CITI course?
From the CITI website: "The average learner spends approximately 4.5 hours to complete the Basic Course site with approximately 5 logins to complete the course. The average learner requires approximately 2 hours to complete a CITI Program 'Refresher Course.'" Please note that these estimations are generous and it often takes investigators significantly less time to complete either course.

How can I utilize the student pool for my research?

In order to query the student pool for participation in your research, you must forward your IRB approved email script to and CC In the email body, please include the following:

  • Dates of IRB Approval.
  • The IRB Approved message to be posted (either in the email or in a Word document).
  • Indication as to which group of students in the pool you want your message sent. (undergraduates, all students, all graduate students, etc).

Please note that the student pool is updated at the beginning of each Fall semester. Requests are accepted one month after the first day of Fall semester.


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