University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Institutional Review Board

There are two types of Institutional Review Boards (IRB) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst: local and institution-wide.

Unfunded research by faculty and graduate students, as well as research for undergraduate honors theses, is usually reviewed by a local IRB. Not all departments have a local review board; a full list of these boards and contact information is available here.

All funded scientific research that involves interacting or intervening with human subjects or participants and is conducted by a faculty member or graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst must receive prior approval from the institution-wide IRB. The IRB is responsible for ensuring that research plans comply with all laws and regulations, and that the risks to subjects are properly balanced against the potential scientific gains, in accordance with federal law. A more detailed discussion, as well as IRB contact information, is available here.

There are three levels of IRB review: expedited, exempt, and full board. Once the level of review has been determined, a research protocol is submitted via the e-protocol application.

Before submitting an IRB application, all researchers must complete an ethics education online training course through the Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI). If the research is grant-funded, certification of completion of CITI training must be attached to the protocol application. CITI courses are free and usually take about two hours to complete. More information is available here.

Please note that IRB review can take several weeks; be sure to plan your research timeline accordingly.

Resources

  • Details about the submission and filing process are available here.
  • Consent templates are available here.
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about the UMass IRB process are available here and here.