Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a federally mandated committee which reviews all research involving human subjects. In accordance with the federal policy on the protection of human subjects (45 CFR 46), the University of Massachusetts Amherst is responsible for protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects of research conducted by, or under the supervision of, its faculty, staff and students.

The IRB’s charge is to ensure that the risks accompanying research never outweigh the potential benefits derived from the research. In its review of projects involving human subjects the IRB seeks to balance the risks to subjects against the scientific knowledge to be gained and the potential benefits to the subjects and/or society, as well as ensure that all projects comply with all applicable federal and state regulations and policies. Research is reviewed by one of three types of review depending on the nature of the study (See Types of Review).

In the past, minimal risk human subject research that was not funded, was eligible to be reviewed at the local (departmental or college) level if a local board existed. However, beginning January 2016, all the previously existing local boards have been incorporated into the University’s IRB. The Human Research Protection Office has developed resources specifically tailored to assist the departments as they transition from previously existing local boards  to the IRB. For more information please contact our office by phone at 413.545.3428 or via email at

If you have any other questions please contact