This page can help to guide you through your human-subjects research submission to the St. Edward's University Institutional Review Board (IRB).

A Ten-Step Overview of the Process

In general, the following ten steps will occur with each non-exempt IRB submission:

  1. The researcher determines whether or not their activity qualifies for a Request for Exemption. If so, please email your request.

  2. The researcher ensures that their mandatory CITI ethics training is up to date.

  3. The researcher downloads and completes the IRB Application Guide when organizing all required information.

  4. The researcher submits their non-exempt proposal via the SEU IRB Portal referencing their prepared IRB Application Guide.

  5. The IRB reviews the proposal with an eye for participant protections and offers feedback.

  6. The researcher uploads their revised documents and replies to the IRB through the SEU IRB Portal, highlighting all revisions.

  7. The IRB may approve the project OR request further revisions as needed.

  8. The researcher is given an approval letter (which may expire after one year).

  9. When data collection has come to an end, the researcher will immediately submit a Study Closure Form.

  10. The researcher will retain their data for a minimum of 3 years after completion of the study (per DHHS regulations).

Required Researcher Training

Required Researcher Training

All submission requests must include a certificate of completion for each researcher from the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). The average learner spends 4.5 hours on this training. A refresher course takes roughly 2 hours. Learn how to create an account here.

Review Timeline 

"Hope for three weeks but plan for six" when estimating how long it will take to receive IRB approval. We try to review expedited proposals within 20 days of receipt. Delays should be expected around Exams and the Holidays. Keep in mind that the IRB does NOT review non-exempt proposals over the summer and exemption submissions may be processed at a slower rate during these months.

General Tips

  • If your human-subjects activity qualifies for an exemption, please submit a formal exemption request to IRB [at]
  • All non-exempt proposals should be submitted via the SEU IRB Portal before data collection may begin. All other requests can be sent as attachments to IRB [at]
  • If you are unsure whether your project will require an ethics review, please ask a member of the IRB or email IRB [at] for advice.
  • Keep in mind that ALL human-subjects research must receive IRB approval before data collection may begin AND that the IRB cannot give post-facto approval. If you begin human subjects research without IRB approval, then your data, by law, will be confiscated for violating human subjects protections.
  • Additional guidance can be found in the tabs below.