The following is the process for submitting an IRB proposal. Please contact the IRB Office with questions at

1. Before beginning a proposal, the researcher should review the definitions of research and human subject.

This tool from NIH can also help determine if the project qualifies as human subjects research, as does this federal chart (Chart 1). If the research meets the definitions of human subjects and research, the researcher must submit the project for review by the IRB. Go to the Frequently Asked Questions, Definitions subsection, to learn more. 

For faculty, if the project involves an Exempt Classroom project or Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, please review the information in the Frequently Asked QuestionsFaculty Researchers & Advisors subsection. 

2. All researchers must complete and submit a Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) for ethics in research. Follow the Steps to CITI certification PowerPoint to get certified.

  • Student researchers must submit a valid "Student Social Research" CITI certificate.
  • Student researchers must also obtain a valid "Faculty Social Research" CITI certificate from their faculty advisor to submit with their proposal.

3. The researcher should check the SEU IRB Proposal Types Flowchart to determine the correct application for their project (Exempt, Expedited, or Full Board Review).

CITI certificates for all researchers, plus all supporting materials, can be uploaded at the bottom of the online applications. 

4. The researcher should check all the details in the IRB application before submission, to avoid delays in approval.

Use this IRB Submission Checklist to ensure your project information is detailed and complete.

5. The IRB will determine the level of review required for the project.

The IRB Administrator will do an initial review of the materials and contact the researcher to clarify or request any missing information.

After corrections are received, the project will be designated Exempt, Expedited, or Full Board Review based on the level of potential risk to participants.

Read more about the review levels and the types of risks defined in the Frequently Asked Questions General, Definitions, and Research Subjects & Potential Risks subsections. 

6. The IRB reviews the proposal.

The proposal is assigned to faculty reviewers who will check for level of risk to subjects, paying attention to certain parts of the application as required by federal regulations. 

7. Faculty reviewers may approve the proposal, or request revisions.

If faculty reviewers decide the research protocols are thorough and sufficient, the researcher will receive an IRB Approval Letter signed by the IRB Chair. At that point, research may begin.

If faculty reviewers decide the proposal needs revisions, the IRB Administrator will email the researcher a Revisions Request Letter that will specify the requested changes. Researchers will follow the directions in the letter, highlighting any changes in the original documents before re-submission. The word REVISED must be included in the names of all re-submitted files. Revised documents will be sent to

8. The IRB will review the protocol again after revisions are received.

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

It is also possible that the IRB will grant Conditional Approval, meaning approval is contingent upon minor changes or additional required documentation that can be submitted later. These conditions would be explained in a Conditional Approval Letter. 

9. The researcher receives an IRB Approval Letter, which expires after one year.

10. The researcher will add the IRB Protocol ID number to their Consent Form and Recruitment documents, and will also use this number in future communication with the IRB.

If the research is Exempt, there will be no Protocol ID number and those sections are not necessary.

11. If the researcher needs to make changes to the project while the research is in progress, they must submit an IRB Modifications or Continuing Review Application.

12. If the research was designated Full Board Review, and data collection will extend beyond one (1) year, the researcher must submit an IRB Modifications or Continuing Review Application at least two weeks before the approval expiration date.

If IRB approval expires, the researcher must suspend data collection until a new IRB Approval Letter is received, extending the approval date.

13. The researcher must securely store all research data and relevant documentation for a minimum of three (3) years after study completion, as required by law.

14. For planning purposes, review the information below regarding IRB approximate timelines. 

Exempt proposals: Reviewed by the IRB Chair and the IRB Administrator only. Researchers should plan between 7-10 days for approval.

Expedited proposals: Two faculty reviewers are assigned. Researchers should plan between 14-21 days for approval.

Full Board Review proposals: These studies are reviewed by all voting IRB members, approximately 15 faculty. The full board only meets once a month, so researchers might have to wait up to 3-4 weeks to receive feedback. Check the Full Board Meeting Dates here. Researchers with Full Board proposals must submit AT LEAST fourteen (14) days in advance of a regularly scheduled meeting. In most cases, the researcher will receive IRB feedback shortly after the IRB meeting.