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Research Policy

Human Subjects Research

Institutional Review Board for Research on Human Subjects (IRB)

Submission and Review Guidelines

All proposals for research with human participants must go through the Institutional Review Board for Research with Human Subjects (IRB) before any data is collected.

The purpose of the IRB is to ensure that the rights of participants in human research are protected, in line with the federal guidelines (45 CFR 46).  All investigators conducting research with human subjects should submit a proposal to the IRB for review, and should only conduct the research AFTER the proposal is reviewed and approved. The IRB will not grant approval for proposals submitted after the data has already been collected.

Please fill out the IRB Form A for new proposals.  Instructions for selecting the review category can be found on the last two pages of the document.  These instructions do not need to be submitted with the IRB proposal.  You can also review an example IRB.

Please send electronic versions of your IRB proposals to  Make sure to have all forms (the IRB proposal, consent form, debriefing form, measures, etc.) within one document if possible. 

Exempt/expedited proposals will typically be reviewed within five (5) business days of the date they are submitted to the review board.

Proposals requiring full committee review must be submitted by the due dates listed below to be considered at an IRB meeting.

IRB Meeting Date IRB Proposal Due Date

January 22

January 16 @ 4pm

February 5

January 30 @ 4pm

February 19

February 13 @ 4pm

March 4

February 27 @ 4pm

March 18

March 12 (Spring break) @ 4pm

March 25

March 19 @ 4pm

April 8

April 2 @ 4pm

April 22

April 16 @ 4pm


Proposals submitted over breaks will take additional time. 

Following review, the primary investigator will receive email notification of the outcome of the review. The proposal may be approved, or it may require changes or additional information that must then be resubmitted for review.  For all of these reasons, investigators are strongly encouraged to submit their exempt/expedited proposals at least three (3) weeks before they intend to start the project, and full committee proposals at least four (4) weeks before the data collection start date.

Most research proposal are approved for 1 year, unless otherwise specified.  For research that extends beyond 1 year, the investigator should submit a proposal for renewal (see next section).

Note: In accordance with the federal guidelines for research with human subjects, you must obtain informed consent from all of your research subjects. If the subject is a minor (age 17 or under), you must obtain written consent from a parent or guardian.


An important duty of the Institutional Review Board is to maintain a record of all active research protocols. Therefore, projects that have been previously approved by the Board must be re-submitted for renewal either 1 year after initial approval, or if the research project is modified.  Please complete and submit Section I of Form C for project renewals.

In instances of longitudinal research, the investigator must submit a brief paragraph that summarizes the findings of the study and the justifications for renewal. Please complete and submit Section II of Form C for longitudinal project renewals.

For Research Participants

Washington College students who are 17 and younger, but would like to participate in research, can have their parent/guardian fill out the Parental/Guardian Consent Form.  This form must be returned to the chair of the IRB (Dr. Tia Murphy, before participating in research.

If you have participated in research and feel that you were treated in an unprofessional manner or have concerns about your rights as a research participant, you can contact the Principal Investigator or the chair of the Review Board for Research with Human Subjects (Dr. Tia Murphy,


Professor Tia Murphy, Chair of IRB


Professor Caddie Putnam Rankin, IRB Member, Social Science Division Representative


Professor Alicia Kozma, IRB Member, Humanities and Fine Arts Division Representative


Professor Emerald Stacy, IRB Member, Natural Science Division Representative