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Student Course Research & Independent Study

Student researchers who are conducting human subject research as independent student research or as part of their course or club/organization, must be knowledgeable of human subject research, including ethics, and must meet the mandatory training requirement.

Course research projects conducted by students for the primary purpose of a learning experience in the methods and procedures of research usually do not meet the federal definition of research. However, guidelines that define best practices in research ethics strongly recommend that course research projects are independently reviewed and that appropriate human subject protections are in place.

Therefore, it is CCCC’s policy that classroom or course projects that involve data gathering from human subjects must obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for their project prior to conducting the activity.


Please complete the& IRB Course Research Review Form. All steps below are also outlined on the form.

Human Subjects Protection Training

  • Principal investigators (Instructors with course research projects, research sponsors and students with independent research projects) must complete the NIH Online Course in Human Subjects Protection. Please send the certificate of completion to:
  • Students conducting course research must either complete the NIH training for principle investigators (above) or view an alternate educational video and complete the quiz. The video and the quiz are embedded in the IRB Moodle shell.
  • The course instructor needs to contact the IRB office to set up the training module for the class within the IRB Moodle shell.
  • Develop and submit a IRB Elements of Informed Consent for the project. The consent form should contain all the elements of informed consent outlined.
  • The course instructor will retain the signed consent forms for three years.
  • Submit any additional materials to be used in the project (e.g. survey instruments, questionnaires, recruitment flyers or brochures, etc.) to:


  • American Psychological Association (2012) Guidelines for Ethical Conduct of Behavioral Projects Involving Human Participants by High School Students (
  • American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57(12),1060-1073.
  • The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects in Biomedical and Behavioral Research. (1978). The Belmont Report: Ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research (PDF, 1MB).Retrieved November 8, 2011

See also: IRB Procedures Manual