Institutional Review Board - Human Subjects Committee

We Want to Protect Your Rights

In compliance with Federal laws and regulations, Fitchburg State University (FSU) has established an Institutional Review Board (IRB) for reviewing research with humans, known as the Human Subjects Committee (HSC). The primary goal of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to protect the rights and welfare of those individuals who agree to participate in research.

All research involving the use of human subjects conducted by Fitchburg State University faculty, staff, or students, or sponsored, in part or in whole, by Fitchburg State must be reviewed and approved prior to the start of the project and then conducted in full compliance with IRB policies and procedures.

Prior to Submitting an IRB Application

Prior to completing an application, please review the Fitchburg State University Institutional Review Board Policies and Procedures (PDF)

Prior to submitting an IRB proposal, the Human Subjects Committee requires that each member of a research team (including faculty advisors) complete the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Human Participant Protections Education for Research Teams

This free, web-based course presents information about the rights and welfare of human participants in research. You will need to register to take the tutorial however there is no charge for it. The two-hour tutorial is designed for those involved in conducting research involving human participants. It satisfies the NIH human subjects training requirement for obtaining federal funds. You will have the option of printing a certificate of completion from your computer after completing the course. Certificates of completion are good for 3 years from the date of completion.

The Application Process

Download a copy of the Fitchburg State University Application for the Conduct of Research Involving Human Subjects. This application is a Microsoft Word Form that should be saved to your computer and completed as an electronic form.


  1. All members of the research team (including faculty advisors) should complete the online National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Human Participant Protections Education for Research Teams tutorial
  2. Applicants should review the IRB Policies and Procedures manual
  3. Applicants should complete the Fitchburg State University Application for the Conduct of Research Involving Human Subjects. Your responses to each question/item should be explained in language simple enough for a layperson to understand. In addition, the application should be filled out completely. Applications will not be reviewed until complete.
  4. Applicants should submit a completed application, including a signed copy of the signature page and certificates of completion for the online NIH tutorial, along with any relevant supporting documents (e.g., copies of surveys, informed consent forms) via email to:

Please Note: The Signature Page of the application must be signed in order for applications to be reviewed. Signed applications may be scanned (into .pdf format; photos of signature pages will not be accepted) and emailed to the committee.

Informed Consent

Most research studies will require obtaining informed consent from participants before data collection can begin. We are happy to consult with you on drafting an appropriate consent form for your study, so please don't hesitate to contact us.

Click here for more information or suggestions on creating informed consent documents

This is an example of what an informed consent document should look like from Gallaudet University's IRB (PDF)

IRB Meetings

The Human Subjects Committee meets once a month throughout the Fall and Spring semester. As a result, your application may not be reviewed for up to four weeks after submission and if major revisions are required may require more time prior to approval. Please plan your timeline accordingly.

Meeting Dates for 2016-17:

  • September 29 (@ 3:30 pm)
  • October 25 (@ 3:30 pm)
  • November 22 (@ 3:30 pm)
  • January 31 (@ 3:30 pm)
  • February 28 (@ 3:30 pm)
  • March 28 (@ 3:30 pm)
  • April 25 (@ 3:30 pm)
  • May TBA

*Meetings are on Tuesdays. In order for committee members to have adequate time to review your materials prior to the meetings, all applications (and supporting materials) must be received by the Thursday prior to a scheduled meeting. Materials received after this will not be reviewed until the next month's meeting.

**Meeting minutes are available upon request

***All meetings are open and applicants may elect to attend meetings if they so choose (although this is not required).

****The FSU Human Subjects Committee only reviews time-sensitive applications during summer months (e.g., those needing approval to ensure grant funding). Applications deemed not to be time-sensitive will be reviewed in the next Fall semester.

Contacting the Human Subjects Committee

We're here to help! Please don't hesitate to contact the Human Subjects Committee with any questions at