Student Researchers

Research conducted by all students at William Carey University is subject to the same policies and procedures as research conducted by faculty. University policy specifies that any research involving human subjects must be approved by the WCU Institutional Review Board. Please note that survey research and pilot studies do meet this definition and must be approved by the IRB before you send out questionnaires, interview subjects, or otherwise have contact with potential subjects. IRB approval prior to any subject contact is mandated by Federal Law and by policy of William Carey University.

Steps in the IRB Approval Process

1. Obtain training in the protection of human subjects.

The first step in the IRB approval process is to obtain the necessary training in the protection of human subjects. All faculty, students, and staff who have contact with human research subjects or human subject research data must receive online education.

The education program we use at William Carey University is called CITI Human Subjects Research Educational Program. Directions for CITI registration can be found here

2. Obtain appropriate permissions.

If you are writing a thesis, specialist project, or dissertation, have your proposal approved by your committee.  If you are an undergraduate student conducting research, have your research approved by your faculty mentor. 

3. Complete the IRB Application Form.

After signing and obtaining the signatures of your faculty research advisor, email the application to the IRB Office at When your application is submitted, the IRB review process will begin. IRB review consists of an administrative review by IRB staff members and a systematic review by some or all board members as appropriate to the nature of the research.

4. Respond promptly to any requests for additional information or clarifications.

You will be notified in writing by the IRB Chair when your study has been approved. Afterwards, you may begin your study. IRB review can take up to fifteen working days. Please plan accordingly.

Please remember that, first and foremost, the IRB wants to ascertain that (a) human subjects are protected from undue risk and (b) all federal, state, and local laws and University policies are being observed. In the review process, the primary question is whether risks to subjects are balanced by potential benefits to individual subjects or society. Sometimes, the IRB requests modifications to a study in order to clarify the documents, to minimize risks to subjects, or to bring the study into compliance with prevailing laws and regulations.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Mr. Reese Powell, IRB Chair, at

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