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IRB Update

Welcome to the IRB Home

The following pages and links detail the Institutional Review Board for Protection of Human Subjects in Research(IRB). The guidance within applies only to students, faculty, and staff of American University in Washington, DC as researchers or research subjects.

Research conducted by American University affiliates using human participants is overseen by American University's IRB. Its purpose is to facilitate human subjects research and to ensure the rights and welfare of human subjects are protected during their participation.

All Human Subjects Research conducted by students, faculty, or staff of American University must receive approval from the American University IRB. If your research meets the definitions of both research and human subjects, you must complete the IRB process.To view the definitions based on federal guidelines, click here.

The IRB has determined that most classroom research, many oral history projects, and some review of preexisting data will not require IRB approval.

Click here for details and exceptions.

Use the IRB Determination Tool to find out if your study will need IRB approval or not.

American University upholds the highest standards in the ethical conduct of research, including the protection of human participants, while enabling its faculty, staff and students to conduct research in a timely and efficient manner.  The primary mission of the American University Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to facilitate those objectives by reviewing, approving, modifying or disapproving research protocols submitted by AU researchers.

The IRB process is based on rules and regulations for federally funded research, primarily the provisions of Protection of Human Subject in the Code of Federal Regulations (45 CFR 46), and supporting materials such as the Belmont Report. The AU IRB strives to create on campus a culture of respect for, and awareness of, the rights and welfare of human research participants, while advancing knowledge and facilitating the highest quality research

There are several steps to receive IRB approval for your research. Click here to review the process.

Click here for information about training opportunities


All completed protocols certified by a faculty Principal Investigator (PI) are reviewed as they are received. Most protocols will be reviewed for exemption or fall under expedited review. Protocols requiring Full Board review must be received two weeks prior to a meeting. Meetings generally convene on Wednesday afternoons once or twice a month, holiday weeks excepted. Completed protocols received after the deadline will be reviewed at the following IRB meeting.

All IRB protocol application forms are submitted via Cayuse IRB. To obtain access to the system, please use the Cayuse Account Request form. Please note that student researchers must have a faculty advisor to add an account and to certify the protocol application. Questions should be directed to the IRB coordinator.

To review the procedures for IRB review of allegations of noncompliance, click here.