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Protection of Human Subjects

Welcome to the IRB Home

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.