Application Process

All investigators involved in a research project must complete online CITI Training prior to submitting an application for approval. 

Investigators may NOT conduct human subjects research activities until they have obtained IRB approval.


Who approves research projects?
Ferris State University's Institutional Review Board (IRB) approves all research projects involving human subjects. The IRB's responsibilities include overseeing the protection of the rights and welfare of human subjects. Committee members are composed of Ferris faculty and community members with various backgrounds and research interests. For more information on committee members, visit the committee webpage.


Step-by-Step Process
1. All investigators (employees and students) involved in a research project must complete CITI Training with a score of 80% or better before submitting their application to the IRB. In addition, faculty and students in the Education, Criminal Justice, Pharmacy, Optometry, and Nursing departments need to complete supplementary required modules. Investigators receiving external funding are required to complete the training for Responsible Conduct of Research as well.

  • Modules are categorized based on type of research being conducted. See CITI training instructions for more details.  

2. Submit application for approval to at least one month before the intended starting date. Step by step instructions are available to aid in correctly filling out the application.

  • The Office of Academic Research communicates with the Principal Investigator after submission to verify that the application has been received, typically within one to two business days.


Time Frame for Application Review
Estimated time span for the review and approval process is determined by type of review, as well as accuracy and completeness of applications submitted. A delay in review may be expected between semesters, during final examination periods and university closures.

  • Exempt & Expedited Projects: minimum of 14 working days
  • Full Committee Projects: reviewed at monthly meetings


Approval Criteria
The IRB determines approval of a project based on the following criteria:

  • Research design and procedures do not unnecessarily cause risk to subjects
  • Risks to subjects are determined to be reasonable in relation to any anticipated benefits
  • Selection of subjects is unbiased, and extra protections are in place for vulnerable populations
  • Informed consent will bee obtained and documented in writing each prospective subject or the subject's legal guardian, unless a consent waiver has been granted (see Consent Instructions for more details)
  • When appropriate, adequate provisions are in place to monitor data privacy and confidentiality


Application Expiration and Reports
Per the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR Title 45) for using human subjects in research, annual follow-up reports for all approved research protocols, exempt, expedited and full, are required. 
Investigators must submit either a final report for completed projects or a request for extension for continuing projects. Requests for extension need to be submitted 30 days before the project's expiration date. 

  • Exempt projects expire three years after the approval date. 
  • Expedited and Full Committee Projects expire one year after the approval date. 


If the research project is ongoing, but changes need to be made to the approved protocol that would substantially alter the methods and procedures initially reviewed and approved by the IRB, a summary of the changes is required for IRB review; a request for revisions form will need to be submitted before any changes may be implemented. 

 revised 12/2014