Office of Academic Enrichment Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry

Human and Animal Research Subjects

Research involving human or animal subjects is subject to federal regulations and oversight to protect their rights and welfare. Learn more about working with live subjects below.

Human Subjects and the Institutional Review Board

Any undergraduate conducting research with human subjects and their data may need to apply for approval of the proposed research project from Ohio State's Office of Responsible Research Practices (ORRP) Institutional Review Board (IRB). The purpose of applying for IRB approval for your research is to ensure that the rights, dignity, welfare, and privacy of human subjects are protected, in accordance with federal regulations.

Below is some basic information about the requirements to conduct human subjects research and the process of IRB approval. More information is available at Protecting Human Subjects in Research at Ohio State.

Does my project need IRB approval?

It is always best to discuss whether your project will need IRB approval with your faculty advisor and ORRP.

How do I submit an application for IRB approval?

All applications must be submitted online by an eligible PI using the Buck-IRB online submission system.

How long does the process of IRB approval take?

Depending on the nature of your proposed research project, it can take 4-12 weeks after submitting an application to receive a decision from the IRB. It is crucial to begin the process of applying for IRB approval well in advance of the intended start date for your proposed research.

Do you have more questions about IRB approval or processes?

Contact Jake Stoddard.13, Associate Director for IRB Operations and Data Analytics, or the main Office of Responsible Research Practices at


Animal Subjects and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

Research involving animals is also subject to federal regulations and oversight to protect animal subjects. It is extremely rare for an undergraduate researcher to need their own Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol for research activities as the faculty research mentor should have an existing, approved protocol in place. Undergraduate researchers usually only need to complete online safety and/or ethics training to be added to existing, approved IACUC protocols in order to participate in research activities involving animal subjects.

If you have more questions, visit the IACUC page on the Office of Responsible Research Practices website.