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Cumberlands Institutional Review Board

Institutional Review Board

The primary purpose of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects in all research, class projects and related activities. IRB ensures institutional compliance with all federal and state regulations regarding human subjects’ research.
No research involving human subjects at UC may be conducted by faculty, staff, students or external investigators without IRB approval. IRB approval is also required for research conducted at locations external to the university.
The Institutional Review Board is guided by the standards of U.S. government agencies (Code of Federal Regulations Title 45, Part 46).

What is subject to IRB review?

All projects that involve human research subjects are subject to review by the IRB prior to the initiation of the study.  The following definitions are used to determine whether a study is subject to IRB review.
According to the Office for Human Research Protections (, a human subject is a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research: (i) Obtains information or biospecimens through intervention or interaction with the individual, and uses, studies, or analyzes the information or biospecimens; or (ii) Obtains, uses, studies, analyzes, or generates identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens.

Research is defined as “a systematic investigation, including research, development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.”  A systematic investigation is an activity that involves a prospective plan incorporating data collection (quantitative or qualitative) and data analysis to answer a question.   Investigations designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge are those that are designed to draw general conclusions, inform policy, or facilitate change in practice. 

What is not subject to IRB review?

Projects that are part of a class learning experience if there is no intention of using the results for any purpose other than a class assignment. The sole purpose of the activity is to serve as a learning experience to help students understand the process of conducting research, and the focus is not on producing meaningful results.  In these cases, only the student and instructor have access to the results, and the project’s purpose ends when a grade is assigned.  However, some class assignments have a larger purpose which may make them subject to IRB review. For example, IRB approval should be obtained prior to data collection if the data collected in the class assignment becomes used for a thesis project or plans to share the results with an outside audience. Thesis or dissertation projects conducted to meet degree requirements are subject to IRB review and approval any time human subjects are involved. 

For questions about IRB, please contact the Director of Ethics and Research at

Required CITI Training

To protect everyone in the process of research, all students and faculty involved in research at the University of the Cumberlands must complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI)  Basic course in the Social and Behavioral module. Students will be required to provide a certificate of completion along with their IRB application and materials as a course assignment during their enrollment in the Advanced Research Methods course.

The basic course is completed the first time and then the refresher course every three years thereafter. 

It takes approximately 3 hours to complete the training and users can log in and complete the modules as they have time.  Upon completion of the modules, a certificate will be awarded. 

CITI Training Instructions

Additional IRB and Research Student Resources

Ready to submit your IRB application or looking for more resources? Students should enroll in the IRB and Research organization find within iLearn.

IRB and Research Organization Enrollment Instructions (OneDrive LINK)