Application Process

As of January 2014, 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 (faculty, staff, or students) involved in a research project must complete CITI Training with a score of 80% or better before submitting their application to the IRB. Faculty and students in the Education, Criminal Justice, Pharmacy, Optometry, Nursing departments must complete additional required modules. 

  • 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 immediately after submission to verify that the application has been received. 


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 Projects: within 10 working days
  • Expedited Projects: within 5 weeks
  • Full Committee Projects: Within 6 weeks; depending on committee meeting schedule


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
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.