Institutional Review Board

Claremont McKenna College maintains an Institutional Review Board (IRB), as mandated by Federal Law, in order to ensure that researchers who are part of the CMC community protect the dignity, privacy, and safety of the participants they recruit for their research. In addition, the IRB serves to protect the dignity, privacy, and safety of everyone in the CMC community when they choose to participate in research.

If you are doing research that involves working with living human beings, you may need to get permission from the IRB before you begin. Research that involves interviewing other people, distributing surveys, conducting experiments on people, or even observing particular people in their daily lives is normally what we call "research on human subjects," and all such research requires some level of approval from the IRB.

Please see the “Policies” section of this web site to determine whether you need to apply for IRB approval of your research. This website will help you determine whether your research qualifies as research on human subjects, get answers to frequently asked questions, and submit electronic web applications and forms.

The IRB application process

Once you determine that your research needs IRB approval you should take the following steps:

  1. Training for research with human participants. Before submitting an IRB application, researchers must read the Belmont Report and complete CITI training for protecting human research participants. CITI training is available to CMC researchers through the W.M. Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges. When creating a new CITI account, specify “W.M. Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges” as your affiliated subscriber organization (you should still use your CMC email address for personal information). After completing the registration process, select “Social-Behavioral Education (SBE) Comprehensive” from the course menu. All of the CITI program online course modules are self-paced and may be interrupted and resumed. Training time varies depending on your prior preparation and other factors, usually entailing up to nine hours. There is no cost to CMC-affiliated applicants for the use of this site. Questions about CITI training may be directed to

Important note for federal grants: All personnel (faculty, staff, students, etc.) conducting research supported through a federal grant, are required to complete the CITI course on Responsible Conduct of Research, which includes training in human subjects’ research. Instead of completing the “Social-Behavioral Education (SBE) Comprehensive” course noted above, please select the “Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research” course. If you are conducting research with clinical biomedical populations, you should also complete the “Biomedical (Biomed) Comprehensive” course.

  1. Research summary. A summary of the proposed research must be submitted as an attachment to the application web form. A template for the research summary can be found here. Note that in this summary you must clearly describe whether the information you collect will be anonymous or confidential. A clear differentiation of the two can be found here.
  2. Informed consent. Before participating in research it is important that participants are aware of the objectives of the research, the procedures to be followed, the associated risks, and the potential benefits. More detailed information about informed consent policies at CMC can be found on our policies page and you can follow this link for a Consent Form Example.
  3. Application form. You can submit materials for IRB applications, addendums, renewals and exemption using the web interface on our forms page. Please make sure to attach your research summary, informed consent and any additional materials.
  4. Review. IRB applications will initially be reviewed by the IRB coordinator. Exempt and expedited applications are reviewed by the IRB chair or a committee member. If an application requires a full board review (see policies), the committee must be convened to review the application. The timetable for this process is dependent on the level of review required.
  5. Approval. If an IRB application is approved the principle investigator will be notified by email.
  6. Additional steps for survey research. If your research entails administering surveys to any CMC sample you will need to obtain permission from the appropriate Vice President as outlined by the CMC survey policy.