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Institutional Review Board

Other Degree Students and Research Projects

Determining whether you need to submit a PHIRST application.

All student-initiated (JHSPH IRB Policy No. 103.02_Student Investigators) projects must be submitted to the IRB for a determination as to whether they qualify as “Not Research” (NR), “Not Human Subjects Research” (NHSR), “Human Subjects Research” (HSR) Exempt from IRB Review, or HSR requiring IRB review. Students may use the IRB Worksheet or the IRB guidance flowchart to give them some idea as to what that determination is likely to be, but the determination itself must be made by the IRB. The IRB office will provide the student documentation of its determination or advise the student if the submission of a new PHIRST application is required. (Student Launch Pad)

The “IRB Office Determination Request forms” may be used for all student- or post-doc initiated projects when they may be useful to have the IRB’s preliminary opinion on whether a project requires a PHIRST submission and IRB review.  Regardless of whether IRB review is required, all students should apply ethical principles in their interactions with human participants and/or their data. 

There are several tools you may use to help you determine whether or not your project requires IRB oversight.  The first is the guidance posted on the IRB Guidance and Policies page called “What needs review by IRB?”  The MPH office has converted this guidance into a SurveyMonkey program called “IRB Worksheet” which is available to everyone.  The IRB Worksheet includes two forms, one is the IRB Office Determination Request Form: Secondary Data Analysis, and the other is the IRB Office Determination Request Form: Primary Data Collection.  If you are not an MPH student seeking guidance on a Capstone project, you may still submit one of these forms to the IRB Office via email to