IRB Application

The IRB review of human subjects research is the process through which Berklee ensures the safe and responsible conduct of any such research carried out on behalf of the institution. Researchers, whether faculty, students, or staff, are expected to submit an application for any project that constitutes human subjects research (see the IRB page for more information) using participants from Berklee. Researchers from other institutions who wish to include Berklee students, faculty, staff, or alumni as human subjects must also submit an application to the IRB. The steps for the application process and the necessary documentation are outlined below.

Before you submit your application, please review the Office for Human Research Protections decision charts on what is considered research and what needs IRB approval. After reviewing the information, if you have questions about whether your project needs IRB review, please contact the Berklee IRB at

  1. Complete the Protecting Human Research Participants online training course. You may complete this training module at your convenience and at your own pace. Remember that you must complete the course and attach the certificate to your application before your application can be submitted. Please email before registering for the course for information about subsidizing the course fee. Individuals who are receiving funding for their research project(s) are not eligible for the subsidy.
  2. Complete and submit a Berklee IRB application. The application and other helpful tools can be found below.
  3. Your application will be reviewed once the IRB receives your completed application. One of three actions will be taken, all based on the relevant federal regulations (45 CFR 46). The level of review is determined by the nature of your interaction with human subjects and the use of the data obtained, and only the IRB can make this determination.
    • The IRB may determine that your research is exempt from the requirements and can proceed without further review.
    • The IRB may determine that your research can receive an expedited review by the cochairs of the board without going before the full board. If the IRB determines that your project is exempt or qualifies for expedited review, you will receive a written communication approving your research and allowing you to move forward.
    • The IRB may determine that your research must receive a full board review. If your project requires full-board approval, you will be informed of the date and time of the board meeting at which your project will be reviewed. You will be informed and may be asked to attend the meeting where your proposal will be reviewed. If you are asked to attend a meeting, we request that any other co-investigators contributing significant effort to the research attend the meeting as well.
  4. Following the review of your submission, you will receive a formal response from the IRB. The response may include one of the following:
    • Your proposal will be approved without any required changes.
    • The IRB will provide you with a list of changes that must be made. When those changes are resubmitted, your proposal will be reviewed again. It is at the sole discretion of the IRB to determine if the changes have been satisfactorily made or not. 
    • If your application does not meet the requirements for IRB approval after a second review by the IRB, your proposal may be rejected.

Please keep in mind that any changes to the scope of your research after approval has been granted must be approved by the IRB. 

If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact the IRB at

Frequently Asked Questions