Three questions to help you determine if your proposed project requires ERRB approval:

1) Have you designed a study to collect information in a systematic way to answer a research question or to analyze identifiable information collected by someone else (e.g. as part of a senior project or preliminary research that you may draw on for a senior project)?

2) Does your proposed project involve:

  • Interacting with living human beings in order to gather data about them, using methods such as interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, and participant observation, or
  • Conducting interventions with living human beings such as experiments and manipulations of subjects or subjects’ environments, or
  • Observing or recording private behavior (behavior which individuals have a reasonable expectation will not be observed and recorded), or
  • Obtaining private identifiable information that has been collected about or provided by individuals, such as a school record or identifiable information collected by another researcher or organization

 3) Will the results of your research circulate in the public domain (outside the setting of a single class), for example: will it be put online, archived in COA’s library as a senior thesis, be presented at a conference or other such setting, be published or otherwise distributed?

If your answers to all three of the above questions are yes, you likely need ERRB approval before you can begin your research. If you are unsure whether your research requires ERRB approval, please meet with your project director for guidance. If they are unable to clarify, send an email with a 250-word summary of your proposed project so we can assist you.


To submit your proposal to the ERRB, please do the following:

  • Click on the link to the ERRB proposal form below and fill it out. Meet with your project director about your ERRB proposal and send them a written version of your ERRB proposal for feedback. Once they approve it as ready for submission, obtain their signature on the form.
  • Submit your ERRB proposal electronically (with your project director’s signature) to


Your ERRB proposal must include the following:

1. A completed form, with your project director’s signature. 

2. Oral and/or written consent form(s)



DEADLINES AND REVIEW PROCESS TIMELINE: There is no fixed deadline for IRB proposals; you can submit them any time during the year.

TIMELINE: It can take up to 3 weeks for the ERRB to review your proposal during the academic year. Once we have reviewed it and notified applicants of our decision, you may need to revise and resubmit. Research that requires ERRB approval cannot begin until this approval is obtained. ERRB approval cannot be granted retroactively for research that has already begun. Researchers (including students and their project directors who sign on as Principal Investigators (PIs)) may be held legally liable in the case of any violations of these requirements.

Given the above, please submit your ERRB proposal at least 6 weeks in advance of when you plan to begin your research. Please take registration deadlines for senior project credits and other coursework that may involve research requiring ERRB approval into account. Once we have reviewed your proposal, we will contact you and your project director with our decision. If you need to revise and resubmit, we will likely request a meeting with you (and ideally also with your advisor) to go over your proposal and address any questions that you and ERRB members may have. We will return a decision to you on a revised proposal within a week from the date of resubmission.