Institutional Review Board (IRB)

General Information

Any member of the Barnard College faculty, staff, postdoctoral, and student bodies who plans to initiate research involving human subjects must submit a protocol for IRB review prior to beginning the project.

The Barnard IRB meets on the second Monday of every month while classes are in session, and as needed during the summer recess. In order to assure a timely review, please submit your application to the IRB at least two weeks before a scheduled meeting.

Most submissions to the IRB will fit into one of the three categories listed below.

New Proposal

Before initiating any research, the PI will need to provide the Barnard IRB with a completed copy of the Barnard College Application for the Review of a Human Subjects Research Protocol in a New Project.

Supporting materials to be submitted with this form include:

  • Pending or approved funding proposals that include any of the studies described in this application
  • Consent forms
  • Any flyers, emails, or letters that will be used to solicit research participants
  • Certificates of completion of the online Human Subjects Protection Training module for all researchers involved in the proposed research (see FAQs for questions about this)

Continuing Research Proposal

All continuing research projects must be reviewed annually. If your research protocols were reviewed by the Barnard IRB at the time of an initial proposal, you may simplify the application for an annual review of the continuing project by completing the Application for the Review of a Human Subjects Research Protocol in a Continuing Project.

Applications for Research Conducted by Barnard Undergraduates

Research projects being conducted by Barnard undergraduates as part of a classroom exercise are not reviewed by the Barnard IRB.  If the researched data may be used as part of a larger published project, then IRB approval must be obtained.  However, the research mentor and the student researcher should complete the Student as PI Worksheet.

A copy of this completed form should be retained by the student and the mentor until the research project is complete.

This form is intended for pedagogically oriented undergraduate research. It is not appropriate for research projects initiated by Barnard faculty that include student research assistants.

Project Termination

To terminate a research project, the PI should provide the Barnard IRB with a completed copy of the Termination of a Research Protocol Involving Human Subjects form

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional questions about IRB matters should be directed to the Barnard IRB Chairs via

Where can I read more about the regulations guiding my research?

You can read more about current regulations for the Protection of Human Subjects on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website

The National Science Foundation has FAQs and vignettes on interpreting the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects.

How do I complete the Human Subjects Protection Training module?

Barnard and Columbia faculty and students may complete this module by logging into the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative website and clicking on the link to the Training Center. Once you have completed this training, you can save a copy of your training certificate as a pdf file, which you can submit to the Barnard IRB along with your research proposal.

What are the necessary components of Informed Consent?

See "§46.116 General requirements for informed consent" in The Common Rule for the Protection of  Human Subjects.

Is my research exempt from Barnard IRB Review?

Any research involving human subjects conducted by Barnard faculty or students must be approved unless the IRB designates it as exempt from review.

Information about the criteria for determining exemption is included in the IRB Application Form. Additional information about exemption can be obtained from "§46.101 To what does this policy apply?" in The Common Rule for the Protection of  Human Subjects.