How to Apply

1. Plan your timeline

  • Except in rare cases of applications requiring a full-level review, there are no deadlines for submitting an IRB application.
  • Researchers are advised to allow for a minimum of 30 days from the initial preparation of the IRB application to final approval.
  • Researchers must take responsibility for adequate time planning- the USD IRB is unable to process applications on an emergency basis.

2. Begin the application

  • Students should work with their faculty advisor or mentor in preparing an application.
  • Faculty should consult with their academic unit's IRB Representative for any questions regarding the application process.
  • Researchers not affiliated with USD must locate a full-time USD faculty member to serve as their USD sponsor, and collaborate with the sponsor in preparing the application.

3. Complete the application

  • Download the IRB application.
  • While the application is designed to be self-explanatory, you may wish to consult your IRB representative regarding the level of review you are requesting (exempt, expedited, full).
  • Give yourself adequate time to complete the application. Do not delete any text, except the red example text - it is there for a purpose.
  • When you are done, print out a hard copy.

4. Assemble the appendices

It is essential to attach a hard copy of all research materials as appendices to your application, including:

  • A Consent Form (if applicable)
  • All study questionnaires. The materials must be in the same format as you will give to your research participants.
  • Any scripts or interview questions you will use.
  • An IRB training certificate for every person named on the application, unless a certificate is already on file in the Provost's Office.

5. Obtain signatures

Before your IRB Representative can sign your application, he/she must read it. Please allow enough time for your IRB Representative to read it. All researchers must obtain the signatures of:

  • Your school/college IRB representative.
  • Your Dean or administrator of your academic unit.
  • Students must obtain their Faculty Advisor's signature.
  • Researchers not affiliated with USD must obtain their USD Sponsor's signature.

6. Submit your application

Submit one hard copy in a manila envelope to:

  • Ms. Lori Ermac-Nash, Office of the Provost, HC-214.
  • Be sure to keep a copy of all materials you submit.

7. How you will be notified

  • You will receive an email notification from Dr. Thomas Herrinton, Associate Provost and IRB Administrator.
  • The email will have an official notification form attached, called the Project Action Summary (PAS).
  • Be sure to download and keep a copy of the PAS- it is your responsibility as a researcher to keep this official record.
  • A signed, hard copy of the PAS will be sent to you via campus mail within a week. Please note that when a student is the PI, the hard copy PAS is sent to the Faculty Advisor.

8. If you need to make any changes to your study after receiving approval

  • Sometimes researchers need to make changes to an already approved study, such as adding a new data collection site.
  • If you are making such a change, you must obtain IRB approval before proceeding.
  • To obtain approval, download and submit the Request for Modification Form from the Forms web page.

9. When you complete your research project

  • When your study is concluded, you must document its completion with a Summary Form.
  • Download and submit the Summary Form from the Forms web page.
  • The Summary Form must be signed by the researcher and his/her faculty advisor (if applicable).

10. If your research project continues for more than one year

  • If your study will continue for more than one year past the original IRB approval date, you must submit a Continuation Form.  In order to continue the research, the Continuation Form must be submitted within the calendar year. 
  • Download and submit the Continuation Form from the Forms web page.
  • The Continuation Form must be signed by the researcher, his/her faculty advisor (if applicable), your school/college IRB Representative, and your Dean.

Contact Information

Institutional Review Board
Hughes Center 214
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110

Phone: (619) 260-4553

Office Hours

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.