How to Apply

Now available!

IRB applications can now be submitted EITHER using the traditional hard copy way OR using our new online submission system called “Cayuse IRB.”

BOTH types of applications will be accepted until the end of Spring Semester, 2017.

If you choose to use our new online system:

  • Be sure to click here to download the instructions for online submission using the new Cayuse System. Please do not attempt to use this system without using these instructions.


If you have never submitted an IRB application at USD, the online system will NOT recognize you. Lori must first set up your information before you begin an online application. Email Lori with a message that you are a first-time IRB applicant and want to use the IRB online system. Be sure to specify your role (student, faculty, staff). If you are a student, please include your faculty advisor’s name.

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.