Research is essential to understanding

As an institution of higher learning, our mission supports research as a vital part of increasing understanding of the world we live in as well as to enhance the lives of the people residing in our communities and beyond. Our employees and students, as well as external investigators may be permitted to conduct research that meets certain standards of integrity and purpose that are consistent with the vision of Maricopa Community Colleges.

Role of the Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Human Subjects Research (HSR) can be defined as "research involving living individuals or collecting identifiable private information about living individuals to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge."

The role of the Maricopa County Community Colleges District Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to review all proposed research involving human subjects to ensure that subjects are treated ethically and that their rights and welfare are adequately protected. All research activities involving the use of human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the IRB before data collection can begin. Investigators may not solicit subject participation or begin data collection until they have received written approval from the IRB.

The IRB is composed primarily of faculty members from disciplines in which research involving human subjects is integral to that discipline's work, administrators who have responsibility for research, institutional researchers, and additionally, board members from the community.

To obtain IRB approval

Follow the process below to request permission for research involving human subjects. If you have questions as to whether your research qualifies as Human Subjects Research (HSR), please contact the IRB Office.

Step 1: Complete required HSR training

Everyone, in other words, students, employees, and external investigators, must complete human subjects research (HSR) training. If you are uncertain about whether you need to complete this training, find more information in the FAQs or contact IRB.

Enroll in and complete the National Institutes of Health (NIH) training ( where you will learn more about the guidelines for HSR.

This training is free, and the certificate is valid for two years.

Once you complete the requirement, you apply for IBR review of your proposed research.

Note: The certificate issued by Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) is acceptable as well.

Step 2: Prepare to submit your IRB Application

Employees and External Applicants/Investigators

Obtain institutional approval from the Vice President of Academic Affairs of the college(s) you intend to use as site of the study. In your request to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, please address the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the research?
  • What methodology will the researcher employ?
    • Who are the intended participants of the study?
    • What is the research design of the study?
    • What data will be collected as part of the study? Be specific.
  • How will the college or MCCCD  benefit from the research?
  • How will the results of the study be used or published?
  • What is the researcher's relationship to the college or MCCCD?
  • What resources (e.g., personnel, departments, technologies) of the college or MCCCD will be used for this study?

Note: If the study involves more than five colleges in the district, you will need to obtain districtwide approval from the IRB.


If you are a student co-investigator, complete the application form. Your instructor can provide additional guidance. For more information about a student serving as co-investigator, see also the IRB FAQs.

Step 3: Obtain eProtocol Login

All required to do so should contact the IRB Coordinator to request a login ID to access the e-Protocol application form.

Step 4: Submit the IRB Application

Employees and External Applicants/Investigators

For those who are required to do so, request IRB approval, then complete and submit the application form (


Note: See Step 2 above for the application form. Once completed, submit the application.

Access additional resources

Here we provide more information to assist you with the application process and understanding requirements.