If you are involved in human subjects research, please be sure that you are in compliance with all applicable policies.

Failure to do so will prevent us from processing student financial support in the form of fellowships and research assistantships.

Sources of Information

Steps for determining MIT IRB requirements

1. Are you planning to engage in research involving human subjects as defined here

If NO, you do not need to follow the steps below.

2. Is this research performed under the auspices of MIT as defined here

Almost all HST student research is performed under the auspices of MIT. HST student research is not under the auspices of MIT only if all three of the following conditions are met:

  • The student is not receiving an MIT degree (that is, MD students or MEMP enrolled thru SEAS or Biophysics).
  • The student is not receiving any RA or fellowship funding processed through MIT.
  • The research does not involve any form of MIT support, including funding, personnel, facilities, or access to experimental subjects.

3. If your research is not under the auspices of MIT:

  • You do not need to follow the steps below.
  • You may be required to adhere to the policies of one or more institutions, such as your degree institution and/or the institution where your research is being conducted.

4. Is your research performed in an MIT lab and/or under the supervision of an MIT faculty member? 

If yes, your research supervisor must submit a full application to COUHES, listing you as an associated investigator. If a COUHES protocol for the project already exists, then it should be amended to add you as an investigator. Consult COUHES for details. You do not need to follow the step below.

5. If you got this far, it means that you plan to do human subject research under the auspices of MIT, but the research will take place at another institution and under the supervision of non-MIT faculty.
Instead of a full MIT application, your lab submits an IRB request through the Online Reliance System allowing MIT to cede review to your PI's institution. After an off-campus cede review has been submitted, reviewed and approved by COUHES, oversight of the IRB becomes the sole responsibility of the off-campus institution, with no future action required at MIT. Instructions can be found here. It is important that MIT is listed as the Relying Institution/IRB. When the cede review has been approved, please send a copy of the Determination notice to Laurie Ward at laurie [at] mit.edu.

In rare cases when the cede review process is not an option, students should submit the limited set of documents described here to COUHES. A sample Faculty Sponsor Letter is included below. PhD students include their academic advisor as the MIT advisor. MD students need to contact Laurie Ward (laurie [at] mit.edu) to arrange for an MIT advisor.

Sample Faculty Sponsor Letter