The University of the South is committed to maintaining the highest ethical principles in the conduct of research with human subjects. The Institutional Review Board protects the rights of human subjects participating in research conducted by Sewanee faculty, staff, students and affiliates to reduce the risk exposure of the researcher and the University.

Human subject research involves the collection of data from or about living human beings. Any scholarly discipline may involve human subject research. Anthropological and psychological studies often involve human subjects; biological studies sometimes involve human subjects. Increasingly, research in the humanities, politics, and economics includes human subjects. Checking with the University of the South IRB is the best way to preserve the rights of research subjects and know that your research complies with the federal government’s Office for Human Research Protections guidelines.

Research that meets the definition of human subjects research must be reviewed and approved by the IRB before the project begins (including recruitment).

Informed Consent

Informed consent is based on the principle of respect for the rights of others to make informed decisions concerning their participation. Informed consent provides research participants with sufficient knowledge about the purpose of the research, their involvement in the study, and the potential risks and benefits. Based on this knowledge, participants can make an informed decision as to whether or not they want to participate in the research. Investigators are required to secure informed consent of the participant or the participant’s legally authorized representative.

Required Human Subjects Training - CITI

As of October 4, 2018, this certification is required to attain research application approval (if you do not already have approval through NIH, which expires after three years). CITI is a web-based ethics training course for those conducting research with human, animal subjects, bio-safety, or export-controlled activities. All Principal Investigators, Co-Investigators, Faculty Sponsors, and Students must complete CITI training with a minimum passing score of 80%. Completion records of study personnel should be maintained by the Principal Investigator and are subject to periodic inspection by the committees. Follow the steps below to sign up for the CITI Course:

  • Go to
  • Select "New Users."
  • Participating Institutions: University of the South.
  • Create a username and password.
  • Enter name.
  • Enter e-mail address.
  • Complete contact information fields.
  • Check the courses you are required to complete. Click here for general information on how to enroll in a CITI course.
IRB applicants (All Faculty, Staff, and Students) are to complete:
  • Social/Behavioral Research Course (live human beings)
  • Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research Course (RCR) (Each of the two modules have been reported to take a minimum of two hours to complete; please consider this in your research time line.)‌

Once you have received your certificate of completion, you must upload it to your User Profile in IRBNet under "Training & Credentials Records."

The University also has modules available for animal safety, responsible research conduct in the physical sciences, and responsible research conduct in the humanities. Please take advantage and ask your students to complete them if needed.