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University Committee For Research Involving Human Subjects

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For full information regarding the University Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects (UCRIHS), please visit the committee’s website:

A. What is UCRIHS?

UCRIHS is an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Federal and University regulations require that all research projects involving human subjects be reviewed and approved by an IRB before initiation. Under the regulations, research is defined as a formal investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. A human subject of research is an individual (1) from whom an investigator obtains data by interaction or intervention, or (2) about whom the researcher obtains confidential information.
All research involving human subjects or human materials must have prior approval by UCRIHS. This includes investigations conducted by faculty, students, staff or others on the premises of Michigan State  University as well as investigations conducted elsewhere by any representative of Michigan State University in connection with that individual's institutional responsibilities, unless the investigation is conducted under a cooperative research agreement as per 45 CFR 46.114. 

B. How the UCRIHS Review Process Works:

The review process begins when an investigator submits a complete on-line application to the UCRIHS office. UCRIHS assigns the application an IRB log number. Depending upon the level of risk to subjects in the protocol, UCRIHS assigns the protocol to one of three review categories (exempt from full review, expedited review, full review) and sends it to one, two or five reviewers, respectively. If the reviewer (or reviewers) is satisfied that the rights and welfare of the human subjects are adequately protected, he or she approves it. However, if the reviewer has concerns, the reviewer returns written comments to the UCRIHS office for transmission to the investigator. The investigator must then send a response to each comment online to UCRIHS, which will forward it to the reviewer(s). If the proposal is either an exempt or expedited proposal, an approval letter can be issued as soon as the reviewer(s) approve. When a proposal receives a full (five-member subcommittee) review, an approval letter is issued after the proposal is discussed and approved by vote of the full committee at its monthly meeting.

There is a tutorial available online at Students must complete the tutorial in order to submit UCRIHS material for institutional approval. 

All faculty members advising students in research are expected to communicate with their students the importance of being in complete compliance with UCHRIS (University Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects (UCRIHS), and to read in detail the most recent instructions from UCRIHS. 
All faculty teaching graduate students in courses also are to emphasize complete compliance with UCRHIS principles and policies. Faculty teaching courses are urged to determine when and how UCRHIS principles can be covered in graduate courses.

Any research that is conducted by an MQM graduate student that is not in compliance with UCRIHS regulations cannot be used to fulfill course or degree requirements. Should a student conduct research that is not in compliance with UCRIHS, at a minimum, the work will have to be repeated with no adjustment for time lost in carrying out the research that was not in compliance. Faculty members consider UCRIHS compliance to be very important. A serious violation of UCRIHS standards by a student, or repeated violations, would result in a referral to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, who will refer the case to a college-level hearing board, as specified in University policy. Serious and/or repeated violations of UCRIHS policies could result in sanctions up to and including dismissal from the graduate program.

Upon entering the program, students should go to the UCHRIS web site and read about this important committee. They should take the UCRIHS training, which requires about a half hour, before involvement in any research that might conceivably involve human subjects. 

It is critical to remember that absolutely no research data can be collected until a project is in complete compliance with UCRIHS, and collecting data before receiving such approval is a serious ethical breach.  Once a student files with UCRIHS, if the student receives any feedback that they do not understand, they should immediately consult with a member of the MQM faculty or the UCRIHS staff for guidance regarding how to proceed. Again, for emphasis, absolutely no data can be collected without UCHRIHS approval. If any such data is collected, it cannot be used for any degree purpose. 

C. Address for UCRIHS:

Michigan State University 
University Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects (UCRIHS) 
202 Olds Hall East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 355-2180
Fax: (517) 432-4503

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