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Institutional Review Board (IRB)


In accordance with PBSC’s mission “to create and sustain a dynamic teaching environment,” the College hosts an Institutional Review Board (IRB). An IRB enables research to be conducted at an institute once researchers are granted approval via the research review process. PBSC’s IRB consists of a diverse group of committee members who review potential research protocols with a focus on protecting the rights and welfare of PBSC participants. The IRB currently meets monthly during the fall and spring semesters to review applications submitted by the last day of the previous month.

Please read more about the IRB and its associated policies and procedures in the Procedures Booklet. This document includes a brief history of IRBs, terms, procedures, a researcher checklist, sample informed consent template, frequently asked questions, and additional resources.

As of September 2018, the National Institute of Health (NIH) is no longer offering its Protecting Human Research Participants course.

All individuals who wish to conduct research at PBSC or are interested in Board membership must have certification or have completed Ethics and Human Subjects Protection training. The following organizations all provide training:

Protecting Human Research Participants Online Training

The first organization offering training is Protecting Human Research Participants (PHRP) Online Training.  PHRP Online Training offers an affordable, high quality, interactive online course to meet requirements for education in the protection of human research. Protecting Human Research Participants Online Training is available for $39.99 USD for all individual learners.  There website is PHRP Online Training

The Association of Clinical Research

The Association of Clinical Research also offers a course with or without contact hours.  If you take the course without contact hours, it is offered with a certificate at no cost to you. While open to all, this is an organization with a clinical perspective that may influence course design. Their website is Ethics and Human Subject Protection: A Comprehensive Introduction.

CITI Program

A third organization is the CITI Program.  CITI Program’s human subjects research training fulfills the requirements if the learner completes the basic modules for either the Biomedical (Biomed) or Social-Behavioral-Educational (SBE) track.  Check the website for costs.

If after reviewing the materials on this website you still have questions. Please email us at

Checklist for Submission of Protocol

  • Receive approval from your "home" IRB (applicable if researcher's home institution is not PBSC).
  • Complete the NIH Protecting Human Research Participants training (or equivalent).
  • Submit in one email to the following items:
    • PBSC IRB Protocol Application (required of all researchers)
    • Certificate of Completion of the NIH training or equivalent (required of all researchers)
    • Other study materials (as applicable): consent/assent forms, copy of other IRB approval letters, data collection instruments, recruitment materials, other supplemental materials
  • Wait for the decision of the Palm Beach State College IRB before conducting the research.

Sometimes individuals are unsure if their project constitutes research that needs to be reviewed by an IRB. A project needs to be reviewed by the IRB if it meets two criteria: (1) it is research and (2) it involves human participants. Research is defined by 45 CFR 46 as "a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge." Human participants are considered involved in the research if there is direct "intervention or interaction" with people who are living or their "identifiable private information."

Routine assessments of programs, services, or teaching methods that remain internal to the college do not require IRB review. However, when results from assessments are shared with broader audiences, the project does require IRB review. For example, if a professor tries two different methods of teaching in two different classes and then assesses which method was more effective in order to improve her teaching, she does not need to seek approval. However, if she wants to present her findings in a publication or presentation, she would need to seek IRB approval because she would be contributing to generalizable knowledge. If you are not sure if your project requires IRB review, please contact the IRB. 

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