Academic Programs Catalog

General Information, Policies, Procedures and Regulations

The Students

Policy on Research with Human Subjects

Student programs may involve human subjects in research and/or clinical investigations. "Research" means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Masters' theses and Ph.D. dissertations are considered to present generalizable knowledge. "Human subject" means a living individual about whom an investigator conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual or (2) identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens. Investigators can include faculty, staff, students, postdoctoral researchers, trainees, and volunteers, among others. Federal regulations and/or university policies require review and approval of all proposed research and/or clinical investigations involving human subjects by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or require an exempt determination from the IRB office prior to initiation. An official determination letter from the MSU IRB office must be obtained before involving human subjects in research and/or clinical investigations; this letter may be requested by other University offices.
Additional information, including  forms, templates, procedures for online IRB submission and review, and complete definitions, is available from the Human Research Protection Program Web site at, E-mail, or call 1-517-355-2180. Questions are welcomed.