Institutional Review Board (IRB) Compliance Review

All Doctor of Ministry thesis projects (and, in some cases, Master of Arts projects) must be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB assists in reviewing Doctor of Ministry or Master of Arts Project proposals and surveys or instruments that will be used for specific research on human subjects. The IRB process must be completed before research is conducted.

The primary goal of Institutional Review is to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects when they participate in research activities that result in systematized, generalizable knowledge intended for publication or other public dissemination. The protocol for Institutional Review is based on federal regulation, Christian ethics, and informed consent.

The purpose of informed consent is to help investigators protect research participants by informing them about the nature of the research, including the procedures to be followed and any associated risks or benefits to participation. In compliance with federal regulations, the IRB carefully reviews informed consent documents.

Project Review is generally required for the following:

  1. Survey, interview, focus group & observational research involving human subjects
  2. Evaluation Research, e.g., data is collected on a new course, technique, or pilot study to determine the effectiveness of the material or how the material is collected, etc.


  1. Faculty supervisors and student researchers must participate in CITI Training (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative) online.
  2. Students complete and submit their research proposal to IRB before beginning their research with human subjects.
  3. Students will receive a response: Does the project come under IRB jurisdiction or not?
    • Exempt
    • Expedited
    • Full Board Review

The faculty supervisor will guide the student researcher through the IRB review process.

The Chair of the IRB at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake is Dr. Linda Couri.