For the purpose of this guidance, classroom projects are course assignments/activities conducted by a single or group of Marquette students to satisfy the curriculum requirements of a course. If the purpose of the project is meant to complete an assignment for class and does not result in research data that will be disseminated beyond the Marquette University and its immediate university community, such class projects would not meet the IRB definition of “research” involving human subjects and MU IRB is typically not needed.

Is There a Difference Between Student-Based “Research” and Student-Based Class Project that Involves Human Subjects?

Yes. A good example of student-based “research” where MU IRB review is needed are for graduate level thesis, dissertation, capstone, and independent studies where the goal is to demonstrate a level of critical and analytical thinking by creating new or original knowledge, or contributing to existing knowledge by employing a systematic investigation.

An example where MU IRB review is not needed are for projects carried out by students as part of a research methods class. Whether undergraduate or graduate level, such research is typically characterized by little or no risk to human subjects and employee’s common educational techniques.

Please use the Determination of MU IRB Submission for additional guidance, or if there is any doubt about whether a project requires IRB review and approval, please contact the Office of Research Compliance at 414-288-7570 or Please note that there are no provisions for retrospective approval under the federal research regulations.

What are the Responsibilities of the Instructor?

Regardless of a project meeting the criteria for MU IRB review, instructors and faculty who assign projects involving individuals as research subjects should keep in mind the following:

What are the Responsibilities of the Students?

In addition to the responsibilities of the instructor, students should think about the intended future use data from the class project may be used for. Specifically, if it will be used for “research” purposes beyond the classroom assignment, then IRB review and approval should be obtained prior to subject recruitment and data collection.

Place yourself in your subject’s shoes and think about how you plan to contact them and what you are asking them to do. For instance, do you already have a relationship with the potential subjects? Are you clear in explaining who you are, why you chose them, and what you are asking them to do?

Helpful Resources:

A sample template that can be used for class projects wanting to obtain permission from research subjects, along with a completed sample is listed below for your reference. The template is a suggestion only and is not a required document. DO NOT use the IRB Consent Forms as those are intended for studies requiring IRB review/approval, and containing IRB specific information not relevant to class projects.


Schroeder Complex

Mission Statement

The mission of the Office of Research Compliance, in cooperation with and in support of the Institutional Review Board, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Radiation Safety Committee, and Institutional Biosafety Committee, is to facilitate safe and ethical research conducted by Marquette faculty, staff and students in the areas of human subjects, animal subjects, radiation safety and biosafety.