Research Compliance

Human Subjects – Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Does your project require IRB review?

The US Department of Health & Human Services has developed a series of decision charts to assist Principal Investigators in determining the applicability of Human Subjects regulations to their research. Please access the decision charts to determine if these regulations apply to your research. After reviewing the charts if you have questions please contact the IRB chair by emailing .

Introduction to IRB

Investigators intending to conduct research involving human subjects should carefully review Sonoma State University’s Policy on the Use of Human Subjects in Research. For general questions on the review process, call, 664-3972 or email Application materials can be downloaded from OFRSP's forms page. It is the responsibility of the individual investigator to ensure that appropriate ethical principles are adhered to in the conduct of research involving human subjects.

Download SSU's brochure: Working with Human Subjects in Research (pdf)

SSU Policy Highlights

There is human subject involvement when human beings are asked to participate:

>Physically in an activity or to donate their tissue, organs, fluids, and other bodily material.

>When information is sought from them directly (as through interview, questionnaire) or indirectly (as through observation).

>When information concerning specific, individually identifiable human beings is asked for from third parties—whether through access to files, data banks, or other means—or through direct inquiry of third parties concerning the individuals in question.

>Research proposals for which the question of human subject involvement is itself uncertain or ambiguous must be submitted for review.

The Provost has appointed the Institutional Review Board for the Rights of Human Subjects, which works under the sponsorship of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (OFRSP) to ensure the protection of the rights of human subjects and serves as the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) for purposes of local, state, and federal requirements. The Associate Vice-President of OFRSP serves as the University’s Institutional Signatory Official for purposes of federal regulation.

You are encouraged to read the entire policy: SSU Policy #2002-1 Human Subjects in Research.

Federal Policy Guidance

Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP)
Code of Federal Regulations
Belmont Report

SSU’s Current IRB Membership



Patrick Jackson (Chair)


Bülent Sökmen


Betty J. Durso

Community Member

Vincent Richman

Business Administration

Heather Smith


Michael Visser


Mary Ellen Wilkosz


How to submit an IRB application

Researchers are required to submit a protocol describing their proposed research or activity involving human subjects. (Downlad the Human Subjects Application form from the OFRSP Forms page.) Student non-collaborative research protocols must first be submitted to the faculty sponsor and to the department review committee, if one exists, for review and approval.

External Researchers

Researchers external to SSU should contact the IRB Chair regarding conducting Human Subjects research on the SSU campus or on SSU students, staff, and faculty. SSU's IRB must review and approve all externally-approved IRB protocols prior to the beginning of any research.