Using Human Subjects in Research (IRB)

Harvard Yard

All research involving Human Subjects must adhere to both Harvard University policies and Federal law. 

Every university, as well as every medical establishment conducting research, must have an Institutional Review Board (IRB).

  • At Harvard, the IRB is called the Committee on the Use of Human Subjects (CUHS)
    • Read more: Human Subjects IRB
    • CUHS has three locations: Harvard College, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School

For students in the Harvard Extension School, the IRB will always be the Harvard College (Cambridge campus) IRB, unless work is being conducted under the auspices of a faculty member’s larger project that has already been approved by one of the other Harvard IRBs. 

  • You must submit an application ( to the appropriate IRB before engaging in any research activity that involves human subjects, including observations, interviews of any kind on any topic at all, experiments, review of individual medical or academic records, etc.
    • In most cases, you will have to complete online ethics training before your application can be accepted
    • Even if you are collecting data at another institution and the project has been vetted by that institution's IRB, you must also submit an application to the Harvard CUHS

For further information, follow this link or go to the main CUHS web page above.