IRB Procedures for Classroom Research

Background and Rationale

All research conducted by faculty, staff, and students at the University of Massachusetts Boston that involves human subjects is subject to review by the Institutional Review Board. The United States federal government and therefore the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) require that all researchers are adequately educated in the protection of human subjects. As of November 1, 2004, all Primary Investigators (PIs) and co-investigators conducting research at UMass Boston must complete the Collaborative IRB Training Initiative, or CITI, an online training course in the protection of human research subjects. The CITI program is used by many institutions as an educational tool for investigators, administrators, and institutional review board members in the fundamentals of research with human subjects.

You may access the CITI program website to register and complete the course at UMass Boston has contracted with the University of Miami to provide the CITI online training. The CITI training consists of 13 modules pertaining to the social and behavioral sciences which span a variety of areas including the assessment of risk, informed consent, and HIPAA. Each module consists of information about a specified topic followed by a short quiz. Scores on the quizzes are used to measure successful completion of each module. Once all modules are successfully completed, your name will be added to a master list of all individuals at UMass Boston who have completed the program. You do not need to notify the IRB when you complete the training.

The CITI training program can be completed in more than one sitting. Completion of the entire program may take 4-6 hours. Once you have registered on the web site as a CITI program user, your information will be stored indefinitely, and once a module is completed, it will not need to be repeated. Please be sure to print a copy of the completion certificate that you receive once you successfully complete the program. However, you do not need to submit a copy of this certificate with your IRB application.
Refresher CITI training required every three (3) years

As of February 1, 2008, all UMass Boston researchers and staff who are engaged in research that involves human subjects are required to complete, at no cost, the CITI Refresher Training Course, specifically the social/behavioral research modules, every three (3) years.  Both the student and their faculty or staff sponsor must provide the required evidence of completing the CITI refresher course. You will be notified by Kristen Kenny, the IRB administrator, via email when you are required to complete this one-hour refresher course.

Technical Difficulties When Attempting to Access or Complete the CITI Refresher Training Course

Should you encounter difficulty accessing your data on or cannot find the hyperlink to complete the refresher course, please contact the University of Miami at for assistance.

Other Online Training programs

NIH Research Computer-Based Training
This site offers an online training program in the protection of research subjects. Please note that UMass Boston will not accept a certificate of completion from this course in lieu of one from the CITI training program.

Educational Videos

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Human Research Protections has provided the University of Massachusetts Boston with a videotape entitled “Protecting Human Subjects”. The videotape includes three instructional segments, “Evolving Concern: Protection for Human Subjects”, “Balancing Society’s Mandates: IRB Review Criteria”, and “The Belmont Report: Basic Ethical Principles and Their Application”. This videotape is available for viewing at any time.

Also available are videotapes pertaining to the responsible conduct of research, and compliance issues related to research. Please contact the IRB office if you are interested in reviewing these materials.

Educational Seminars

The IRB provides lectures and educational seminars for faculty, staff, and students conducting research with human subjects. Basic IRB practices are addressed in these seminars, including how to complete an IRB application, research ethics, HIPAA, etc. These seminars are particularly useful for students who may conduct human subject research for a thesis paper. If you would like to schedule an educational seminar in your classroom, please contact the IRB office.