The conduct of research involving human subjects is an integral part of the pursuit of new knowledge in many academic disciplines. Wellesley College is cognizant of the need to ensure the privacy, safety, and welfare of individuals are protected at all times during such research, and has developed a Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) accordingly. Central to any effective human subjects protection program are (a) a system for review and approval of proposed projects and (b) education/training for personnel carrying out those projects.

IRB Review and Approval

The purpose of IRB review is to ensure the privacy, safety, and, welfare of participants in research are protected, and that any risks to participants are minimized.

  • Every activity involving human participants that meets the definition of Human Subjects Research must undergo review and receive approval from our Institutional Review Board (IRB) of record. To determine if your research meets the definition of human subjects research, please visit the OHRP decision chart.
  • Wellesley College contracts with Brandeis University for Institutional Review Board (IRB) services.
  • The Brandeis IRB conducts reviews at monthly meetings of the IRB Committee. See the Brandeis IRB website for schedules and deadlines. Expedited and exempt reviews are conducted on a rolling basis.
  • You will need to use Brandeis forms, available on their IRB website. You will need Acrobat Adobe on your computer to complete the forms. You should download the Brandeis forms to your computer to complete them and then submit them following the instructions on the Brandeis IRB website. To submit a proposed project for IRB review, follow this link to the Brandeis University IRB page and follow all instructions regarding forms, deadlines, and review processes. If you have questions regarding the Brandeis IRB process, please reach out to their office directly.
  • If you are collaborating with a colleague at another institution, you will need to follow Brandeis procedures for an IRB Authorization Agreement between the two institutions. Contact the Brandeis IRB office (HRPP) at for guidance. See also Wellesley’s OIR policies on research using Wellesley students, faculty or staff as subjects.
  • Student investigators will need to submit their IRB applications with their research advisor as the Principal Investigator and the student listed as “Student Researcher”. Please see the Brandeis IRB page for details on when student researchers require IRB review.


It is essential that all individuals (faculty, staff, or students) engaged in human subjects research demonstrate understanding of the principles of human subjects protections. As part of the IRB review process outlined above, training in human subjects protections will be required.

  • Wellesley College subscribes to the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) for this purpose. Through this service, personnel are able to complete their human subjects training in a convenient, online environment.
  • Note: when registering for CITI training, be sure to affiliate yourself with Wellesley College (not Brandeis University), as we continue to maintain our own CITI training program. The Brandeis IRB will verify with CITI that you have completed the training required by Wellesley College.
  • To learn more, please visit the Required Training page.

Information for External Investigators

The Office for Institutional Research policies on research using Wellesley students, faculty or staff as subjects by investigators or co-investigators who do not have a Wellesley College Affiliation must be followed.

Research conducted at the Child Study Center (CSC). If you are an external researcher (i.e., you do not have a Wellesley College appointment) AND you are conducting research at the Child Study Center, please contact the Child Study Center Director first, info@childstudycenter, who will coordinate all Wellesley College approvals. Once you have approval from the CSC, then you may apply to the Brandeis IRB for IRB approval.

Securing and Storing your Data

Data Storage and Retention at Wellesley College. See also the Brandeis IRB guidance on protecting the privacy and confidentiality of your data.

Wellesley College adheres to all pertinent regulations regarding the protection of human subjects in research as outlined by federal Office of Human Research Protections, and the general principles put forth by the Belmont Report. Our Federal-wide assurance number is FWA00000598. The Wellesley College administrative liaison to the Brandeis IRB is Liz Demski, Assistant Provost and Director of Sponsored Research. Additionally, Wellesley College has faculty representation on the Brandeis IRB committee.