Human Subjects in Research

At College of the Holy Cross undergraduate research is available to students in almost all disciplines.  Typically that research is conducted under the supervision of, or in collaboration with, a faculty member.  Faculty members also conduct research of their own, on campus or in collaboration with others at other institutions.

Particularly in the social and behavioral sciences, research often involves interviews, surveys, questionnaires, and other experiments using other people, “human subjects.”  Ethical practice of such research requires that the rights and welfare of human subjects be observed.  In particular, the principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice must govern all interactions with human subjects.  Standards for the ethical conduct of research have been codified by the federal government and apply, by law, to all research undertaken under federal auspices.  Administration of those standards is carried out by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) at each institution.  The IRB includes representatives of the research community and the wider public, and is charged with oversight of research involving human subjects carried out under the institution’s auspices and by those associated with the institution, establishing that each project observes the standards.

At College of the Holy Cross the IRB assists faculty and staff researchers (Principal Investigators) and their students in their efforts to protect the rights and welfare of participants in research.  The IRB and its administrators are responsible for communication, review, and monitoring protocols of research applications submitted by faculty and staff for themselves and their students, and by those outside of the institution. It also keeps records, educates the campus community about relevant ethical issues, and oversees all research activity involving human subjects, whether governmentally funded or not.  It maintains compliance with federal regulations under the College’s Federal-Wide Assurance, the Belmont Report, 45 CRF 46, and the Office of Human Research Protections (which oversees IRB activities).


Committee on Human Subjects (IRB)

Chair, Ryan Mruczek (Psychology) 

Danuta Bukatko (Psychology)

William Stempsey (Philosophy)

Daina Harvey (Sociology and Anthropology)

Denise Bell (Office of Assessment and Research)

Anastasia Garcia (Community Member)


Dates and Deadlines

Protocols can be submitted at any time electronically to Review is handled as expeditiously as possible. The IRB Committee meets as often as once a month during the academic year and as needed in the summer to review protocols and to conduct other business.  Please submit protocols at least one week before a scheduled meeting if your protocol may require full committee review.  Exempt and expedited reviews occur on a rolling basis.  You may not begin using human subjects in your research until the IRB has approved your protocol or declared it to be exempt. 

The following is a list of upcoming meetings of the IRB Committee:

  • Jan 19, 2024
  • Feb 9, 2024
  • Mar 1, 2024
  • Apr 5, 2024
  • May 3, 2024


  Quick Forms
  Application for Exemption Status 
  New Protocol Cover Sheet
  Continuation Form
  Modification Form
  Termination Form
  Informed Consent
  Protocol Guide