Welcome to the website for SMU's Human Subjects Committee, which promotes ethical and responsible treatment of human subjects in research. As the institution's official Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Committee reviews all research projects that use human subjects -- regardless of the source of funding -- before the investigator may commence the study.

The ultimate responsibility for proper treatment of human research subjects rests with the researcher. Researchers' informed participation in the IRB process helps to ensure a positive, ethical, and responsible climate for scholarly research at Southern Methodist University.

This website seeks to provide comprehensive guidance on the policies and procedures regarding working with human subjects and the IRB Committee.

Institutions that receive federal funding must adhere to the Office for Human Research Protections regulations for use of human subjects in research. CFR Rule 46 is often referred to as "The Common Rule."

SMU receives federal funding and has signed an assurance letter with the Department of Health and Human Services that all projects under the auspice of SMU involving human subjects will be reviewed for compliance with these regulations before the collection of research data begins.

A critical issue is the definition of terms such as "research," "human subjects," "risk," etc. Please see "§46.102 Definitions" for guidance.

If you are in doubt about whether your project should be submitted to the IRB, please contact the IRB Chair.