Human subjects review Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Help With Human Subjects Review 

The Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs provides administrative oversight to the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects, its Executive Committee, and its chair. The IRB's function is to review research protocols for the use of human subjects in research (funded or non-funded) proposed by faculty, staff and students of UWL. 

A guide and necessary forms for submission of proposals to the IRB are available from the links below. The office is in 243 Graff Main Hall and can be contacted via phone at 608.785.8044 or email at

Protocols are categorized as either exempt, expedited, or full - see the Researcher's Guide for Submission of Protocols and the IRB Decision Map to assist you in determining into which category your protocol falls.

If you believe your protocol is exempt after consulting the Researcher's Guide, please see the "Exempt Decision Tool" information below. Note: not all "exempt" protocols will qualify for review with the tool. If the tool determines your protocol is exempt, then you have completed the review process. If not, see the next paragraph.

All other protocols must be submitted electronically to All items of the narrative statement (page 21) must be numbered to correspond to each specific IRB requirement.  Complete instructions are available below in the A Researcher's Guide for Submission of Protocols - protocols must meet the submission requirements.  Forms with signatures must be scanned and electronically inserted into your submission document.  All materials should be submitted in one continuous PDF file.  Please see page 22 of A Researcher's Guide for Submission of Protocols for details.

Required Online Training Course

Registering for a CITI Program Training Account & Human Subjects Research Courses expanding section

Note: if you already have a CITI account and just need to add the Human Subjects Research course, log in and then select "Add a Course". Skip to Step 7 of the instructions below to enroll in the Human Subjects Research training program.

Step 1:  Go to the CITI registration page and under “Select Your Organization Affiliation”, type “Wisconsin” in the box and then select University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.  Click on “Continue To Create Your CITI Program Username/Password”.

Step 2: Enter your first and last name and email address.  Enter your name here as you would like it to appear on your completion reports. *Please note that using your UWL-issued email address is preferred for account recovery purposes.* Click on “Continue to Step 3”.

Step 3: Choose a username, password, and security question.  Click on “Continue to Step 4”.

Step 4: Enter demographic information and click on “Continue to Step 5”.

Step 5: Click “NO” when asked if you want to request Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits.  Answer the next two questions and click on “Continue to Step 6”.

Step 6: Complete the personal information requested.  For your Department, students can use their major (Biology, Microbiology, etc.).  For the Role in Research, choose a role that is most appropriate for your involvement in the research.  Click on “Continue to Step 7”.

Step 7: Scroll down to Question 7 (SKIP ALL OTHER QUESTIONS FOR TRAINING), “Human Subjects Research” to select your curriculum*.  Choose one learner group from the list below based on the type of human subjects research activities you will conduct:     

  • Biomedical Research Investigators: Choose this group to satisfy CITI training requirements for Investigators and staff involved primarily in Biomedical research with human subjects. 
  • Social & Behavioral Research Investigators: Choose this group to satisfy CITI training requirements for Investigators and staff involved primarily in Social and Behavioral research with human subjects. 
  • Research with data or laboratory specimens- ONLY: No contact (e.g., surveys) with human subjects. This training covers the use of identifiable secondary data. If you or your research team are collecting data, the appropriate training would be either the Biomedical or the Social & Behavioral training.
  • IRB Members: This Basic Course is appropriate for IRB or Ethics Committee members. 

* If you are not sure which category you fit into, please check with the IRB office or your faculty advisor.   

Step 8: Click on “Submit” at the bottom of the page. 

Instructions for Completing the Required CITI Human Subjects Research Training Courses expanding section

Step 1:  From your list of courses, select the IRB course you’ve recently added to begin (Biomedical Research, Social & Behavioral Research, Biomedical Data or Specimens Only Research, or IRB Members)

Step 2:  Complete the Integrity Assurance Statement presented at the top of each course.  The system will allow you to start taking the course modules after completing it.

Step 3:  Click the title of each course to begin or continue the course. 

Step 4:  Complete the required modules and associated quizzes.  Please read the course main page for requirements, as there may be elective courses required based on your selected course.  Supplemental modules are optional, unless assigned by a professor, a supervisor, or a supervising investigator, or required of you by the IRB due to the nature of your project. 

The minimum "passing" aggregate score for the quizzes is 80%.  A running tally is compiled in the grade book. If you want to improve a score on a quiz, you may repeat any quiz.  Scores obtained after a completion report has been issued will not be reflected on the completion report.

Step 5:  When you complete all required modules of the course successfully, a Completion Certification will be available for you.  The IRB will need a copy of this document included in your IRB Application. You can access it under the “My Records” tab. 

Find the IRB course you have just completed, and click “View-Print-Share” under “Completion Record”.  There will be two options for completion records – the standard document needed can be found by clicking the link for the Completion Certificate

Step 6: Save this Completion Certificate as a PDF or Word document, and include it in the last page in your IRB Application. 

Note: if supplemental modules have been required of you (see Step 4), you should ALSO save and attach the Completion Report that is available on the same page as the completion certificate.

General questions and password reset requests should be addressed to

Technical issues with the CITI web site should be addressed to or to 888-529-5929.

For more information about the required IRB training course and certification, please see the IRB Training FAQs at the bottom of this page. 

IRB Guidelines and Forms

COVID-19 and Human Subjects Research expanding section

This is to provide general guidance about research during this time of COVID-19. 

An IRB protocol or other research procedures may NOT be used as a reason to bypass or subvert state, local, or university safety requirements.

  • Masks must be worn.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet. If this is not possible, closer contact should not exceed 15 minutes.
  • Sanitizer must be available.
  • Additional protocols required in individual labs (e.g., using hand sanitizer upon entering or exiting a lab) must be followed.

For those interested in training related to COVID-19, CITI offers optional training titled "COVID-19: Back to Campus (Fall 2020)" which includes an optional module titled "COVID-19: Human Subjects Research".

IRB Exempt Decision Tool expanding section

This tool is for UWL faculty, staff, and students to seek an exempt status designation for a research project involving human subjects. Exemptions are only valid if requested by and granted to a current UWL employee or currently enrolled UWL student.

Important Notes:

  • Students must have mentor/advisor approval before using this decision tool.
  • The tool may NOT be used if any of the following are true:
    • Participant incentives are being offered.
    • Any of the PIs are not UWL-affiliated.
    • Other institutions will be relying on UWL's IRB to provide review and oversight. (See "Single IRB / Reliance Agreements" in the Researcher's Guide.)
    • Exemption is being claimed under exemption research categories numbered 2.c., 3.a.iii., 7, and/or 8.

Prior to completing this survey, you should:

  1. complete the mandatory CITI training;
  2. review the Researcher's Guide for Submission of Protocols to ensure that your research meets the definition of exemptible research;
  3. review the IRB Exempt Decision Tool Preview to ensure you are able to answer the questions asked; and
  4. have the following information available to complete the survey:
    1. names and email addresses of any Advisors or co-PI/PDs;
    2. IRB training completion certificate(s) from a UWL approved course for you and any co-PI/PDs (collated into a single pdf with your certificate listed first);
    3. project title
    4. project abstract which must include the research question, independent and dependent variables, hypothesis(es), and procedures and/or activities that the subjects with undergo; and 
    5. basic information about the project
    6. see the Researcher's guide for optional information that you may choose to include

DO NOT GUESS on any of the answers in the survey. If you are unsure how to answer a question, reach out to your advisor, colleagues, or the IRB, and return to complete the survey.

IRB Exempt Decision Tool

After completing all or part of the Exempt Decision Tool, you will receive an email either declaring your project, as described, as exempt or directing you to submit a protocol narrative to the for review.

Question and concerns regarding the form/survey should be directed to   

Attachment Templates expanding section

Guidance on UWL Faculty, Students, and Staff as Participants

Data Request Guidelines and Survey Sample Guidelines

IRB Meetings and Deadlines expanding section

The IRB Committee is scheduled to meet on the following dates in 325 Graff Main Hall at 8:45 a.m. However, the schedule is subject to change at the discretion of IRB Committee.

Protocol Submission Deadlines (Full Review) IRB Meetings
September 18, 2020 September 25, 2020
October 16, 2020 October 23, 2020
November 13, 2020 November 20, 2020
February 12, 2021 February 19, 2021
March 12, 2021 March 19, 2021 
April 9, 2021 April 16, 2021
September 10, 2021 September 17, 2021
October 8, 2021 October 15, 2021
November 12, 2021 November 19, 2021


Review Timelines expanding section

During the academic year, September to early May:

  • Full protocols submitted by the deadlines are expected to be reviewed at the next IRB meeting. Please see the meetings schedule.
  • Expedited and exempt protocols are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Review decisions are generally made within three to four weeks of protocol submission.

During the summer, mid-May to August:

  • Full protocol review is subject to committee availability. It is not recommended.
  • Expedited and exempt protocol review is completed monthly. Review decisions may take up to six weeks following protocol submission.
2021-2022 IRB Committee Members expanding section
Name Department (College) Expiration Date Comments
Sandy Grunwald IRB Administrator N/A ex-officio, non-voting
Bill Gillespie IPSE (SOE) August 2023 First 3-year term
Uzay Damali Management (CBA) August 2023 First 3-year term
Adam Driscoll Sociology (CASSH) August 2022 Second 3-year term
Justine Egner Sociology (CASSH) August 2024 Second 3-year term
Liz Evans Community Representative August 2022 First 3-year term
Christine Hippert IRB Coordinator, Archaeology/Anthropology (CASSH) N/A ex-officio, voting
Katherine Kortenkamp Psychology (CASSH) August 2024 First 3-year term
Weixu Lu  Communication Studies (CASSH) August 2024 First 3-year term
Gregory Ormes  IRB Chair, Communication Studies (CASSH) August 2022 Second 3-year term 
Drew Rutherford Health Professions (CSH) August 2022 First 3-year term 
Salvador Jaime Exercise and Sport Science (CSH)  August 2023  First 3-year term
Lisa Giddings Economics (CBA)  August 2023  First 3-year term 

IRB Training FAQs

I already completed the NIH Training Course and have a copy of my Completion Certification – will this still be accepted? expanding section
  • Because of the new IRB training expiration guidelines at UWL, the NIH IRB training certifications will expire December 31, 2023. At that time, individuals should complete the CITI IRB training modules and provide a new completion certification with their next IRB protocol.
I already completed the NIH Training Course that was previously offered, but don’t have a copy of my Completion Certification or access to my account. Do I need to complete the CITI Training Course? expanding section
  • Maybe. If you’ve already submitted a copy of your Completion Certification with an IRB protocol in the past at UWL, it’s possible we have record of this.  Please email to inquire if we have your Human Research Subjects Training certification on file.
When does my IRB Completion Certification expire? expanding section
  • As of September 24, 2018, IRB training expires after a 5-year period.
    • For those completing IRB training for the first time in CITI, the required training certification will expire 5 years following an individual's completion date.
    • For individuals who completed the old NIH IRB training, certifications will expire December 31, 2023.  At that time, individuals should complete the CITI IRB training modules and provide a new completion certification with their next IRB protocol.
How do I get my CITI Program password reset? expanding section
  • General questions and password reset requests should be addressed to
I'm having technical issues with the CITI website - who should I contact? expanding section
  • Technical issues with the CITI web site should be addressed to or to 888-529-5929.
I have other questions not addressed here about IRB Training - who should I contact? expanding section
  • General questions about IRB Training can be directed to, or by calling 608-785-8044. 



IRB Decision Map