Institutional Review Board

COVID-19 Updates - August 2021

1. As of August 18, 2021, in-person research is allowed on campus.  However, this research must adhere to the university’s masking and social distancing policies.  For instance, both participants and researchers must wear masks and all parties must stay six feet apart during the study. 

2. These masking and social distancing guidelines are being implemented to protect the safety and security of both participants and researchers, which is one of the primary roles of the IRB. 

3. Once the university revises its mask and social distance policies, the IRB will issue another update.

4. If you are submitting a new protocol to the IRB for in-person research, you will need to address the masking and social distancing policies within your protocol

5. If the return of in-person research requires changes to your protocol, please email Dr. Erik Tracy ( as soon as possible.

6. Virtual research that was approved by the IRB may continue as approved. 

Dr. Erik Tracy, IRB Chair
Phone: 910.775.4512

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is required by federal law to review and approve ALL research proposals that involve human subjects; that is, any research involving people including adults, children and infants. Special protections are accorded to minors, prisoners, pregnant women, and disadvantaged populations. All research conducted at UNC Pembroke or by UNC Pembroke faculty, staff and/or students at any location (including some research conducted as part of classroom exercises or course requirements) must undergo an IRB review and have a protocol application on file with the IRB Chair. Expedited reviews will be conducted on a rolling basis, and initial results from the IRB can be expected within two weeks.  Applications for full-board reviews must be submitted by the 15th of the month and will be reviewed at the next full monthly IRB meeting.  Protocols submitted after the 15th of the month will be considered at the following month’s meeting.  For example, a protocol submitted on January 10 will be reviewed at the February meeting.  A protocol submitted on January 20 will be reviewed at the March meeting.  Generally, the full IRB meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 3:30PM if there are protocols that require a full board review.  Additionally, the IRB accepts protocols over the summer, but researchers should expect a relatively longer time for the initial results.

There are three levels of review: Exempt from Review, Expedited Review, Full Review. The Chair determines the level of review required. Please note that an "expedited" review refers to the level of risk involved in the research not whether the researcher is under time constraints to complete the research.

Some typical examples of human subjects research the IRB reviews

    • Survey research for a thesis or dissertation.
    • Educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, or achievement)
    • Research on individual or group characteristics or behavior (including research on perception, cognition, motivation, identity, language, communication, cultural beliefs, and behavior)
    • Research employing survey, interview, focus group, program evaluation, human factors evaluation or quality assurance methodologies
    • Collection of data made from voice, video, digital or image recordings made for research purposes
    • Collection of pathological or diagnostic specimens
    • Research and demonstration projects designed to study or evaluate public benefit programs
    • Test and food quality evaluation studies

If you plan to undertake research in any of these areas you must submit the IRB Protocol Application, found under the Forms and Guidelines link, and any supporting materials. Please email these forms to and Send one signed hard copy to the IRB chair. Along with the protocol, researchers must also submit a certificate indicating that they have completed the required CITI training courses.  Researchers can register for the appropriate CITI courses at  A PowerPoint slide detailing how to register for the CITI program and how to select the appropriate training courses can be found under “Forms and Guidelines.”  The link to the CITI website can be found under “Related Links.” The IRB strongly recommends that applicants read the information under Policies and Procedures prior to the submission of the IRB Protocol Application.This website provides information about IRB policies, procedures, appeals and training opportunities.If you are not sure about whether your project requires an IRB, please contact the IRB chair.

IRB Monthly Meeting
First Wednesday of the month when needed