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Institutional Review Board

The purpose of the Macalester College Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to oversee all research done by members of the Macalester community – including faculty, staff, students, and college committees – that involves human subjects. Research involving animals should be reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

Visit the How do I apply? page for instruction on how to seek IRB approval of a research project.

Macalester’s IRB uses the definition of research established in the Code of Federal Regulations to direct its review activities. Research is defined as the “systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge” [45 CFR 46]. Generalizable knowledge refers to knowledge gained from a study that may be applied to populations beyond the specific study population, shared with an audience beyond class participants through publications or public presentations, and/or used to inform policy decisions.

Macalester’s IRB serves as the College’s research ethics board. The work of the IRB is guided by the ethical principles set forth in The Belmont Report, federal regulations (e.g., the HHS regulations set out in 45 CFR 46), state and local laws, and College policies. In accordance with these principles, the IRB strives to create a culture of respect for, and awareness of, the rights and welfare of all research participants.


This site offers a collection of resources to support the work of applying for IRB approval and fulfilling the responsibilities that accompany IRB approval. These resources include:

  • Guidance for the IRB application process as well as templates for consent forms.
  • A glossary of terms associated with IRB review.
  • Forms used for preparing an application and for complying with review requirements.
  • Macalester subscribes to online training for Human Subjects Research through the CITI program, which provides investigators with an introduction to the principles of ethical research on human subjects.
  • A list of policies at Macalester College that affect IRB review at the institution.
  • A decision tool to evaluate whether research activities should be reviewed by an IRB.

Comments, complaints, and questions can be referred to the IRB chair at [email protected], 651-696-6112 or 1600 Grand Ave., Saint Paul, MN, 55105.