GCU IRB Research Center


Steps to Prepare and Submit an IRB Application

Click on the steps below to prepare your IRB application materials and submit to iRIS.

1. Review the IRB Approval Requirement

All researchers are required to obtain approval from the GCU's Institutional Review Board (IRB) in accordance with GCU policy on ethical research standards as well as U.S. federal regulations. 

Failure to obtain IRB approval is a violation of GCU policy and is a Code of Conduct violation for students/doctoral learners with serious implications which may include starting over with a new research study. Please review the GCU University Handbook for additional information on this requirement.

University Policy Handbook

2. Get Started with IRB and Video Tutorials

Begin by familiarizing yourself with the IRB Document Checklists, and General Information about the IRB.  Review the IRB Handbook, Responsibilities of the Principal Investigator, FAQs, IRB Glossary of Terms.  Then review the instructional videos and training resources for submitting an IRB application in iRIS:

IRB Handbook

IRB Policies and Procedures

IRB Document Checklist for Faculty & Staff

Getting Started with IRB - General Information Documents

Instructions & Videos - Get Started with iRIS

3. Complete CITI Training


GCU requires all researchers to successfully complete research ethics training prior to applying for IRB approval. The CITI (Collaborative Institution Training Initiative) training program is web-based instruction in the ethics of research with human subjects. CITI Training is free to GCU faculty, staff, and students and requires approximately 15-20 hours to complete. Researchers must submit completion reports for the Human Subjects Research-Basic Course and the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course as part of the IRB application. Training certification is valid for five years. Click on the links below to register and begin this training.

Please note: CITI Training records will automatically load into your iRIS IRB Submission Packet. You do not need to upload copies into your iRIS Submission Packet. You must enter your GCU email address (username@my.gcu.edu) when prompted for Institutional Email Address on the CITI registration site. Please follow the steps in the documents below to ensure successful .

Faculty/Staff Registration Instructions

Doctoral Student Registration Instructions

CITI Training Website

4. Obtain Site Authorization From Selected Research Site

General Procedures and Guidelines for Obtaining Site Authorization to Conduct Research

As part of the IRB application, researchers must provide official documentation they are authorized to collect data at their selected research site(s).  Click on the link below to access site authorization guidelines and letter templates.  

Guidelines for Site Authorization and Letter Templates

Obtaining GCU Site Authorization

Changes to GCU Site Authorization:

Effective January 2019, GCU will only consider site authorization requests from doctoral learners who 1) have a clear affiliation with GCU as a full-time or adjunct faculty member; 2) work for GCU in another full-time capacity; and 3) have approval from administrative leadership.  Please contact the IRB at IRB@gcu.edu for questions or clarification.

Please Note:

  • Learners who are affiliated with GCU per above can apply through CIRT
  • Learners who have previously submitted a site authorization application in January or February 2019 may be considered.
  • Learners who already have an approved GCU site authorization are grandfathered in, and the approval will remain in effect through completion of the study.


Current Procedure:

Faculty and staff researchers and doctoral learners with GCU faculty/staff affiliation who wish to be considered for approval to use GCU as their research site must submit a GCU Site Authorization Application. Applications are reviewed based on the following:

  • Does the research protocol meets ethical research standards?
  • Does the study fit within GCU's institutional or specified college research agenda?
  • Does the comply with administrative guidelines for data collection involving GCU students, faculty and staff?
  • Is the proposed study design valid?
  • What are the operational implications of the research study? 

Please note the following:

  • GCU approves a limited number of site authorization applications 
  • GCU will not approve studies that involve release of confidential student or faculty information
  • Site approval is not guaranteed for learners or faculty
  • GCU site authorization approval does not constitute IRB approval 

Click on the link below to submit a site authorization application. 

Application to Conduct Research at GCU

5. Determine Review Category - Exempt, Expedited or Full Review

When applying for IRB approval, researchers must apply under a particular category of research that delineates the type of IRB review. The three categories-- exempt, expedited, and full-- are defined by the federal government and are based upon risk to subjects. Review the Decision Matrix and the Procedures for Exempt, Expedited, and Full Review to determine the likely review category your research belongs in. Please note the IRB reserves the right to re-categorize the study based on review of the application materials. 

IRB Review Level Decision Matrix

Procedures for Exempt, Expedited and Full Reviews

6. Create Informed Consent and Recruiting Documents

Research volunteers have a special set of rights that apply when participating in research. Researchers are obligated to follow the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) policies and procedures for obtaining informed consent from study participants. Below are links to resources and templates needed for recruiting research volunteers and creating the proper informed consent document(s) for your study. 

Informed Consent Templates

General Resources for Recruiting Study Participants and Informed Consent Procedures

Children as Research Participants - Procedures and Guidelines

Understanding and Lowering Readability Scores

Click here to download the PPT that accompanies this video.

7. Prepare IRB Documents

Additional documents that may be necessary for the IRB review process can be found by accessing the link for IRB Forms and Templates. Remember to review the appropriate IRB Checklist based your position with the university. Please note the IRB application is web-based in the iRIS system. Additionally the iRIS system will prompt the researcher to attach additional supporting documents based on the information entered into the application, and will also automatically load the researchers CITI Training completion reports. Note: Doctoral learners are required to have their chair review/approve all required documents. 

IRB Forms and Templates

IRB Webinar for Learners - January 2019

Click here to download the PPT that accompanies this video.

8. Submit Application in iRIS - Instructions & Videos

iRIS is GCU's new research protocol management system.  Effective January 19, 2018, IRB applications must be submitted in iRIS and reviewed within this system. Once you have completed the steps above, Review the Instructions and Videos - Get Started in iRIS. Then click on iRIS link below to complete your online IRB application and attach the supporting documents:

Instructions & Videos - Get Started with iRIS

How to Start Your IRB Application in iRIS - 4 minute video

Once you complete your IRB Application,  you will be directed to the Initial Submission Packet. The guide, How to Complete the Initial Submission Packet will show you how to complete this process. 

Connect to iRIS

IRB Announcements

Introducing iRIS - New IRB Protocol Management System 

New functions, simplified user interface will enhance IRB submission process

CDS is pleased to announce GCU's new IRB protocol management system - iRIS. Effective January 19, 2018, all IRB applications must be submitted in iRIS and reviewed within this system. The new system streamlines and simplifies the IRB application process while also providing a dashboard so that users can immediately view the status of their submission. Advanced system logic will guide researchers through the application process and will even determine supporting documents that are required for submission.

Effective Friday, 1/19/18 all new IRB submissions must be submitted to the new system. Faculty and learners who have submitted their IRB application to the existing IRBNet system will continue to use that system until their application has been approved. They will not be required to re-submit their application to the new system.

CDS is also pleased to announce the IRB page on CIRT has been updated "IRB Research Center" to help all researchers complete all required steps, and ensure the IRB submission and review processes goes as smoothly as possible. The documents in the Forms and Templates Folder have been updated to reflect submission process and requirements for the new system. Please review the Instructions and Videos - Get Started in iRIS, and associated documents, then carefully follow the "Steps to Prepare and Submit an IRB application in iris.

GCU IRB Research Center (IRB)

The GCU Institutional Review Board (IRB) provides timely and efficient processing, review, monitoring, tracking, and reporting of all research protocols conducted under the purview of Grand Canyon University. All researchers, including doctoral learners completing dissertations, and faculty, staff, and student researchers are required to obtain approval from the GCU's Institutional Review Board (IRB) in accordance with GCU's policy. Researchers may not begin recruiting participants or implementing data collection activities until they receive official notification of IRB approval. The IRB Research Center is designed to help researchers complete all required steps and ensure the IRB submission and review processes go as smoothly as possible.

  • GCU Federalwide Assurance: #00008664
  • IRB Research Center updated 1/2018



IRB Quick Links

IRB Forms and Templates

IRB Policy and Procedures

Office for Human Research Protections

The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) provides clarification and guidance for protecting human subjects in research, develops educational programs and materials, maintains regulatory oversight, and provides advice on ethical and regulatory issues in biomedical and behavioral research.

Office for Human Research Protections

Contact the IRB Team

For College of Doctoral Studies Learner and Chair IRB Questions:

IRB Coordinator:
Latrice Smith DBA
Doctoral Systems Analyst

IRB Administrator:
Linda Garrett, Ed.D.
IRB Research Specialist II

IRB Chair:
Ramya Turaga, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Peer Reviewer

IRB Director:
Cynthia Bainbridge, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean, Research and Dissertations

Phone:  602.639.7804 

Email:    irb@gcu.edu

For Faculty IRB Questions:
Maria Zafonte, Ph.D.
IRB Board Member and Professor; College of Humanities and Social Sciences 602.639.6681 - maria.zafonte@gcu.edu

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