Human Research Protection Program Office & Institutional Review Board (IRB)


The NPS Institutional Review Board (IRB) has jurisdiction over all research involving human subjects. The NPS IRB is authorized to review, recommend approval to the NPS President, require modifications in, or withhold approval or suspend approval of research involving human subjects. No human subject research in any form (including recruitment, consent, or data collection) can take place without proper review and approval by the NPS IRB and NPS President.

Do I need approval?

If your activity involves any of the following you may be involved in human subject research and must request an official determination.

  • Administer a questionnaire or survey
  • Conduct focus groups or interviews
  • Observe human performance directly or indirectly (e.g. online, crowdsourcing, or through analysis of information systems)
  • Audio or video record activities of humans
  • Use pre-collected data that contains information about humans
  • Test any equipment in which humans serve as users

IRB Review Process and Timeline

  1. Send all complete packages to
  2. An IRB staff person will conduct a preliminary review within 2 business days and contact you if any information is missing. 
  3. Complete package is sent to the IRB and reviewed in 8 business days. You will be contacted after the review is complete and informed of any additional updates that are needed.
  4. Afterwards your package will be sent to the NPS President for final approval. The president reviews protocols weekly.

Please Note:

  • Research involving greater than minimal risk requires review by the convened IRB.  The convened IRB meets monthly.
  • International research requires review by NPS counsel and DON HRPP.  Expect review to take an additional 45 days.
  • Classified research requires SECNAV review and approval.