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Welcome to the home page of the Washington and Lee University Institutional Review Board for Research with Human Subjects. This site is primarily for the W&L community and contains all of the forms, templates, training instructions, and policy references that you should need to get started. Please forward all proposals and questions via email to Bryan Price, Chair of the Institutional Review Board,

Current IRB processing time ranges from 5 – 10 business days.


Tips on Submitting an IRB Proposal

  • Please PLAN ahead. Proposals are reviewed in the order in which they are received. The average current preliminary review time is 5 business days.
  • During the SUMMER months, it will take at least 10 to 20 business days to conduct a preliminary review. Please PLAN accordingly.
  • A proposal requiring a review by the full IRB will NOT be processed from June 1 – August 15.
  • Begin by reviewing the Research Proposal Instructions
  • ALL of the forms and templates you need are accessible via hyperlinks . Additionally, forms are updated periodically. Please use current forms. The IRB may reject proposals submitted using outdated forms.
  • Proposals should meet a critical criterion of the definition of research “…to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” If proposals do not meet that criterion, they will not be reviewed by the IRB. See the discussion below for helpful guidance. When in doubt, please contact the IRB chair, Bryan Price ( 
  • During the fall and winter terms, proposals from students in upper-level courses (300+) will be prioritized above proposals from students in lower-level courses (<300). Student course-work in lower-level courses does not typically meet the definition of research and does not typically need to be reviewed.
  • Please note that the Responsible Conduct of Research training course completed through CITI will NOT satisfy your human subjects training requirements. You MUST complete an IRB approved human subjects training course.
  • Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations part 46
  • Current W&L IRB Policy

Applying the “Research” Definition:

“Research” is defined as “systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” Despite its value to the student and learning context, most introductory-level and many advanced-level course projects will not satisfy the requirement “to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” “Knowledge” in this definition is interpreted as a “field of study,” “discipline,” or “broad methodology” (etc.) where the results are presented and/or published at large in order to expand understanding or practice on a broad scale. As a result, most student class projects do not need to be reviewed by the W&L IRB. Conversely, there is an assumption that many capstone projects might satisfy that criterion and may need to be reviewed by the IRB. Please take note of the following:

  1. If a student presentation and paper are limited to the class or the University audience, they do not need to be reviewed by the IRB. Projects in most introductory-level and many advanced-level courses will not need to be reviewed by the IRB.
  2. Some capstone-level student projects may need to be reviewed since there is an assumption that students might publish results or present to an audience outside of the University community.
  3. If the student (or in some cases their instructors) intends (there should be a conscious intent) to use the results for future research that may then meet #2 above, then the project may need to be reviewed.
  4. If the results may be published or presented outside of the University, then that should be indicated in the project description (Section I) AND the participants must be informed in the consent that results may be used for publication.
  5. For faculty research – it is generally assumed that all faculty research, at least at the time of inception, is “…designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” As such, at the time of the faculty proposal, it is assumed that faculty research may need to be reviewed.

IRB Committee Members: 2023 – 24

Ex Officio Members:

  • Bryan Price. Assistant Provost of Accreditation and Institutional Research; IRB Chair
  • Allen Blackwood, M.D., University Physician and Director of Student Health

Four Appointed Faculty Members – One annually for 5-year terms:

  • Erin Taylor: 2023 – 2028 (Associate Professor of Philosophy)
  • Wythe Whiting: 2019-2024 (Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science)
  • Gavin Fox: 2022-2025, (Associate Professor of Business Administration)
  • Liz Matthews – 2021-2026 (Assistant Professor of Computer Science)

Non-faculty, non-alumna/alumnus community member:

  • Laura Lanier, M.D.: 2013- (Doctor of Medicine, Regional Medical Practitioner)

Student member:

  • Joshua Lewis, 2023 – 2024, Class of 2024