Jun 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Research Policies


Institutional Review Board (Human Subjects Review)

The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has established standards and guidelines to protect individuals from risks associated with participating in research studies. The University of Southern Mississippi complies with these guidelines.  The Institutional Review Board (IRB) acts as a monitor to ensure the university’s research using human subjects as participants is in compliance with the U. S. DHHS policies and other procedures. The IRB, through an appointed chair person, reports to the Vice President for Research.

All investigations, experiments, surveys, or demonstrations involving human subjects, regardless of funding or the source of the funds, must be reviewed and approved by the IRB before the activity is begun. This includes activities in which a faculty member is supervising research activities, including class projects, master’s theses, specialist’s projects, and doctoral projects and dissertations.

Application forms for submission of protocols for review by the IRB are available from each college’s representative and in the Graduate School. Prior to submitting the required copies of an application for approval by the IRB, students should do the following:

  • Submit the application for approval by their thesis, project, or dissertation director or professor teaching the relevant course
  • Secure the appropriate signatures
  • Submit the application for review by the appropriate college representative to the IRB.

The current IRB chair is Dr. Donald Sacco, School of Psychology, 601-266-4177.

The student must not begin work on the research study needed for the thesis, project, or dissertation until approval from the IRB or IACUC is obtained. Any research conducted prior to approval will be considered invalid.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is a standing committee of the university. The IACUC is qualified through the experience and expertise of its members to oversee the university’s animal program, facilities, and procedures. The IACUC consists of eight members and its membership meets the compositional requirements set forth in the Public Health Service Policy. The IACUC, through an appointed chairperson, reports directly to the Vice President for Research. The IACUC acts as a monitor to ensure the university’s facilities are operated in compliance with the Public Health Service and other federal policies.

Federal law requires that any university activity (whether research or instructional in nature) involving the use of vertebrate animals be reviewed by the IACUC and approved by that body before the activity may proceed. The original completed form, signed by the project director (a faculty member, not a student), the appropriate school director and dean should be forwarded to the chair of the IACUC for processing. Review of applications requires approximately two to six weeks. The approved IACUC protocol application and approval letter should be included in the appendix of the thesis, project, or dissertation. IACUC protocol forms and instructions may be obtained from the IACUC website.  A link may be found on The Graduate School Website.

The student must not begin work on the research study needed for the thesis, project, or dissertation until approval from the IRB or IACUC is obtained.

The current IACUC chair os Dr. Jake Schaefer, School of Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences, 601-266-4748.

Research and Scholarly Integrity Assurance Program Requirements

All graduate students are required to participate in the Research and Scholarly Integrity Assurance Program.  Program requirements include completion of Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online modules. Required modules differ according to program.  Therefore, students must consult the graduate coordinator for their academic program to determine specific CITI requirements. All required CITI modules must be completed by the end of a student’s first semester of graduate enrollment at USM. Students who fail to complete CITI training successfully during the first semester will be blocked from registration for future terms until the requirement is met.