Institutional Review Board Submissions

OHR accepts applications from faculty, students and staff of the George Washington University, GW Medical Faculty Associates (MFA), and the GW Hospital.

Please see our "Do I need IRB approval?" page for assistance in determining if your study requires IRB review and approval.

Please initiate and submit all IRB applications via GW iRIS. All new submission forms will be routed for approval by the principal investigator (PI) AND the department chair. When all approvals have been completed and all required components have been completed, your study will be registered in our database, assigned to an IRB analyst for review, and assigned an IRB number. The IRB analyst will be in touch with you to communicate any issues that may need to be addressed.

All PIs must be full-time, regular faculty members. Individuals in the following roles CAN serve as PI: full, associate, or assistant professors; research scientists and research professors. Individuals in the following roles CANNOT serve as PI: students (graduate or undergraduate), residents, fellows, lecturers, or adjunct professors. PI exceptions are permitted on a case-by-case basis; a PI Eligibility Exception Form must be completed and submitted to the OHR for review. Contact OHR for additional information.

Please note, some schools and departments have adopted their own policies and practices involving the submission of an IRB application. Please check with your PI and/or department's administrative office prior to submitting to our office to ensure you are within their guidelines. (Milken Institute SPH)

Download IRB Basics for GW Researchers (PDF)

General Steps


Please initiate and submit all IRB application packets via GW iRIS.

Preliminary Review (Pre-Review)

Your submission is first evaluated by an IRB analyst (exempt or expedited studies) or IRB administrator (full board studies) for completeness and clarity. The analyst or IRB administrator will contact you with an initial correspondence and may request preliminary submission edits. For research submissions meeting one of the exempt categories, an IRB analyst will either issue an approval or ask for final edits to your submission materials. The IRB analyst will inform you of these final requested edits and work with you to resolve them.

The time for completion varies with complexity of outstanding issues and responsiveness of the research team.

Formal Review

For research submissions that are minimal risk but do not meet one of the exempt categories, an IRB designee will then conduct a formal review of the study and render an evaluation of your study submission. The IRB designee  will either issue an approval or ask for final edits to your submission materials. The IRB analyst will inform you of these final requested edits and work with you to resolve them.

For studies that require a review by the full IRB, the IRB administrator will advise you when the study is scheduled for full board review. The ability to schedule a study for review by the full board is related to the pre-review response time, time on the IRB's agenda, and expertise that may be required for the review. Once a study is reviewed by the full board, the IRB administrator will communicate any changes requested by the IRB and will work with you to resolve any issues.


An approval letter and stamped versions of any materials that will be viewed by subjects or the public (consent forms, flyers, surveys, etc.) will be sent to you via email. You must receive an exemption determination or IRB approval letter before you begin any human subjects research activities.

Additional Considerations for IRB Approval

  • “Greater than minimal risk” studies (Full Board) will be assigned to a full board meeting. Dates for full board meetings can be found on the IRB Meeting Dates page.
  • Expedited or exempt studies are not assigned to a meeting; these submissions are reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • No hand-written forms will be accepted.
  • CITI training requirements must be met prior to study submission.



The forms on this page must be completed when you are requesting a waiver of authorization under HIPAA.


Forms & Tools

All forms should be submitted via GW iRIS, the online system that allows users to initiate and track submissions to the Office