Application Process

Click here for IRBIS

New researchers (e.g., students) or researchers new to UNC Charlotte should review the Guidelines for Research information before submitting an online application

​IRB review times will vary based on the level of IRB review required (Exempt, Expedited, Full).  The "Things You Need to Know" provide guidance regarding review times. In addition to the review times explained in the FAQs, the following timeframes are provided as guidance:

Proposed Research Start Submit for IRB Review
Spring Semester (staring in January) Late October to early November
Spring Semester (before the end of the semester) Early February
Summer Session I Early April
Summer Session II Late April to early May
Fall Semester (starting in August) Late June to early July
Fall Semester (before the end of the semester) Late September

Research involving Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) requires school-district review in addition to IRB review prior to the research occurring.

Important Note:

Research with human subjects requires IRB approval before the research begins. Research activities should not begin until IRB approval is obtained. Once the research is approved by the IRB, the protocol should remain open/active through data analysis.

Different Types of IRB Review

  • Exempt review (protocols that are exempt from full board review) –  No risk to participants.


  • Research that is identifiable but not sensitive
  • Research that may be sensitive but not identifiable
  • Research that is not sensitive and not identifiable
  • Research  meets one of the six (6) exemption categories or with the regulations 45CFR 46.101(b)(1)-(6).

The UNC Charlotte IRB allows for determination of exemption by authorized Compliance Office staff with final review and approval of the exemption determination by the IRB Chair or authorized IRB member. Be aware that the UNC Charlotte IRB interprets the Exemption criteria to mean that the research is exempt from a higher level of review. Amendments and continuing review (renewals) are still required for research with an Exemption approval.

  • Expedited review – No more than minimal risk to participants


  • Research is identifiable and may be sensitive
  • Research may be sensitive but not identifiable
  • Research meets one of the nine (9) Expedited categories

Protocols meeting the expedited criteria are reviewed by at least one member of the IRB Committee.

  • Full Board review – Greater than minimal risk to participants


  • Research involves sensitive information or methodology.
  • Data are identifiable and sensitive
  • Research may involve a ‘vulnerable population’ such as children or prisoners.
  • Research does not fit any of the Expedited categories