York University is committed to the highest standards of integrity in research. All projects involving the use of Human Subjects, Animals and Biohazardous Materials are subject to review by the appropriate University committee. York University has formulated policies for the conduct of research involving all three of these areas. It is the policy of the University that researchers conducting research involving human subjects, animals and/or biohazardous agents must obtain approval of their research from the relevant ethics committee prior to commencing research activities.
The Faculty of Graduate Studies is governed by the Senate Policy on Research Involving Human Participants. The Senate Policy states that all University-based research involving human participants, whether funded or non-funded, faculty or student, scholarly, commercial or consultative, is subject to the ethics review process.
Graduate students undertaking research for graduate courses, major research papers, theses, or dissertations involving human participants are required to follow the appropriate procedures and obtain ethics approval before conducting research activities. Students also must maintain active registration status while conducting the approved research. The information below outlines the ethics protocols and procedures for each category of research.
Please carefully review the procedures that are relevant to your project, and ensure that you complete and submit all of the required documents along with your research proposal to your graduate program. Incomplete or illegible protocols will be returned to the student, which will delay the process. If you have further questions about research ethics review processes, consult Decision Chart- Full Board and Delegated Ethics Review Processes
Graduate Student Risk Assessment
The Graduate Student Risk Assessment Guidelines of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) serve to assist graduate students in identifying appropriate health and safety considerations and preventative efforts prior to departing for field activities. In concert with the Graduate Student Risk Assessment Form, Undertaking, Release and Checklist, graduate students should review these guidelines with their faculty supervisor. Assessing risk is a critical step in determining necessary hazard controls and other mitigation required for specific research activities.
Please visit Graduate Student Risk Assessment for more information including applicable forms.
Theses, Dissertations and Pilot Projects Involving Human Participants
Graduate students conducting research for the purposes of completing a graduate thesis or dissertation are subject to review by a delegated ethics review committee comprised of the Associate Dean(s), Research, Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Chair/Vice-Chair HPRC. Where delegated reviewers decide that a protocol should not be approved, the protocol will be referred to the HPRC for full board review.
All graduate student researchers must complete the TCPS tutorial to establish that they have completed the necessary education component and attach their certificate of completion to their protocols. Protocols will not be accepted for review unless a valid TCPS tutorial certificate is attached.
When is Ethics Review Required
All research involving human participants is considered research subject to review. The Principal Investigator (researcher) of any research project involving human participants:
- MUST have a protocol that describes how the researcher(s) will interact with the human participants; and
- MUST have that protocol reviewed and approved by the appropriate Research Ethics Committee before the research commences; and
- MUST obtain informed consent from ALL research participants. For minor-age participants (Those under the age of 16 for minimal-risk research), both parental consent and participant assent are required.
NOTE: Failure to obtain ethics approval prior to the commencement of Research Activities is considered both a breach of Senate Policy as well as research misconduct. All such instances of non-compliance will be addressed by the appropriate institutional office.
Research Ethics Review and Approval: Forms and Processes
For more information, please consult the following sources:
- Research Ethics Policies & Guidelines, Office of Research Ethics
- SSHRC/NSERC/CIHR Tri-Council Policy Statement Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans
- TCPS Tutorial
- HPRC protocol * This form is to be used ONLY by those students who are conducting research involving Aboriginal/Indigenous Peoples; clinical trials; and/or research that is more than minimum risk:
- Amendment Request Form Graduate Student—Thesis or Dissertation
- Renewal Request Form Graduate Student—Thesis or Dissertation
Please contact the Research Officer by visiting our FGS Staff Directory.