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Marine Corps University
Quantico, Virginia

Marine Corps Human Research Protection ProgramS (HRPP) and Institutional Review Board (IRB)


MCU personnel and students: The primary source of policy, procedure, forms, and general information on research and sponsored projects for MCU’s faculty, staff, and students is the internal Research and Sponsored Projects Portal. It can be accessed directly or via the main MCU Business Regulations and Process Directory site. If you do not have access to the internal site, contact MCU’s Director of Research

MCU personnel conducting research as part of studies at a different institution: Marine Corps policy requires that research conducted as part of studies at another institution, such as a civilian university or a different PME institution, be treated as extramural. See "All Others" section below. 

All others: This page provides basic information on the Marine Corps HRPP and IRB for extramural (external) researchers seeking to conduct research with MCU personnel or students or to use MCU facilities and resources for research. For official information about these programs, please email the POCs listed below. 

The basic approval processes for extramural researchers are listed below. Based on topic and other aspects of research design, other review processes may apply. The HRPO and Survey Program Manager will provide additional guidance as part of the review process. MCU strongly recommends reaching out to its Director of Research prior to starting the steps below. 

(Note - for Marine Corps organizations seeking to conduct research at MCU, your IRB is the Marine Corps' IRB and the review steps may differ. Contact MCU's Director of Research for more information.)

1. Submit your research protocol to your institution's IRB. Documentation of your local IRB's review of your project is required. If your IRB determines that your project is not human subjects research, get an official letter from them documenting that determination. Documentation should include your institution's Federal-wide Assurance number and expiration date, which is available from your IRB. 

2. Get a written endorsement of your research from a Marine Corps general officer or SES with oversight of programs and/or commands appropriate to the research topic. If you would like to request endorsement by MCU's Commanding General, reach out to MCU's Director of Research to make arrangements.

3. Get written permission from the MCU schools and directorates where you plan to recruit participants. A pdf copy of an email or a letter is acceptable. Permission must be granted by the director of each organization or by their delegate, such as the dean or deputy director. If your research involves a data request rather than recruiting participants, get written permission from the MCU school or directorate that holds the data. 

4. Complete the “DON Supported Extramural Performers” training on the CITI program website. This is required even if you have already completed the regular CITI research ethics training for investigators. If your institution does not provide access to this training, contact MCUs Director of Research or the HRPP points of contact below.  

5. Submit your research protocol, local IRB determination, CITI training certificates, GO/SES endorsement letter, and recruiting/data access permissions to MCU's Director of Research for review and routing to the Marine Corps HRPO for Administrative Review. The Administrative Review allows the HRPO to ensure that the determination made by the local IRB is in keeping with DoD, Navy, and Marine Corps policies related to human subjects research and that you have the required Marine Corps endorsement and permissions.

When your project has been approved by the Marine Corps' HRPO: If your project involves surveys, interviews, or focus groups with 10 or more individuals, proceed to Step 6. If your project does not involve these methods, you may start research in accordance with the approvals you have received.

6. Submit your project to the Marine Corps Survey Program for review through their portal. The Survey Program Manager will determine whether any reviews by other Marine Corps, DoD, or OMB offices are required.

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 Applicability Review (Appendix A)

The Applicability Review Form is designed to provide the HRPP with the information needed to determine whether or not the project is human subjects research. If the project is determined to be human subjects research, you will be required to submit a full protocol and other materials as indicated in the HRPP Policy and Procedures.

Link to Applicability Review Form (Appendix A)

 IRB Action Request

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