Student-Initiated Projects

In cases where course instructors are unable to apply for course template ethics protocols, each student or student research team will need to apply to the UTM Ethics Review Committee (ERC) for an approved ethics protocol. For administrative purposes, student research teams must choose one student to act as the lead in all dealings with the ERC. In all cases, written notification of the ERC's approval of the protocol must be received by the lead student prior to initiation of any research procedures involving human subjects.

Projects that are conceived substantially by the student and that are not part of the supervising faculty member’s own ongoing research program (i.e, the supervisor would not do this research on his or her own) should be reviewed by the ERC. This would be the case even if the general area of the project is one in which the faculty member has an interest.

However, if the research project is something the supervising faculty member would undertake even in the absence of the student, or is merely a minor variant of something the faculty member has done or would do, then the project should be considered as the faculty member's research, and the corresponding ethics protocol should be reviewed through the Human Research Ethics Unit (HREU), Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation.

Protocol Application Procedures:

  • The student should complete and submit the cover sheet & protocol (or if it is for a course in Forensics, there is a forensics-specific protocol form available), and send it to:

    UTM Ethics Review Committee
    Office of the Vice-Principal, Research
    Health Sciences Complex, Room 330
    Send a pdf scan to

    If determined to present only minimal risk to participants, the protocol application will be reviewed by a UTM ERC member. If determined to present a greater than minimal risk, the protocol application will be referred to the HREU.
  • Applications may be approved outright, or the student may be asked to submit revisions responding to the committee’s comments. The ERC will issue a letter of approval once the protocol has been approved.
  • Approved ethics protocols are valid for a period of one year from the date of approval.