Ethics Review of Course-based Research

Who is this for?

This information is relevant to University of Toronto (U of T) course instructors who teach a human research component within a course and students who are required to conduct a human research project within a course.

What do I need before I can begin?

Course instructors should first determine if the course in question will include a research project and whether the research project will be similar for all students (e.g. following a course template), or if each student will undertake unique, student-initiated project. Then, instructors must determine whether there is a Delegated Ethics Review Committee (DERC) for the department or faculty offering the course.

Students required to conduct a human research project should speak to their course instructor to determine what course work is required.

Course-based Research

Course-based research projects are assigned within an undergraduate or graduate course and do not include graduate theses. There are two types of course-based research applications: course templates and student-initiated projects.

Course Templates

Course templates are used when the research assignment involving human participants has strict parameters with respect to the research methodology and the participant group.

When course templates are used, the course instructor must complete and submit the ethics application, including template information and consent forms, recruitment scripts and sample questions or tools. The course instructor is responsible for sharing the templates and reviewing the specific details with the students. Any approved projects that fall outside of the parameters of the template, must be submitted separately as a student-initiated project.  See below for more information.

Student-initiated Projects

Students conducting course-based research projects that are not covered by a course template should submit a protocol for review to the Delegated Ethics Review Committee (DERC) or Research Ethics Board (REB).

The process for submission and review of course-based research depends on whether the department or faculty has a DERC to review course-based protocols.

Please review the DERC list and departmental/faculty contact information below. If the department or faculty has a DERC, the submission should be submitted directly. If available, use the faculty/department specific form. If the department or faculty does not have a DERC, the ethics application must be created and submitted through My Research Human Protocols (MRHP).

Please note, course-based research reviewed through a DERC must be minimal risk. In exceptional circumstances, where the student has permission to conduct higher risk course-based research, the student must submit the protocol through MRHP for full board REB review.

Delegated Ethics Review Committees by Campus


Department/Faculty (Course Prefixes)

Departmental/Faculty Contact
St. George Campus Anthropology (ANT) Shiho Satsuka, Ted Banning
Engineering (AER, APS, BME, CHE, CIV, ECE, MIE, MSE) Mark Chignell
Environmental Studies (ENV) Robert Soden
Geography (GGR) Beverley Mullings
Linguistics (LIN) Suzi Oliveira de Lima
Management (MGT) Claire Tsai, Chenbo Zhong
Pharmacy (PHM, PHC) Paul Grootendorst
Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE) Timothy Welsh
Psychology (PSY) Jessica Sommerville, Susanne Ferber
Sociology (SOC) Suzanne Jaeger
School of Theology Jeff Braff, Walter Deller
University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) All UTM departments Veron Fernandes
University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) Anthropology Chris Krupa
Department of Global Development Studies Caroline Hossein
Language Studies Dave Kush
Psychology Adrian Nestor, Ravi Thiruchselvan
Sociology James Braun

Faculty and students conducting course-based research requiring ethics review in any units not listed should submit a protocol through MRHP.

Forms & Downloads


  • Consult and advise on how to create and submit a course-based research ethics application
  • Update the list of DERCs and contacts

VPRI Contact


Dean Sharpe

Research Ethics Manager, Social Sciences, Humanities & Education
Research Oversight & Compliance Office (ROCO)
(416) 978-5585


Daniel Gyewu

Research Ethics Manager, Health Sciences
Research Oversight & Compliance Office (ROCO)
(416) 978-3165

Other Resources