Students as Investigators

With the exception of exempt research, students are not able to serve as the principal investigator for studies involving human subjects at MIT. They may be listed as co-investigators and they should enlist their academic advisor or other faculty as the principal investigator.

If students conduct exempt research (for a thesis/dissertation, etc.) they may be listed as the principal investigator, however a faculty member must be identified and sign a form to confirm his/her willingness to serve as sponsor.

Where a student conducts human subjects research at another institution they must obtain the prior approval of COUHES. The student must submit the following to COUHES. (Please note these requirements apply to both new studies and studies already on-going at the other institution):

  • A letter from the Principal Investigator at the other institution explaining the student's role in the research.
  • A letter from an MIT faculty member confirming his/her willingness to serve as the student's sponsor.
  • A copy of the Institutional Review Board's (IRB) approval from the other institution.
  • A copy of the research protocol and an amendment documenting the addition of the student to the research protocol. The amendment is not needed if the student is already included as research personnel on the research protocol.
  • If the student will be performing additional human subjects research activity not included in the original IRB approved protocol, then the PI must submit an amendment to the appropriate IRB to include this work. Documentation of this work and the IRB approval must be submitted to COUHES before the student begins a new study.