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Departmental Review Boards (DRBs)

Students who intend to conduct research involving human participants should submit the proposed protocol to a Departmental Review Board (DRB). Students generally present project proposals involving human participants with the assistance of a faculty member. Protocols must be approved prior to the project initiation. All investigators, both students and faculty investigators, must show evidence that they have had human subjects research training. This training should be updated every 5 years. On-line training is available at and also through CITI.

A list of Departmental Review Boards will be available soon. If a student’s human participant research is in a department without a DRB, the DRB of a related department may agree to review the protocol. If DRB review is not possible, then the protocol must be submitted to the Institutional Review Board.

Questions should be referred to Dr. Tim Barth, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and Co-Chair of the IRB, lead reviewer of DRB referrals and recommendations.

Policies and procedures for departmental boards are in effect those of the IRB. This page provides specific guidance that is particularly relevant for the DRB.

IRB Forms, policies and guidelines.

This chart shows the routing students should follow for their protocol review:


Requirements for appointment of Departmental/College Review Board (DRB)

The DRB shall be composed of not less than five members with at least one member for each of these categories:

  • Chair of the board and a faculty member of the department or college,
  • A member from the community and not affiliated with TCU, and
  • A member whose primary concerns are in nonscientific areas (a nonscientist).

Appointments to the DRB are made by the department chair or the college dean. The Chair of the TCU IRB should be informed of the DRB membership.

Responsibilities of the DRB

The DRB does not approve or reject protocols, but rather reviews and recommends. The DRB will review proposals, keep minutes and files of each review and forward protocols with their recommendations to in a timely manner. The DRB will follow the procedures and criteria for review by the IRB as presented in this document.If the DRB finds that the research involves invasive measurements that contain more than a minimal degree of risk or that the research includes special populations such as children or prisoners, the DRB shall refer the student protocol to the IRB for further review with an explanation of that determination from the DR Board chair.

In any event, the DRB shall report all recommendations and forward all protocols to IRB as soon after their review as possible.