Protection of Human Subjects (PHS) Committee

Any research project involving human subjects that is conducted by or for Columbia College students, faculty, administrators, staff, or members of the Board of Trustees and/or is conducted on Columbia College premises is subject to review by the Columbia College Protection of Human Subjects Committee.

The Protection of Human Subjects Committee reviews applications for all sites and all venues.

Application Form

Human Subjects (PHS) Referral Application Form

Additional Resources

Sample Informed Consent Statement 

Does Your Columbia College Project Need The Protection of Human Subjects (PHS) Committee Approval?

For your project at Columbia College to need approval, it would have to be considered research.

The Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (Common Rule) defines research as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge...”

Participant observations, ethnographies, interviews and surveys, and group comparison require PHS approval.

Activities designed for educational purposes are not systematic investigations and therefore are not considered research. However, if students plan to publicly share (present or publish) the results of a study done in class, PHS approval is required.

Human Subjects (PHS) Referral Application Form 

The committee's goal is to insure that legal rights are not violate, that no one is harmed or compromised in any way by participation in a college-related study or survey, and to assure compliance with regulations formulated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the protection of human subjects in research. According to federal law, the committee must review any survey or study that (a) might identify respondents or subjects; (b) has sensitive topics such as illegal conduct, alcohol or drug use, sexual behavior, etc.; (c) might lead, if not kept confidential, to criminal or civil liability, or might damage the employment, academic standing, or financial standing of anyone identified or associated with the survey or study. The Committee will evaluate your project using the following criteria: 

Materials submitted to PHS Committee:

  1. Description of project
  2. Copy of Informed Consent is attached
  3. Copy of instrument(s) attached
  4. Contact information provided

Informed consent is sought by informing participants about the following:

  1. Minimal description of the research
  2. Risk and benefits to participants
  3. Assurance of confidentiality
  4. Freedom to refuse participation
  5. Freedom to discontinue participation without penalty
  6. How data will be used (publication, class project, etc.)

Please provide the following information

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