Which REB… and which form to use?

Find out the correct REB and form to use.

Which REB to use?

A. The Student Research Committee (SRC), is a subcommittee of HiREB, and reviews MINIMAL RISK research for the following students:

  • Undergrad student in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS)
  • Undergrad student conducting research as part of a course in the FHS with your supervisor appointed in another Faculty
  • Master’s student in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS)
  • Master’s student conducting research as part of a course in the FHS with your supervisor appointed in another Faculty


B. HiREB (main Board) reviews the following type of student research (student at ANY level):

  • Retrospective review of medical charts/health records
  • Human tissue research
  • Prospective databases


C. HiREB (main Board) reviews ALL submissions for:

  • PhD students
  • Residents
  • Fellows
  • Post-doctoral work


Although students, the individuals noted above hold a higher position which prevails when determining the research review process.

Student Participation in FHS Faculty Research:
If you are a McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences undergrad or master’s student participating in research that is part of a faculty member’s research program and UNRELATED to the requirements for your student thesis or inquiry course, you must submit your application to the HiREB.

NON Faculty of Health Sciences Student:
If you are a McMaster University undergrad or master’s student doing health-related research but are NOT from the Faculty of Health Sciences, please contact the Research Ethics Officer to confirm whether you should apply to the SRC or to the MREB (McMaster Research Ethics Board).

Students OUTSIDE of McMaster University:
If you are an undergrad or master’s student from outside of McMaster University, you should first obtain the REB approval of your home institution. If your research will involve participants and/or resources at HHS, SJH or FHS, you should then submit to the HiREB.

Still not sure which REB?

Then click here to contact the SRC.

Referral to HiREB:

The SRC may refer an application to the HiREB. Examples of situations in which referral to the full REB would be appropriate are research that exceeds minimal risk, research involving ethical or legal issues for which the ethics  committee members do not have adequate expertise, and/or cases for which conflicts of interest may arise. The student applicant will be advised by the SRC in this situation.


The following forms are used for an INITIAL submission:

  • General Research Application
  • Retrospective Review of Medical Charts/Health Records Application
  • Prospective Research Database/Existing Database Application
  • Review of Research Approved (formerly Reciprocal Review) Application
  • Human Tissue Research Application

The form you use depends on the type of study you are doing. For example, if your work involves ONLY a review of medical charts, the Retrospective Review of Medical Charts would be used. The same is true for the remaining forms listed.

MOST submissions would use the General Research Application form, REGARDLESS of your professional or student status. If you are uncertain about the form to use, please contact HiREB for assistance.