URTP Portal

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Welcome to the

Undergraduate Research Training Program (URTP) Portal

The URTP is a comprehensive platform to create better prepared undergraduate researchers. The URTP is comprised of research ethics training sessions, a student-focused curriculum, and an online decision form that will assist students in determining whether their project requires IRB review. Click URTP Flowchart (PDF) for an illustrated overview of the URTP process.

So you think you might want to conduct research with people? Here are some things to keep in mind.

You will need to:

Identify a Research Supervisor that will assist and guide you through your undergraduate research experience. Your Supervisor will be your mentor and go-to person during this process and should be aware of Research Supervisor responsibilities. You and your Research Supervisor may find our URTP handout helpful.  The handout provides an overview of the URTP, an outline of roles and responsibilities, and frequently asked questions.
Attend one of our In-Person URTP Trainings to learn about what types of research require IRB review. Also offered in these sessions are best practices for conducting ethical research, an overview of human subject protections, and additional resources that may be helpful to you. If you’re unable to attend an in-person training, you may complete an Online CITI Training via the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) website. While online training is available, the in-person training is the preferred option. Whether or not your undergraduate research project requires IRB review, ethics training is a required part of the URTP.
Check out the URTP Student Guide (PDF), which is an overview of the regulations that govern human subject research, tips on conducting ethical research whether or not IRB review is required, things to avoid when conducting research with people, and useful resources and contact information to guide you through the URTP process.

Once you have met with your Research Supervisor, have a good idea of the research you are conducting, have taken training (either in person or online), and read through the Student Guide, you are ready to complete the URTP Decision Form! The URTP Decision Form is a Qualtrics survey which will guide you through the process of whether or not IRB review is required and indicate whether next steps are needed. For an idea of what questions you will be asked in this survey, see the URTP Decision Form Preview (PDF)

Be aware of our template documents, which may be helpful to you as you complete the Decision Form:

  • The Student Application template may be used to describe the study that you plan to undertake. The document will guide you not only through the logistical aspects of study development but also inquire on study population, study location, and other potential risk aspects.
  • The Student Information Sheet is a document that you can use with your study participants. It is modeled after the IRB informed consent template and contains information that is relevant to student research.

Data Security

Whether your project needs IRB review or not, breach of confidentiality is a serious risk posed to participants. Rigorous data security is a key element of protecting subject data from an accidental or malicious breach. Data security includes:

  • A plan to manage the physical and electronic documentation associated with the project, such as paper surveys, signed consent forms, or documents that contain contact information for subjects and
  • Steps to ensure that those materials are not lost or accessed inadvertently by an unauthorized person.

The management of electronic data (on desktops or servers as well as on mobile devices such as laptops and flash drives) is increasingly important. See the Harvard University Research Data Security policy for information on how to protect your data, links to University resources, and more on your responsibilities as a researcher.


The Harvard IRB office, CUHS, offers advice and is also available to answer questions that you may have. Please contact us by email or phone using the information at the bottom of this page.