Towson University's IRB has a unique review system. Federal regulations classify research
into three types: exempt, expedited, and full board. Each type of research has their
own set of categories, which fall into three types of review at Towson University.
The review types are as follows: accelerated, standard, and full board.
Types of research
Three Categories of Research
The Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) divides research into three types
of categories: exempt, expedited, and full board.
Towson University requires that all protocols that meet the criteria for human subjects
research be reviewed by the IRB regardless of whether they meet exempt or expedited
status. Applications will fall under three types of review based on these categorizations:
accelerated, standard, or full board review.
Exempt means the research involves minimal risk* (see definition below) to participants and does not require ongoing review once a determination of exemption
is made, unless the research has changed so that it no longer meets the exemption
criteria. The OHRP has eight (8) categories of exemption. Depending on which category
your study falls under and whether or not certain conditions are met, your study may
require either accelerated or standard review.
NOTE: Certain exempt categories may qualify for either accelerated review or standard
Expedited status does not mean there will be a faster review. Expedited means that the study involves
minimal risk and therefore does not require the full IRB committee to review the study.
Rather, the study will be reviewed by a single IRB member via standard review. Studies approved via standard review require a progress report every three (3) years.
NOTE: All expedited categories will qualify for standard review.
Full Board review is for research that involves more than minimal risk, although some minimal risk studies may require full board review at the request
of a reviewer. Full board review requires a quorum of IRB members to review and discuss
*Minimal risk “… means that the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those risks
ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological tests.”
Please refer to the PI manual for more information on how to define what is minimal
TU types of Review
This review is limited to certain exempt categories of research where there is (a)
minimal risk, (b) anonymous data OR (c) no sensitive information being collected.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed within approximately
1 week (or 5-7 business days)* once processed.
This review is for ALL expedited categories of research, as well as specific exempt
categories. Applications are due by the 3rd Friday of each month. Once processed,
you will receive a confirmation email and should expect a response within approximately
3 weeks (or approximately 15 business days).*
Full Board Review
This review is reserved for research that is greater than minimal risk and does not
meet the criteria for exempt or expedited research. Applications are due by the 3rd
Friday of each month. Once processed, you will receive a confirmation email and should
expect a response within approximately four (4) weeks. A quorum of IRB members must
meet to discuss and review the application.
*Note: The review timeline does not begin until application materials have been processed
and submitted to a reviewer. Investigators will receive a separate confirmation email
with a tracking number, which begins the timeline for review.
If you answer no to all of the questions above (under Section I. H of the Request
for Accelerated Review), continue on to Section II and determine if your study fully meets one of the accelerated review categories.