Graduate Student Handbook: Human Ethics

Human Research Ethics Requirements

At Queen’s University, any research project that involves human subjects must receive ethics approval from the appropriate university Ethics Board prior to the start of the project.  Health Sciences students submit to the Health Sciences Research Ethics Board (HSREB).  For details, go to the HSREB section of the Office of Research Services website  

Non-health sciences students submit to the General Research Ethics Board (GREB). For details, go to the GREB section of the Office of Research Services website  

To determine if your planned research project requires this approval, contact the General Research Ethics Office 

Students must have completed the CORE Human Research Ethics online tutorial before proceeding to perform any research involving human subjects. 

General Research Ethics Board (GREB)

All researchers must be familiar with these guidelines, as interpreted by the Queen's University General Research Ethics Board (GREB), and to ensure that their research conforms to all requirements. All the necessary information to submit to GREB, including application forms and guidelines for the letter of information/consent form (LOI/CF), recruitment posters, using Qualtrics, etc., can be accessed at the GREB web site.

All faculty, librarians, archivists, and research team members applying for ethics clearance are required to complete the Course on Research Ethics (CORE interactive tutorial) and provide evidence of ethics training by uploading a CORE completion certificate into the TRAQ ethics application system.

Psychology Research Ethics Board (Unit REB)

The Psychology Research Ethics Board – Unit REB - reviews applications only from student researchers (faculty members and post-docs apply directly to GREB). Unit REBs exist for two reasons:

  1. To provide discipline specific feedback to students conducting human research

  2. To assist with the high volume of applications from specific departments

The Unit REB also makes recommendations for delegated or full Queen’s General Research Ethics Board (GREB) review. The Unit REB review process tends to be quicker when students ensure that their LOI/CF conforms to the latest guidelines and is consistent with information provided in the relevant sections of the GREB application.  Students doing online studies using Qualtrics also should consult GREB’s Guidance for Qualtrics documents. Specific questions can be directed to the Chair of the PSYC REB at (Dr. Jill Jacobson).

Health Sciences Research Ethics Board (HSREB)

Research to be reviewed by the Health Sciences Research Ethics Board (HSREB) should be sent to the Health Sciences REB directly. Determination of the appropriate ethics board to review an application will be based primarily on the methodological features of the proposed research rather than the location where the data are to be collected. The HSREB will clear projects involving research methodologies typically confined to the health sciences (e.g., collection of saliva samples, blood draws, etc.). GREB will handle all other research methodologies.


Giovanna Crocco
Graduate Program Administrator

Department of Psychology, 62 Arch Street
Queen's University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6