Course Projects

Approaches for ethics review to be considered by course instructors

Undergraduate course projects

Graduate course projects


  • Student course project applications should be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to the last class of the term.
  • Course instructors should submit application to cover all student projects before the end of term prior to the start course.

Guidelines on the ethics review of course or honour's projects (PDF)

Guidelines for research within structures and gatekeepers

Approaches course instructors may use

There are several approaches for course research projects that instructors may use:

Instructor submits one application for the course

Instructors may submit one application for the course if:

  1. students are assigned a topic or theme with a common procedure, such as a questionnaire or interview however students develop their own questions for the theme.
  2. students are volunteers at institutions, agencies, businesses or organizations and develop and conduct a research project as part of their volunteer activity but there is a common procedure and a common theme, however different questions may be asked for the common theme.

Applications are submitted using the online research ethics system before the end of term prior to the one in which the course will be taught.

In the ethics application the instructor provides:

  • common recruitment script,
  • common information-consent letter or letter of introduction (from course instructor),
  • consent form,
  • themes/questions/questionnaire, and
  • appreciation or feedback letter.

Students should print their letters on letterhead.

Each student or group submits an application

Individual students or groups of students submit an application for their course project if:

  1. each student or group develops their own theme but use one procedure, such as an interview.
  2. students, either individually or in groups, develop a project based on a topic (within parameters set by the instructor) and procedures of their choice.

If each student or groups of students will be doing individual course projects then the following applies for the course instructor:

  • consult with the Office of Research Ethics prior to term in which course is offered to advise as to the timeline for the course project and estimates of the number of applications to be submitted,
  • prepare samples of recruitment materials, information letters, consent forms, and feedback letters the students will use to prepare their own application,
  • obtain approvals, where applicable, from senior management or the director or human resources of agency, company, organization or institution where students will be conducting their project,
  • ensure students distribute their letters to participants using the samples created and are printed on letterhead.

Students working in groups submit an ethics application as a group and each student is listed as an investigator. Students working individually submit their own application.

Applications are submitted using the online research ethics system and submitted as early in the term as possible but no later than four weeks prior to the last day of classes.

Undergraduate course projects

Undergraduate course projects must be restricted to research that:

  • poses no greater than minimal risk to participants,
  • does not involve partial disclosure or deception, and
  • does not include participants who are vulnerable.

Graduate course projects

For graduate course projects, each student or group of students submits an ethics application.

Vulnerable persons

Course projects should not include participants who may be vulnerable such as:

  • children,
  • institutionalized elderly,
  • cognitive impaired individuals, or
  • persons who are not able to legally consent to participate in the research.

Under special circumstances, for example, where approvals have been obtained from facilities and project supervision arranged, course projects in some instances may receive ethics clearance to involve vulnerable persons.

Institutions, agencies, businesses, or facilities

Some course project research may be carried out in institutions, agencies, facilities, government departments, or businesses if the course instructor obtains approval or permission from each organization prior to submitting the application (or prior to the students submitting an application).

Written evidence of this approval or permissions is to be provided with the research ethics application.