Special Requirements

Off-Campus Travel Requirements

Undergraduate Research requires specific forms of preparation for off-campus projects and conferences.  If your project involves off-campus travel (domestic or international), your application should demonstrate your preparedness in these areas:

You need to be aware of safety issues, cultural norms, and research etiquette in the places you will travel to for your project. Your project proposal should address these issues in at least one (if not more) of these ways:

  1. Commit to taking a course that addresses issues of ethics, safety, and cultural concerns at your project location. Examples of courses include: ANTHRO 93B, HISTORY 299X. Consult with your faculty mentor on the recommended course for your project, and request that your faculty address your course preparation in the letter of support.
  2. Work with a faculty mentor to gain insight and awareness of the issues and norms in the geographical area of the project. If this will be your primary preparation method, your faculty mentor must include a detailed description of the mentor's work with you in the letter of support.
  3. You should provide details of your travel itinerary and safety plan.
In your grant application, you will need to describe the coursework you have taken in methods or techniques that lay the groundwork for your project. You are expected to be able to apply typical methods of your discipline, including project design, data collection, data analysis, and communication of research results. Your language ability for overseas research may also be crucial.

  1. First and foremost, consult with your faculty mentor and also your honors program director about the appropriate course(s) that prepare you well for undertaking the work in the field.
  2. A search for "research methods" in Explore Courses will give you some idea of the range of methodology courses offered by different departments and programs.
  3. Discuss your course choices with Academic Advising Directors and research staff.
To ensure support for your work off-campus, you need to be in contact with faculty or community partners who have expertise or relevant connections to the geographical area and community where you work will be based. Your faculty mentor can help you to develop important networks and field contacts. Information about field contacts should be included in your proposal, describing the nature and extent of their working relationship with you. Alternatively, your faculty mentor can discuss the field connections in the letter of support. Reviewers considering proposals will assess the relationships between the student and the field contact. A letter of support from a relevant field contact will greatly strengthen the proposal.

International Travel Requirements

A project or conference that involves international travel must provide a Travel Appendix in the grant proposal. The Travel Appendix must include thoughtful responses to the questions in the document "Required information about international travel".

Furthermore, ensure that your travel complies with the Provost's International Travel Policy for undergraduates and Undergraduate Research's project eligibility guidelines. Use the "OIA Travel Checklist" as a start. Refer also to the travel-related resources below as you construct your travel and safety plans.

Human Subjects Research Requirements

Human subjects research is defined as the systematic investigation of data from living persons to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. This can include interviews, ethnographic observations, reviews of existing records, and experimental medical procedures. All human subjects research must follow certain policies to minimize risks to those subjects.

If your research involves human subjects, you must complete the following steps by the time you submit your application for an Undergraduate Research Student Grant. Click here for a complete view of the requirements and timeline:

An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a federally mandated panel that is charged with overseeing the protection of human participants in research. Stanford's IRB procedures are spelled out on the website Human Subjects Research and IRB. Many undergraduates find the "For Researchers" and FAQs sections of the IRB web pages especially helpful.

Not sure where to begin? For an overview of human subjects research, examples of projects that generally do and do not require IRB review, and instructions on how to submit a Human Subjects Protocol, start with this helpful resource: Introduction to Stanford's Institutional Review Board.

If you and your faculty mentor are still unsure whether your project involves human subjects research or whether it requires IRB review, consult with Stanford's IRB: For non-medical research, write to irbnonmed@stanford.edu; for medical research, write to irbeducation@stanford.edu. If Stanford's IRB concludes that your research does not require review, you do not have to submit a Human Subjects Protocol.
If your project requires IRB review, you must first complete Stanford's online Human Subjects Certification Tutorial (CITI Training). Your certification is valid for three years, and you can do this training early in your project preparation process. Your faculty mentor must also complete the tutorial in order to be your sponsor for the Human Subjects Protocol, so be sure to check with your mentor if he or she is already certified, or give him/her adequate notice to complete the tutorial. Take your CITI Training Tutorial here.
Unless IRB determines that your project does not require review, you must submit a Human Subjects Protocol (eProtocol) for IRB review. Your eProtocol is a detailed plan for conducting your research on human subjects. At the latest, you must submit your eProtocol by the first day of the same month as your intended Student Grant deadline. Submit your eProtocol here.

If you will be working on a project that should be covered by your lab or work group's IRB protocol, you must ensure that the IRB approval certificate (Certification of Human Subjects Approvals) has your name on it. If your name is not on the protocol, you need to work closely with your PI to submit this update to the IRB, again no later than the first day of the same month as your intended Student Grant deadline.

If your project is one that requires IRB Review, you must submit proof of submission of your eProtocol with your grant application. Should Undergraduate Research accept your proposal, you will have to submit a copy of your IRB approval certificate. See the For Awardees page for more details.

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