School of Sciences and Humanities Institutional Research Ethics Committee

**This concerns undergraduate and graduate students only. Professors should consult this webpage.**

The School of Sciences and Humanities Institutional Research Ethics Committee (SSH IREC) is responsible for education and oversight of ethical standards for students in the School of Sciences and Humanities who are conducting human subject research at Nazarbayev University. The primary role of SSH IREC is to safeguard the rights and welfare of all human subjects who participate in research studies conducted by Nazarbayev University students in the School of Sciences and Humanities and to ensure that student research meets the highest international standards of research ethics. In compliance with these standards as well as Nazarbayev University institutional policies regarding research ethics, all SSH student research projects involving human subjects have to be reviewed and approved by SSH IREC. 

SSH IREC is now accepting all applications through this webpage. SSH IREC is no longer accepting the “IREC Application Form” Word or PDF documents. SSH students should NOT send any application materials to either or Links to the SSH IREC Application forms can be found in the Instructions for Submitting an SSH IREC Application section below.

SSH IREC has the authority to disapprove, modify, or approve protocols based upon consideration of human subject protection. If SSH IREC cannot determine the status based on the information provided, the application will be returned to the investigator with a request for additional information. It is in the investigator’s interest to provide thorough information. Delays are most likely to occur if the investigator does not provide the information needed for SSH IREC to conduct its review or if spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors prevent the clear communication of project and participant information.

For more detailed information about IREC terminology, expectations, review procedures, and other helpful topics, please refer to Section 5 on the Nazarbayev University Institutional Research Ethics Committee website located at this link. 

Do you think that you might need SSH IREC approval for your research project? Fill out this simple form to find out. 

Important Guidelines for Submitting an SSH IREC Application

The SSH IREC Application must be approved prior to the student (undergraduate or graduate) conducting research. Data collection/analysis may not begin until there has been IREC approval of this project.

The SSH IREC Application will be submitted using Google Forms. Please check your internet browser compatibility.

This is a professional document, so check spelling, grammar, and punctuation prior to submission. SSH IREC will return applications to the applicant without approval if spelling, grammar and punctuation prevent the clear communication of project and participant information.

All students who submit the online SSH IREC Application forms will need to complete the CITI Training: Social & Behavioral Research – Basic/Refresher and attach a PDF of the Completion Report that shows their quiz scores. A score of at least 80% on all quizzes is required.

Fill in the online SSH IREC Application Form and attach all necessary documents. 

The Signature Form will be filled out and submitted after the application is approved. 

Please refer to the Glossary of Common IREC Terminology if necessary.

Instructions for Submitting an SSH IREC Application

Your project may be eligible for an exemption from IREC review, an expedited review, or a full review. What sort of SSH IREC review will your research project require? Fill out this form to find out. Most student projects are eligible for expedited review.

Complete and submit the SSH IREC Application Form.

The form has three parts: In the first part, you will provide basic information, a summary of your research, and answer questions about your research methods.

In the second part,  you will answer yes/no questions and provide explanations regarding risk/benefit analysis, use of special populations, protection of participant confidentiality and anonymity, etc.

You will then upload the required documents: Your CITI Training Completion Report, your research advisor’s CITI Training Completion Certificate, your Questionnaire or other Survey Instrument (in English, Russian, and Kazakh), your Informed Consent Form(s) (in English, Russian, and Kazakh), and any additional forms your project requires. Document templates may be found below. Additional documents may include recruitment materials (flyers, email, oral scripts), surveys/questionnaires, and anything else that will be distributed to participants.

Your SSH IREC Application will then be reviewed by the SSH IREC in accordance with the committee bylaws and Nazarbayev University institutional policies regarding research. You will receive feedback that may include requests for clarification, amendments, corrections, etc. 

Once the project has been approved, you will receive an invitation in your NU email inbox to sign the SSH IREC Signature Form online. SSH IREC will invite your advisor to sign the form. There is nothing more that you need to do.

You may begin your research project.

Required Documents Templates

Written Informed Consent Form Template 

Informed Consent Form Template for Internet Surveys (Use only if you are using an online survey instrument)

Oral Consent Script Template (Oral Consent requires approval from SSH IREC)

Assent Form Template (Use only if your participants are minors)

CITI Training

NU requires its ethics committee members, principal investigators, and all participating staff to complete the relevant Collaborative Institutional Training Institute (CITI) web-based training program.

Access the CITI training and click on “New Users Register Here”; this will take you to the Course Registration page.

Select “Nazarbayev University” from the dropdown list of Participating Institutions.

Enter your name and NU issued email address for CITI training.

For best results, use your NU email address as the “Preferred Email”.

Once you have provided the registration information, select “Add a Course”. For Question 1, select “Social & Behavioral Research Investigators: Choose this group to satisfy CITI training requirements for Investigators and staff involved primarily in Social and Behavioral research with human subjects.” (The topics covered in the “Students conducting no more than minimal risk research” selection are all included in the Social and Behavioral Research Basic Course.) For the rest of the questions, select “Not at this time, thank you.” For question 7, select “No” and do not make a selection in question 8.

Complete the Social & Behavioral Research – Basic/Refresher course. You must score at least 80% on all of the quizzes. 

Once you are finished, select “View-Print-Share Record” then “View/Print” under the “Completion Report.” Save the file as a PDF and submit it with your application.

Tips for Success

1) Submit all the required documents, including your CITI Training Completion Report and your advisor’s CITI Training Completion Certificate.

2) Submit informed consent and all instruments in required languages (at least English, Russian, and Kazakh, as well as any other languages that may be required for your research)

3) If you are using Google Translate, have the documents checked by native speakers.

4) Use a word processor, like Word, to compose your answers and copy them into the online form. Use the features of the word processor to check for spelling and grammar errors. 

5) Give careful consideration and attention to your participant recruitment process.

6) If your research involves children, include parent consent and child assent scripts.

7) Use simple (lay) language in your application and in your consent forms.

Length of Processing

For a complete, well-written application, an Expedited Review will take 3 weeks or less to complete. 


For a Full Board Review, which is done by the Institutional-level (Nazarbayev University) IREC, the process may take up to 6 weeks to complete.

What is the Difference Between SSH IREC and NU IREC?

SSH IREC is a subcommittee of the Nazarbavev University IREC. NU IREC reviews and approves IREC proposals from NU faculty and staff as well as student proposals that require a full ethics board review. SSH IREC reviews and approves research project proposals submitted by undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Sciences and Humanities.

SSH IREC Committee Contact Information

For any questions or concerns, please send an email to 

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