The following information describes the ethical approval processes for research involving humans in the School of Pharmacy.

Do I need to obtain ethics approval?

Research that involves human participants, materials or data often requires ethical approval. School of Pharmacy students must investigate the need for ethical clearance for any research projects they undertake and obtain it when required.

Students in the following programs need to consider the need for ethical review for their research projects:

  • Postgraduate Honours
  • Major in Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics 
  • Coursework Masters (Clinical Pharmacy)
  • Research Higher Degrees (Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy)

Why do I need to have ethical approval?

To ensure:

  • Members of the University of Queensland behave in an informed and responsible manner in the conduct of their research.
  • Those who volunteer to be participants in my research project have their rights and needs respected and protected

Where can I find information?

The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research is an accessible document that informs the ethical conduct of human research conducted in Australia. The National Statement provides guidance to researchers and Human Research Ethics Committees on assessing risk, types of consent and many other matters. Information regarding ethical review at UQ can be found here.

Who do I apply to for ethical approval?

The School of Pharmacy Human Research Ethics Committee reviews low risk research where the principal investigator is a student of the School (including PhD students).

“Low risk research” is defined in the National Statement:

The expression “low risk research” describes research in which the only foreseeable risk is one of discomfort. Research in which the risk for participants is more serious than discomfort is not low risk. (National Statement, p. 13)

Projects that are higher than low risk and projects by staff require full Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approval through one of the University’s committees. Further information here.

The following information refers to School-level review in the School of Pharmacy.

How do I apply for ethical approval at the School level?

It is expected that the research student’s academic advisory team would carefully work with the student in completing the application form.

Step 1

Download and read National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research and The University of Queensland Guidelines for Ethical Review of Research Involving Humans.

Step 2

Download and complete the University of Queensland “Application Form for Ethical Clearance for Research Involving Human Participants”. This includes the Human Ethical Clearance Checklist. Fill in the paperwork and save a copy of the document.

Step 3

Forward an electronic copy of the Application Form (including the Application Checklist) to In your email, please state your anticipated start date and an estimate of your completion date.

What is the approval process? 

The application is sent to the School of Pharmacy Human Ethics committee. Members of the committee read and comment on the application. Comments from the committee are then collated and fed back to the applicant. Re-submissions may be approved by the Chair of the Human Ethics Committee, however if extensive amendments are required, the application will be circulated to the members of the committee again. If the project is deemed to be more than low risk by the committee, your application will need to be submitted to the University’s HREC.

When can I expect an answer?

Applications may be submitted to the committee at any time. Applications are processed upon receipt by the Chair of the School of Pharmacy Human Ethics Committee on an ongoing basis. An email will be sent to the applicant to confirm receipt and advise of the application number. Please quote this number in all dealings with the Committee.

Applicants should allow for a processing time of about 4–6 weeks.

Who will advise me of the outcome?

Applicants will be notified in writing (usually by email) of the outcome of their application.

What do I do next?

Once ethical approval has been granted, students can commence their project.

What is the scope of the School of Pharmacy Ethics Committee?

The scope of the School of Pharmacy Human Research Committee is defined in The University of Queensland Guidelines for Ethical Review of Research Involving Humans.

The School of Pharmacy Human Ethics Committee reviews protocols from their students up to the level of, and including, PhD in the following circumstances:

  1. Where the project involves no more than low risk, and  
  2. The school committee considers that it does not require institutional review (by either BSSERC or MREC).

Protocols involving a higher risk will properly fall within the jurisdiction of one of the institutional ethics committees.

The structure of the School of Pharmacy Human Ethics Committee is:

  • Chair 
  • Three members, comprising representation from School of Pharmacy academic staff

The School of Pharmacy Human Ethics Committee reports through the research and Postgraduate Studies Committee to the Head of School. Members of the ethics committee abstain from reviewing application from students they are supervising.

Records of reviewed protocols are be maintained by the School of Pharmacy.