Coursework Ethics Clearance Policy

Last Updated 17 January, 2017


The Research Ethics Committee has developed a policy determination for cases where a Course Unit Outline or Course Unit Booklet includes an assessment task such as a minor interview by the student. This policy allows that ethics clearance may be given on the basis of the CUO or CUB rather than individually for each student.


Students undertaking coursework units that include a minor research component such as interviews or questionnaires with respondents who are not in any defined ‘at risk’ category may apply for Research Ethics Committee approval by submission of the unit outline through the lecturer-in-charge.

The submission should be accompanied by an assurance from the lecturer that:

  • the research task in question involves only low or negligible risk to participants (that is, where the only risk is ‘discomfort’ or ‘inconvenience’);
  • he or she is familiar with the principles (as distinct from the processes) in SCD’s document ‘Guidelines: Ethical Review of Research Involving Human Subjects’;
  • he or she is able to provide effective supervision to each student carrying out the research task;
  • each student has an appropriate standard consent form to present to participants;
  • no subjects of the research fall into the categories listed at Item 8 of the SCD document ‘Ethical Clearance of Research Involving Human Subjects: Application for Approval of Research’, and deliberate deception of participants is not involved;
  • research data that contains material that may identify participants will not be retained by students but will be submitted to the institution for destruction or secure

After a sufficient number of such applications have been viewed and approved, the Committee may consider varying this policy to allow a teaching body that has its own properly constituted Ethics Committee to process such low-risk research internally.

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