Human Subjects, Using

You may have occasion to give assignments in your classes that ask your students to conduct first-hand research or projects with human subjects: interviews, observations, experiments, professional activities, etc.  There are often very good pedagogical reasons for these assignments, so we encourage you to use them whenever they are appropriate.  But it is also very important for you to instruct your students fully about the ethical guidelines regarding research on human subjects.  NYU and the Gallatin School are committed to the principle that none of our educational activities, whether instructional or scholarly, should cause any harm to the people whom we are studying.  This code applies particularly strongly to children and to anyone with mental or physical disabilities, but in fact it covers any human subject.

Although your student may be doing the research, as the faculty sponsor you are responsible for ensuring appropriate research design when human subjects are involved and for assisting in development of the application to the University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects.  In addition, you have responsibility for his or her conduct in the field, adherence to the protocol, and any adverse advents or problems that may occur.  You should also be able to appropriately address any questions from subjects concerning their rights as a subject or potential violations of such rights.

If your students are assigned to conduct research or professional activities with human subjects, you should visit the NYU’s University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects website.  This site describes in detail guidelines for studying human subjects and will help you determine if your work will need to be reviewed and approved by the Committee.  The Committee’s website can be found here: