Human Subjects Protection Course

As federally mandated and required by the UM IRB, all researchers and individuals involved in project activity must complete a self-study course in human subject protection. This requirement may be satisfied by taking one of the two courses below within the last three years. Keep a copy of the completion certificate in a safe place, such as wherever you store your resume or transcripts. The certificate is good for three years.  Certificates must be current throughout the duration of the research conducted under IRB oversight. 

Please note that researchers pursuing sponsored (funded) projects may need to complete additional training or other compliance requirements.  Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) courses do not fulfill the IRB course requirement. RCR courses are overseen by the Office of Sponsored Programs and are typically required by them for any sponsored projects.

  • OPTION 1: CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative).  You must set up an account to use the CITI program. On the CITI homepage, click on the “Register” box in the upper right corner. Under “Select Your Organization Affiliation,” type in and select “University of Montana.” Follow the instructions to continue with your account set-up (username and password).  Questions?  Contact the IRB office at 243-6672.
  • OPTION 2: University of Montana: Online Research Ethics Course. Take three sections:
    Section One - Ethical Issues in Research: A Framework,
    Section Two - Interpersonal Responsibility, and
    Section Six - Human Participation in Research.
    Type in your name before you take each quiz. Print and keep the assessment results (or save them as PDFs) for each of the three sections as the date completed is required on the UM IRB application. You must keep a copy of your own certificates.

    What happened to the NIH course? As of September 27, 2018, the NIH discontinued its free Protecting Human Research Participants training course. Access to the course or previous certificates is no longer available.

Confused about which course to take?  Check out our comparison chart below.

Relevent Factors
CITI Course
UM Course


Offers specific tracks catered to Biomedical or Social/Behavioral research.

Excellent coverage of Human Subjects Protection, with a focus more on Social/Behavioral research.


World-wide; it’s become the standard.

Only at the University of Montana and affiliated campuses.

Certificate valid for:

3 years

3 years

Time to Complete*

6 – 12 hours

1 – 3 hours

Renewal of Certification

CITI offers streamlined refresher courses in each track.  Est. time to complete = 2 – 4 hours.

None; You must re-take the entire course.

Record of Completion

CITI keeps a database by Institution, so your record can always be accessed by the Institution from which you took the course. (You should still keep a copy of your completion Certificate).

None; You must print-out and keep your own certificates.

 * The time to complete any course will vary depending on your previous subject knowledge and how many breaks you take.

Note:  Regardless of which course you take, you should always print out and keep a PDF copy of your course completion certificate(s), and you should store it in a place where you can find it again.  We recommend that you store it wherever you keep your transcripts and resume/CV.

Questions?  Contact the IRB office at 406-243-6672.