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Student Research

Submitting a New PHIRST Application for Human Subjects Research Activities

If the IRB determines that a student project requires the submission of a new PHIRST (Public Health Institutional Review Submission Tracking) application because it is human subjects research, here’s what the student needs to do:

STEP 1 - Secure a Principal Investigator (PI). 

In order to start work on a research application, you must have a primary faculty member who agrees to serve as Principal Investigator (PI) and will be responsible for your project.  Both the student and the PI should review the IRB guidance called, “What am I agreeing to do when I become Principal Investigator on a JHSPH IRB protocol?”

STEP 2 - Register in PHIRST. 

Register in PHIRST, our electronic application system (see our PHIRST User Guide). Contact the PHIRST helpdesk at or 410-502-5780 if you need assistance.

STEP 3 - Complete human subjects research training through CITI.

It takes about an hour and can be completed anywhere, any time. Instructions are in the CITI FAQs.

STEP 4 - Request the PI to start the PHIRST application.  

The faculty member must start the application process in PHIRST, identifying him- or herself as having the “PI role.” The PI will select a role for you as a “student investigator.”

STEP 5 - You and the PI collaborate on the research application.

But only the primary faculty member may submit it.