Routes for Ethical Approval

Routes and Reasons for Ethical Approval

Why does my project need to undergo an ethical review?

The University must ensure that all its projects undergo appropriate ethical review before commencement.  This covers both internally and externally funded projects, and includes undergraduate and postgraduate projects.  In addition to the institutional requirement, main research funders (e.g. Research Councils) now require assurances that projects have been through an appropriate ethical review and that the research will be conducted within a research governance framework embedded within the institution. 

Which form should I use?


User group

Use Scenarios

Combined Ethics Form (inc. Preliminary & Full ethics forms)


All unfunded projects and course approvals

PGT / UG Students

All projects (not covered by other approval arrangements e.g. course level approval)

Preliminary Ethics Form

PGR Students

For all project approvals (1st stage)

Full Ethical Approval Form


For funded project approvals, where the preliminary assessment in MyProjects Proposals has identified that further University review is required.

PGR Students

For all project approvals, where the preliminary assessment on the standalone form has identified that further University review is required.

What are the possible routes for approval?

There are different routes for obtaining ethical approval, which are dependent on; the type of project, the participants, whether approval has been given by another institution, academic unit and student / staff status.

The University has a two stage process. The first stage is a preliminary review. This is a simple questionnaire that assesses whether you project is high risk and which directs you to the appropriate internal or external committee for further review if it is required. All projects whether unfunded or funded, staff / student / course should go through this preliminary process before any work at all begins.

At completion of the preliminary form there are several outcomes.


Next Steps


Involves the NHS

Go through external NRES approval route:


Involves Animals

Go through internal approval route, use University full form

Animal Welfare Ethical Review Board (AWERB)

Other areas noted as high risk

Go through internal approval route, use University full form

Faculty Ethics Committee(s) or Psychology sub-committee

Already obtained (and agreed)

No further action required


Not required

No further action required


If the preliminary form directs you for further review by one of the University Committees (AWERB or faculties) then you will need to provide some additional information through the University Full Form.

As well as the standalone forms the University has provided a combined form (incorporating the preliminary and full form). There are links to the forms below and advice on which users should use which form and when each one should be used.