IRB review and approval is required for all research involving human subjects conducted at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center or Penn State College of Medicine. Approval must be obtained prior to including human subjects in an investigation. Below are helpful resources for researchers preparing an IRB submission. New researchers are encouraged to contact the HSPO to request a consultation with an IRB analyst.

For recent announcements and new procedures see HSPO Updates.




Research submissions to the IRB are made online at, in the institution's Centralized Application Tracking System CATS IRB.  The following help resources are available for using the CATS IRB system.  (Note:  For non-CATS system requests, such as Emergency Use, Review Prepatory to Research, or Research with Decedent Information, see the link below for Forms and Instructions Not in CATS IRB.) 

  • IRB Study Submission Guide - contains step-by-step instructions for all types of submissions in CATS IRB 
  • CATS IRB Library  -  contains the templates to make a submission, and the Investigator Manual which includes sections on how to write a consent form and protocol
  • CATS Help links  - includes Introduction section, Submitting a Study, Help for Specific Pages and more   
  • Training and Help Hours - see the list of CATS IRB Help Hours and Workshops under Educational Resources
  • Converting an Existing Study from PRAMS to CATS IRB
    At the next modification or continuation review for a study converted from PRAMS, complete the conversion steps in the CATS IRB system following these instructions: 
        - Study Submission Guide - see the conversion section, Completing the Conversion Process in CATS IRB  
        - Study Team Qualifications - use the CATS IRB Library template to create team qualifications document 
        - UUpdate older consent forms - see Updating Consent Forms and Converting Parental Permission Forms