Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Students

Each School has their own School Ethics Forum which considers Undergraduate (MA/MEduc/BSc/BAcc/LLB) and Postgraduate Taught (MSc/MEd/IntM/MBA/MGB) student applications for ethical approval.  Application forms and notes on how to complete them are available below. An Ethics Application Form, a Plain Language Statement (or Participant Information Sheet) and a Privacy Notice are required for all applications.

There is a separate form for Cohort (block) approval, this is for course convenors to request approval for a research project across a cohort. Please see below.

Important Information given below relating to Coronavirus pandemic and research 

The different Schools within the College have different guidelines regarding the use of socially distant and primary data collection methods by UG and PGT students.
Please consult the relevant guidelines below. (Word Docs)

School of Interdisciplinary Studies Note: If you intend to conduct face-to-face research, you must comply with all relevant Scottish Government or relevant local government social distancing measures in place at the time of the proposed research. The School Ethics Forum (SEF) will expect to see evidence of relevant social distancing requirements and compliance measures before any research is approved.

Ethics Forms and Guidance Notes: UG and PGT

Important Note: in all cases applications will be returned if Ethical Risks sections not fully completed and/or signatures not provided both there and at end of application form.  Remember that a Privacy Notice is now usually required for all applications.

(All Word Documents)

Application Form and Notes

UG and PGT Ethics Application Form

Notes Version UG and PGT Ethics Application Form

UG and PGT Protocol for Research Dealing with Non Standard Data

UG and PGT Protocol for Research with Non Standard Data

With Notes UG and PGT Protocol for Research with Non Standard Data

Cohort (Block) Approval Application Form (course convenors only)

Cohort Approval Application Form

Amendments Form (for Approved Applications)

UG & PGT Request for Amendments to Approved Application

Risk Guidance 

Risk Guidance February 2020

Sample Plain Language Statements and Notes - contacts for School Ethics Forum Convenors (Ethics Officers)

Child Plain Language Statement

Child Plain Language Statement FAQ Style

Parent Plain Language Statement

Plain Language Statement FAQ Style

Plain Language Statement Guidelines

Privacy Notice

Privacy Notice V1

Data Management Plan  (not normally required unless using sensitive data or is a high risk project)

Data Management Plan Template for PGR Students (can be used by all students)

Data Management Plan Notes

Data Protection Impact Assessment Template (not normally required unless using sensitive data or is a high risk project, see DPIA)

DPIA Template V2 May 2022

Sample Consent Forms and Notes

Consent Form Sample 1

Consent Form Sample 2

With Notes Consent Form

Easy Read Forms

Easy Read Plain Language Statement

Easy Read Consent Form



Amendments to Approved Applications

If you find you need to make changes to your research project after you have received ethical approval you must notify your School Ethics Forum of this and ensure that the changes are also approved.

You may wish to amend things such as:

  • the study design,
  • addition of new participant group,
  • procedures undertaken by participants,
  • key/senior supervisory staff,
  • timescale during which the data collection will take place or extension of overall approval period.

A ‘Request for Amendments to Approved Ethics Application’ form is available to download from the UG & PGT Ethics Forms and Guidance Notes section.

This should be submitted with any accompanying amended documentation, such as a Plain Language Statement/Information Sheet/Consent Form etc. to the School Ethics Administrator via email.  The contact email addresses are available from the Ethics Contacts page

Where possible the amendments will be forwarded to the original reviewers for consideration. Please note that the reviewers may request some clarification before confirming acceptance of the changes proposed.

Please note this process can take up to 10 working days.

Only once confirmation of approval is received can the project utilise these amended provisions. Failure to obtain this approval means that you are not in receipt of ethical approval, which could have serious consequences.

Cohort (Block) Ethical Approval

Any student who intends utilising primary research (primary data collection using human subjects) must apply for ethical approval. If your academic programme has received cohort (block) ethical approval, you, in consultation with your supervisor, and following a review of the College Ethics guidance, need to come to an informed decision as to whether your research is deemed low or high risk. This will determine the type of ethical approval process that will need to be followed. If your research is considered high, or of a higher risk nature, you must complete a full individual ethics application for an individual stand-alone project and cannot make use of the fast-track ethical approval process. Information is available on the College Ethics website (https://www.gla.ac.uk/colleges/socialsciences/students/ethics/forms/undergraduateandpostgraduatetaughtstudents/).

If your research project is considered as low risk, then you may be eligible to make use of the fast-track approval process. To do so, you are required to:

1. Complete and personalise (e.g. dissertation title, description, contact details etc. to be relevant to your research project) the following proformas:

  • Consent Form for Participants
  • Privacy Notice for Participants
  • Participant Information Sheet

2. Prepare draft interview / focus group / survey questions which will be used for the collection of data for your project. Whilst these do not have to be the final version, they must be close. If the final version is noticeably different, then the ethical approval process will need to be revisited.

3. Submit them all the documents above to your supervisor. They will review them and ensure that they are acceptable, i.e., that they comply with the College Ethics requirements for interactions with humans.

4. Complete the Student Dissertation Ethics Declaration Form using the following link https://forms.office.com/e/n9eBVNffXd, which includes the following statement which you must accept: “I have read the University’s current human ethics guidelines and accept responsibility for the conduct of the procedures set out in the attached application in accordance with the guidelines, the University’s Code of Conduct for Research and any other condition laid down by the University of Glasgow Ethics Committee and the College of Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.

Ethics Guidelines: https://www.gla.ac.uk/research/strategy/ourpolicies/ethics

5. Upon completion of the review of your application, the School Ethics Administration will send a Notification of Ethics Application Outcome to your supervisor. Your supervisor will indicate on that notification that full approval is given and will then send a copy to you and to the School Ethics Administration that you are now ready to start collection of data for your research project. Remember - you are not permitted to start primary research without a fully approved application either via the fast track or the full individual application process. Failure to follow the ethical review and approval process for your primary research will result in non-acceptance of your dissertation submission and referral the Senate’s Student Conduct Committee.

6. You should retain the completed notification of ethics application outcome sent to you by your supervisor which confirms full ethics approval.

Responsibility: UG & PGT

It is the student’s responsibility to submit applications to your Supervisor timeously and in the proper format.  Your Supervisor should submit the application on your behalf to the relevant School Ethics Forum, using the appropriate administrative contact for your School.

Once you have received your ethical approval document, you are required to keep this. You will be asked to include it with your dissertation, not in the form of an Appendix, but loose inside the front cover so that it can be checked and then removed to ensure anonymity for the marking phase.

Students must check and comply with any legal requirements, such as vetting procedures for working with children, before proceeding with this work; they are responsible for checking and complying with such legal requirements.

It is the Supervisor’s responsibility to:

  • Communicate the importance of ethics in research to students
  • Support the development of a full and sensible application, with focus on risk and risk minimization
  • Guide students in keeping to the approved project, dealing properly with any amendments
  • Inculcate an attitude of respect for ethical principles in research.

Supervisor Notes: UG & PGT

When making an application, supervisors should ensure that the following points are considered:

  • How the welfare of participants and researchers will be ensured and that no harm is done either to them, or to the reputation of the University of Glasgow, funders and/or partners.
  • How confidentiality will be ensured and if appropriate, anonymity.
  • How can voluntary participation be ensured?
  • Making sure consent is informed and documented (usually in writing).
  • How long the data be retained for and how will it be stored securely
  • Is it appropriate to destroy the data and if so, when.
  • If the research is international, does it comply with ethical guidelines in the country they are working in as well as with University of Glasgow guidelines?

Most undergraduate and taught postgraduate students are applying for ethical approval for their dissertation research.  If you are a supervisor of dissertation students, your involvement and participation in the ethical approval process is very important. Here are some pointers about what you need to do.  You should also refer to the other guidance on the College ethics webpages.  As supervisor you should discuss research ethics with the student relevant to their particular study and help them to fill in the application form.

You may find it helpful to refer to the College Ethics Reviewer Notes for more detail on what the reviewers will be looking for in the application.

  • You must indicate if the study is ‘low risk’ or high risk’.  You should refer to the Risk Guidance February 2020 (Word Doc)
  • You must complete the supervisor statement on ethical risks and confirm that you are submitting the application for review.  The end section confirming the acceptance of code of practice must also be signed in some form by both student and supervisor.  The application will be returned if these sections are not completed or if the application does not include the appropriate supporting documentation (eg. Plain Language Statement, Consent Form, Interview Questions etc)

You should submit the application on behalf of the student to the relevant School Ethics Forum, using the appropriate administrative contact for your School. See Ethics Contacts. School of Education applicants should submit using the Research Ethics online System, available in the University Business Systems selecting the School of Education Ethics Committee.

School Ethics Fora

Full details of how each individual School Ethics Forum reviews applications is available here: School Ethics Fora

‌The School Ethics Fora are a subset of the College Research Ethics Committee and as such, within the School context, have the same powers in relation to ethics applications.

The Ethics Forum may:

  • Authorise the research to proceed without requiring any amendment.  Any such authorisation is granted on the basis of the project as stated on the research submission.  Any changes must be notified to the Ethics Forum (see Amendments) and normally approval obtained before proceeding.
  • Require clarification or modification of parts of the research submission.  The amendments will generally be returned to the original reviewers for confirmation.
  • Defer consideration of a proposal if substantial modifications are required or where significant additional information is required until that information is supplied and reviewed.
  • Reject the research proposal in whole or in part.
  • Revoke approval of the research if dissatisfied with the conduct of the research or of the researchers.
  • Refer University students or staff through the University’s disciplinary procedures if issues of concern arise from the research.

As part of their assistance to researchers, the Ethics Forum will ordinarily give reasons for requiring modification to proposals, rejecting them or for revoking approval.

The Ethics Forum may call for reports on the conduct of the research during projects and on completion so that the Ethics Forum can be assured that projects continue to conform to approved ethical standards. This will not in any way reduce the responsibility of the researcher to ensure such conformity.

Appeals: UG & PGT

If you are dissatisfied with the decision made by your School’s Ethics Forum you should in the first instance discuss this with the relevant Convenor.  If discussion is unable to resolve the issue, an appeal may be made to the College Ethics Committee, who may refer the issue to the University Ethics Committee. However the University Committee will not normally interfere with a decision to require revisions to the project, such as to amend an information sheet or consent form. The University Ethics Committee is concerned with the general principles of natural justice, reasonableness and fairness of the decision made by the College or School Committees.

The University Ethics Committee will provide general advice to the College Research Ethics Committee and will refer the matter back to them with that advice for them to make a decision.