Pre-approval: ethics review process

Pre-approval: ethics review process

Preparing your application

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult their relevant research ethics advisor for their faculty prior to making a submission. Contact one of your faculty research ethics advisors

To apply for human research ethics approval please download and complete the Macquarie University Ethics Application Form and any other forms or appendices as required.

Once completed your application should be emailed to as a single PDF file.

If you have any questions regarding your application or the application process please contact the Ethics Secretariat on +61 2 9850 4459 or by email:

Human ethics online application form

Currently available to Faculty of Science and External applicants only. Click here to login using your MQ OneID/Student ID.

What to include in your application

  1. Please submit your application on the current version of the form. Download the form here.
  2. Please ensure that your PICFs are on faculty letterhead.
  3. Please ensure that your contact details and staff ID are correct.
  4. When submitting your application please include all relevant information, including:
    • participant information and consent forms
    • proposed interview questions
    • questionnaires and surveys
    • advertisements or recruitment leaflets
    • telephone scripts
    • recruitment letters and emails
    • letters of approval from organisations assisting in the research in any way.

Application assessment

Your application will be checked and the risk assessed by the Ethics team. If your ethics application is assessed as greater than low risk it will be submitted to the next available HREC meeting. If your application is assessed as low risk, your application will be forwarded to the appropriate faculty ethics sub-committee for review.

Once your application has been considered by the HREC you can expect to receive notification about the HREC's decision within 25 working days following the meeting. During busy times, such as the first and last quarter of the year, it may take longer to process your application. 


Notification of the HREC's feedback is sent to the Chief Investigator by email, and often researchers will be asked to provide clarifications or make changes to the application. Depending on the requested clarifications or amendments, the responses received and the time taken to review responses, the review process from submission to final ethics approval may take longer than 25 working days.

The HRECs request that applicants respond to HREC correspondence within six weeks. If a response has not been received within six weeks, your ethics application will be archived. If you are unable to respond within the six-week period please contact the Ethics Secretariat (

Notification of the HREC's decision is not the same as final ethics approval and often researchers will be asked to make clarifications/amendments to the protocol. Researchers' replies will then be considered by the HREC Executive or deferred to the HREC for review. Please be aware that this response process takes some time.

Faculty ethics sub-committee review

For any applications that are forwarded to the Faculty Ethics Subcommittees for review, applicants can expect to receive notification about the Subcommittee's decision within 20 working days. This process may take longer during peak periods. 

The University HRECs and the faculty ethics sub-committees require that any issues communicated to applicants following Subcommittee review be addressed within six weeks. This is to ensure that work is not undertaken without prior ethics review and approval and to ensure that issues remain relevant.

If you think you will have trouble meeting this deadline, then you should contact the relevant faculty ethics sub-committee to discuss the matter further.

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