Research Ethics

Human research conducted by students and staff of the University of Melbourne requires ethical approval. All applications for research ethics must be reviewed by the MSPS Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG) in the first instance. Depending on the nature of the research project and the type of application required, some research projects must also be reviewed by one of the University's Human Ethics Sub-Committees (HESC) before being granted approval.

More information about research ethics and integrity at the University of Melbourne can be found on the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity (OREI) web-page.

The MSPS Application Process

Key Application Steps

This page contains a summary of the Ethics application process. For more information on the application process please refer to the MSPS Application Manual linked below:

Ethics Application Manual (PDF 168.0 KB)

1. Consider the ethical dimensions of your research project

One of the questions here is: Is my application minimal risk? Please read the Minimal Risk Checklist for more details on minimal risk ethics applications at the University of Melbourne.

Minimal Risk Checklist (PDF 174.9 KB)

Answers to other questions about various types of ethics applications and procedures can be found on the OREI  website.

2. Submit the appropriate application in Themis

All applications must be submitted in Themis via the Human Ethics Workbench of the Research Self Service module. 'Psychological Sciences' should be selected as the responsible HEAG. Before accessing the Workbench for the first time, researchers must first create a Themis password via the Themis accounts screen.

University IT account management (link)

Themis login page (link)

Students (Honours, Masters, PhD) are able to upload relevant documents to Themis on behalf of the Responsible Researcher (usually their supervisor)

3. Preparing your single PDF

Compile a single PDF for submission to HEAG for initial review, including Themis application summary, application form, Plain Language Statement, consent form, debriefing statement and materials.

The most common errors in ethics applications are related to the content and format of the Plan Language Statement and the Consent Form. The School has therefore provided the following templates and requires all researches to adopt them unless there is a valid reason for using an alternative document template.

Plain Language Statement (PLS) template (DOCX 69.9 KB)

Consent Form template   (DOCX 67.0 KB)

Debriefing Statement template (DOCX 69.0 KB)

4. Submitting your single PDF

Email this PDF the School Ethics Administrator


Please note: only Responsible Researchers (members of academic staff) are to email the correspond with HEAG and HESC.

Please do not send these documents to any personal email address.

  • Minimal Risk: If your submission is minimal risk, project-within-program, registration, transfer or an amendment you may submit this to HEAG at any time for in-house HEAG review.
  • Non-Minimal Risk: If your application is a Standard Project or Program, it will need to be reviewed at a HESC meeting and so will need to be submitted to HEAG by the dates in the HESC Submission Date table.

The HEAG is not able to guarantee that applications submitted after these deadlines will be processed and reviewed in time to meet the monthly Behavioural and Social Sciences HESC committee schedule.

5. Respond to the HEAG

If you receive feedback from HEAG, please make any required changes as soon as possible and email a detailed account of your responses, as well as an amended PDF to the reviewer, cc'ing

If the HEAG requires you to make changes to Standard Project or Program applications, please do so within 24 hours to enable processing to continue in a timely enough fashion to meet HESC deadlines.

6. Respond to any issues raised by HESC (if necessary)

If you have submitted a Standard Project or Program application, you may receive feedback from the HESC. Please respond to this feedback as soon as possible. There is no need to cc any HEAG representatives in this communication. Direct communication with HESC representatives is preferable at this stage.

7. Await official approval letter

Once your application is approved by HEAG or HESC, you will be sent an official approval letter. Please wait for this letter before moving ahead with you research project.

HESC Submission Dates

2019 HEAG Submission Deadline

2019 HESC Submission Deadline

2019 HESC Meeting Date

8th November 2018

23rd November 2018

7th December 2018

10th January

24th January

8th February

7th February

21st February

8th March

14th March

28th March

12th April

12th April

26th April

10th May

9th May

23rd May

7th June

6th June

20th June

5th July

4th July

18th July

2nd August

8th August

22nd August

6th September

5th September

19th September

4th October

3rd October

17th October

1st November

7th November

21st November

6th December

HESC Submission Deadlines (link)


Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (PDF 235.8 KB)

Consent Form template   (DOCX 67.0 KB)

Debriefing Statement template (DOCX 69.0 KB)

Minimal Risk Checklist (PDF 174.9 KB)

National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (PDF 658.8 KB)

Plain Language Statement (PLS) template (DOCX 69.9 KB)

HEAG Membership

Contact HEAG


Research Experience Program (REP)

The School has implemented Sona Systems for the Research Experience Program. This means that participants can sign-up for projects on-line and researchers can organise their data collection session on-line as well.

Read more