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The Faculty of Architecture and History of Art


For University information on research ethics see: Research Ethics | Research Integrity (

The University of Cambridge is fully committed to the advancement of high-quality academic research and to ensuring that all research activities undertaken by University employees, or on University premises, involving human participation or personal data are undertaken in a way that safeguards the dignity, rights, health, safety, and privacy of those involved. This commitment is set out in the University’s Policy on the Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants and Personal Data and extends to participants, researchers, students and third parties.


Faculty of Architecture and History of Art Research Ethics Committee

The objectives of the Committee are:

  • to maintain ethical standards of practice in research;
  • to ensure that researchers are trained in, and aware of, ethical issues in research;
  • to protect participants in research and researchers from harm;
  • to preserve the participants’ rights;
  • to take account of legitimate interests of other individuals, bodies and communities associated with the research; and
  • to provide reassurance to the public and to outside bodies that these are being done.

The Committee will assess all applications for approval for research which involves either human participation and/or personal data.


What type of Research Requires Ethics Review and Approval?

Much of the research conducted in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art (critical, analytic, technical, design-based or historical) is unlikely to raise any ethical issues. However, experimental research, and fieldwork, if conducted within anthropological or sociological frameworks for instance, will require ethics review and approval. The Faculty has guidelines for the conduct of such research, and procedures (see Ethics Process Flowchart) and the Faculty Research Ethics Committee will consider all proposed research which will involve:

  • i - fieldwork or experiments involving human participants; or
  • ii - use of personal data.
  • iii - work with children or vulnerable individuals;
  • iv - work with NHS patients, staff or facilities.

Students should read the Research Ethics and Integrity section of their course Handbook which explains the different aspects of conducting research involving human participation – such as informed consent, confidentiality, anonymity, using social media and avoiding harm.


Application Process

There are two forms

  1. Undergraduate and MArch programme. Their ethics approval depends on supervisor approval, and it does not escalate to the ethics committee.
  2. Other Postgraduates and Staff. Their ethics approval will be considered by the ethics committee.

The links to the ethics forms are:

Undergraduate/ MArch -

Other Postgraduates/ Staff researchers -

Students should include upload the following documents with their online form:

  • a - Participant Information Sheet [See here for advice]
  • b - Consent Form [See here for advice and here for a template form]
  • c - Project Outline & Proposed Research Methods [See here for advice]

Research ethics applications may be submitted at any time.  They will be considered on two dates during Term time.  Applications should therefore be submitted, at the latest, a minimum of 2 days in advance of each date.  The proposed dates for ethics approval for the year 2023-2024 are as follows:



  • a - 18 November 2023
  • b - 16 December 2023


  • c - 17 February  2024
  • d - 16 March  2024


  • e - 1 June 2024
  • f - 14 June 2024


Any application which misses an ethics consideration date will be considered on the following date in that term, or the first date in the next.

If you have a question for the Research Ethics team, please contact  Research ethics questions and business will be conducted through this email address, not via an individual’s email account.  

Undergraduate or M.Arch. Research Proposals

Undergraduates or M.Arch. students who intend to undertake work for formal assessment that involves research under any of the categories (i) to (iv) above, must complete the online Ethics Review Form and upload with it the three listed documents (a., b., c.).  The completed form and documents are automatically forwarded to the student’s supervisor for review and approval.  If the supervisor has any concerns the student will be asked to revise their application and/or documents and re-submit.  If the contents of the form and the documents are acceptable, the approval will be granted and the student will be notified by email, which will contain any comments which have been added in the process.

These applications will typically take 4-6 weeks to be processed.


Other Postgraduates/Postdoc/Staff Research Proposals

Other Postgraduate students, post-doctoral researchers and staff who intend to undertake research which falls into categories (i) to (iv) above, must complete the relevant Ethical Review Form (postgraduates should complete the form in consultation with their supervisor) which will be automatically forwarded either to their supervisor (students) or Principal Investigator (PI) for approval.  Once approval is given, the application will proceed to the Research Ethics Committee for final approval.  The student will be notified of the outcome via email.



Where research proposals involve children or other vulnerable individuals, or pose ethical issues that appear beyond the expertise of the Research Ethics Committee, they will be remitted to an appropriate Schools-level Ethics Committee (either the Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee  or the Social Science Research Ethics Committee).


Guidelines for Ethical Review of coursework (i.e. not submitted dissertations or research papers) for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Supervisors

The value of ethical review is to ensure that researchers have rigorously considered the potential consequences of their research for themselves and others, particularly those who participate in, or are the subjects of, the research. Completion of an Ethics Review form should help guarantee this, as the nature and the practicalities of the research to be undertaken has to be clear in a student's mind for the form to be filled in satisfactorily.

All students undertaking practical coursework involving human participants (whether experimental, questionnaire, interview-based, or ethnographic) should fill in a form when they have settled on a topic or project in sufficient detail. In the first instance these are reviewed by the supervisor, who can require students to revise their forms, and who approves those that have no—or trivial—ethical implications. It is expected that the majority of forms for any given course are likely to be fall into this category.

Those deemed by the supervisor to require more comprehensive scrutiny should be forwarded to the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee for approval; revision may be required before approval is granted. It is expected that very few—if any—applications for ethical review will be rejected; the value of the process lies in making explicit to the students what is required of a successful piece of research involving human participants or data, and in providing a process of review that can draw on broad expertise in providing feedback to the students in order that they can amend their research plans appropriately.

Each supervisor should provide a copy of all submitted and approved Ethical Review forms to Secretary of the Faculty Board; the University requires that we compile an annual report on the workings of the ethical review process in the Faculty.

Supervisors should familiarise themselves with the Faculty's guidelines for the conduct of experimental and social research. Links to more detailed, discipline-specific guidelines are provided on the on the University Research Ethics Webpage Research Ethics | Research Integrity 

Course leaders should familiarise themselves with the Faculty's guidelines for the conduct of experimental and social research. Links to more detailed, discipline-specific guidelines are provided on the Faculty's ethics website and on the University Research Ethics Webpage.