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Research Ethics

The University insists that all its research be conducted following the very highest ethical standards. Research integrity in general is a corner stone of high quality research.

The University subscribes to the research integrity standards as set out in the Singapore Statement which may be viewed here.

All researchers including staff and students conducting any research that may impact directly or indirectly on people, animals or the environment need to seek ethics clearance before any research is conducted. If one fails to obtain ethical clearance before the research is started, then this may lead to a breach of research integrity,articles not being published and students being barred from graduating.

The University’s Ethics Committees are registered with the National Health Research Ethics Council (NHREC) of the Department of Health. As such, we fully subscribe to the document entitled Ethics in Health Research. 

Online Application for Ethics Approval using the Ethics Management System (EMS)

  • In most cases requests for ethical clearance certificates need to be submitted via the online Ethics Management System (EMS)
  • If you need help with writing and/or submitting an application,please use this Ethics User Guide 
  • It is best to access the EMS via the webpage which describes the most appropriate ethics committee for your research. There are six committees which can be reached by following this link.
  • Ethics handling of Hons and MRR projects,click Ethics handling of Honours and MRR projects REVISED.

Research on Wits or its people

Should you want to conduct research about the University or want to use the University community as research participants then you will have to discuss the project initially with the Assistant Registrar, Ms Nicoleen Potgieter, who can be reached at:

  • Students or staff currently registered with the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg for Masters or PhD degree wanting to conduct research by either using Wits students or staff data need to apply to the University Deputy Register's Office for permission to conduct the research.
  • Students/academics/researchers who are not currently registered with the University of Witwatersrand or employed by the University wanting to complete research by either using Wits students or staff data need to complete Form C.

To facilitate this process please down load one or more of these three forms and complete them before making contact with the Assistant Registrar.


FORM A Request from Masters & PhD students or staff to conduct research

FORM B Questionnaire Request to conduct research

FORM C Request to conduct Research at the University for non Wits