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Student Ethics Review & Registration Site (UU-SER)

Procedure submitting UU-SER

All thesis projects falling under bachelor, master and research master programmes offered by the faculty of of Social and Behavioural Sciences (bachelor’s, master’s, research master’s projects) must obtain ethics approval through UU-SER (Utrecht University Student Ethics Review & registration site).

Watch our ‘Kennisclip’ about UU-SER here.  


  1. Ethics approval is obtained through an app called UU-SER. In UU-SER protocols for different types of research have been formulated. UU-SER can accommodate almost all of the thesis projects. Example of protocols are online questionnaire, existing data, observational research. Thesis projects can also make use of more than one protocol in a single application, for example, interviews as well as audio-recording.
  2. UU-SER also allows to refer to an approved research line or project of the supervisor. The student should then choose the protocol ‘FERB approved research line’ and fill in the file number of the approved research line including a few questions about data management.
  3. If there is no protocol within which the thesis project can be accommodated, for example, because the project is very invasive, and no thesis supervisor’s research line or project has yet been approved, the supervisor should request a research line or project via PRIDE a.s.a.p. so that students can work within this research line or project.
  4. If students work on existing datasets, and ethical approval is not yet available for the existing datasets, the supervisor needs to fill in an application in PRIDE.
  5. Slight changes in the application after approval cannot be submitted as an amendment yet, but need to be submitted as a new application in UU-SER.
  6. During the application the student can save the document and print it as a pdf-file which can be shared with the supervisor.
  7. Please take note of our instruction documents and different templates for informed consent and for data management. Also check the specific attachments you need per protocol
  8. The application is written in English. Information letters and informed consent forms may be written in Dutch.

The student cannot start with the data collection or analysis of existing data approval from the FERB has been obtained.

  1. The student writes (thesis)proposal for the research project.
  2. The student prepares an application for UU-SER accordingly to the proposal in 1. for the FERB using the examples of the exempt protocols made available (documents that display the questions asked in UU-SER, available via website through the tab protocols) and agrees this with his/her supervisor. If no protocol is available, it is advised to use a research line or project already approved by the FERB, see further above.
  3. Only one student fills out the application if 2 or more students work on a project. The names of the students, other than the applicant, must be listed in the application form on the tab ‘Basic Study Information’
  4. If desired, the supervisor may request advice on certain topics from the FERB Ambassador (FERB member of the relevant department).
  5. After coordination with the supervisor, the student submits the application in UU-SER.
  6. The supervisor and the student receive a pdf of the submitted application via e-mail.
  1. The review of the research project is assessed as exempt, i.e. the application meets all the criteria of the relevant protocol, and is exempt from further review. In view of the large number of student research projects that need to be reviewed, this is highly desirable. The application will then be approved immediately. The student and the supervisor both receive an automatically generated ethical approval letter through email as a confirmation.
  2. The research project will not be reviewed as exempt, but on the basis of the student’s explanation the research project will still be approved. This works as follows. The application does not comply with one of the examples of the exempted protocols. In case of specific questions, the student may explain why he or she wishes to depart from an exempt protocol and why, in his or her opinion, the research project should be conducted in this way. The FERB examines whether this explanation is sufficient and whether the research project can still be approved.
  3. The research project is not reviewed as exempt and the student’s explanation does not convince the FERB. The student and supervisor will be informed of any problems the FERB has with the research proposal and must adapt the research project. One or more revision rounds can follow. Although the FERB does its utmost to ensure that these revision rounds take place quickly, this may cause delays up to approximately two weeks.