Principal Investigator Requirements

Principal Investigator Designation

Only certain persons may be designated as the Principal Investigator (PI) on a human subject research study. These individuals include Michigan State University (MSU) regular faculty, emeritus faculty, and fixed term faculty employees with rank of assistant, associate, or full professor.  Students, staff, and individuals holding other appointment titles, such as research associate, specialist, resident, fellows, visiting, adjunct, or clinical faculty, may be designated on the MSU IRB application as an additional investigator, but not as the PI, with limited exceptions discussed below.

For graduate student theses or dissertations research, the student's major advisor or another faculty member should be designated on the MSU IRB application as the PI and the graduate student as an additional investigator.  For more information, visit HRPP Manual 6-9-B, Graduate Student Research.


Exceptions to this general requirement may be approved under certain circumstances to allow an individual to become a "Waived PI." More information can be found in the HRPP Manual 4-9, “Designation of Principal Investigator.”