Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) DERC (Department Ethics Review Committee) was established in 2009, following the NUS IRB's directives and the FASS Ethics Guidelines for Research with Human Subjects (2006).

The objectives of the DERC are:

  1. to assess the level of risk to human subjects in research projects of the Department's academic staff members and students, and
  2. to make recommendations on the appropriate type of ethics review for each research project

Currently, CNM requires all undergraduate and graduate student research projects that involve human subjects to apply for DERC review. Exemption is given to the research projects that:

  1. Fall into one or more of the IRB exemption categories (view this document for details of the categories)
  2. Are of minimal risk;
  3. Does not involve a vulnerable population;
  4. Does not touch on sensitive topics; and
  5. Does not involve deception/withholding of study’s stated aims and objectives from research participants.

Before obtaining the DERC approval, students should not start the data collection process. Students who violate this rule will be penalised. The DERC's request for amendments to the research protocol, if any, should be followed and reflected in the revised application.


  1. Forms and documents must be submitted in soft copy to the following email, Students who wish to apply for the DERC review should fill out the form from IRB website and download NUS-IRB Application Form (Social Sciences). All DERC applications should have the documents requested in the IRB application form.
  2. Submissions should include accompanying support documents such as consent form, survey questionnaire, interview/focus group question guide and/or other relevant information.
  3. Please ensure that the PI of the project and the supervisor both sign the IRB application form.
  4. We will acknowledge your application and assign an assessor. If you do not receive an acknowledgement within 1 working day, please write back to
  5. The DERC meets once a month, usually on the first Friday of each month, and takes approximately 10 days to process the review. Therefore, students should plan when to apply for the review.
  6. For urgent applications outside of the above deadlines, please send an email to DERC requesting an urgent review. This request needs to be accompanied by the support of your supervisor. Please direct all requests to the following email address:


For further clarifications, please send an email to