Training for Human Research is required for everyone engaged in Human Research at Penn. This requirement extends to anyone listed as Principal Investigator, Other Investigator, Study Contact or Key Personnel within the HSERA application. The most common method for obtaining this training is via the CITI online course program which is connected to Penn's Knowledge Link portal.

On your CITI Training Completion Report:

  1. The Curriculum Group must be "Human Research"
  2. The Learner Group must be one of the following:

       *Biomedical Research
       *Social/Behavioral Research
       *IRB Member
       *Students - Class projects

for example:

Other CITI courses (such as Good Clinical Practice or Responsible Conduct of Research) may be required by other departments as part of your role as a researcher within the University. The Penn IRB does not review or accept these trainings as part of the IRB approval process.

Please note: As of April 2, 2019 renewal of training for Human Research is no longer required at Penn. This revision to eliminate the previous standard for renewal every 3 years aligns with external funding requirements as they relate to human subjects’ training. Given that refresher training is not required to receive funding, the training requirements at Penn are now being revised to remove this additional element of burden after initial training is established.

NOTE: If research involving a Department of Defense component requires more frequent or other training requirements in addition to those that the University of Pennsylvania requires, the investigator is responsible for ensuring that the training is completed for those involved in the conduct of the research. Researchers should contact the human research protection officer of the DoD component for their education requirements and obtain documentation confirming the requirements. 

Obtaining Appropriate CITI Training & Obtaining Updated Certificates

Please download and follow these instructions if you need to obtain CITI training.

Renewal of CITI training for Human Research is no longer required at Penn. For those who have already completed their CITI Training and would like an updated certificate or report of completion to reflect that it does not expire, please click here to download guidance.

If you are having trouble with obtaining CITI training please contact

Transferring CITI Training from Other Institutions

If you have completed CITI training for Human Subjects Research through another institution (i.e your completion report does not say "University of Pennsylvania" in the Institution Affiliation), it may be transferrable to Penn. There are two options for transferring your training to Penn: 

  1. You may transfer your completed trainings to Penn within the CITI website. You can do this by logging into with your existing log in and password. On the Welcome page, click "Add Affiliation." Type in University of Pennsylvania and follow the remaining steps. Most modules should transfer to your Penn affiliation but there may be additional modules you will need to complete. 
  2. Your completion report may be assessed for module content prior to approval. Please forward any training reports from other institutions to and ask for an assessment of your modules. The document provided must be a completion report with full list of included modules in order to be assessed (Certificates alone do not include sufficient information for this assessment). If the modules are appropriate the IRB CITI Support team can manually update your training in Knowledge Link to document reciept of initial training. Renewal will not be required once your training is accepted. If the modules are not appropriate you will be required to complete Penn's Human Subjects' Protections training in order to engage in research at Penn. 

Problems with CITI Training

The CITI program and website is not managed by the University of Penn or the Penn IRB. If you cannot remember your username or password for the CITI training site or are having other technical issues with that site, you must contact the CITI Program Support Center -

If you do not select University of Pennsylvania as your affiliate institution when taking the training, your results will not feed into Penn systems. This may result in multiple individual requests for proof of training.

If you are having trouble with obtaining CITI training please contact


Alternatives to CITI Training for Penn Faculty, Staff, and Students

The Division of Medical Ethics at Penn has developed an online research ethics training course, which is available free to Penn and CHOP faculty, staff, and students/trainees. The course takes about 4.5 hours to complete, comprised of engaging videos, supplemental resources, and brief quizzes. Continuing education credits are available.

The Penn IRB has approved this course as sufficient to satisfy institutional requirements for human subjects protection training, as an alternative to the CITI course. For Penn-based staff at CHOP, the course will satisfy CHOP’s initial and re-certification requirements. For CHOP-based staff, the course will satisfy the re-certification requirement only (to be reassessed in Fall 2020).

The course does not interface with KnowledgeLink, but you will be provided with a certificate of completion that may be presented as needed. 

Ethics of Research with Human Subjects Course Details:

Penn and CHOP faculty, staff, and student/trainee free enrollment:

Community Partner HSR Training

The Community Partner Training is an online human research protections training program for community based research projects. This training is targeted for community member collaborators who are engaged in human subjects research. The curriculum can be completed in approximately two hours and can be used by community partners as a substitute for CITI training.  The Community Partner Training includes real-world examples and content tailored to the unique roles of community partners engaged in research.  Research coordinators and faculty can log-in to the program and create projects, track their community partners’ progress, and download a certificate of completion to submit to the IRB.

The training provides an overview of human subjects research principles and explains the responsibilities of a community researcher. The examples the course uses were chosen to reflect the kind of real-world scenarios community researchers are likely to encounter in the process of conducting research.

Visit to learn more.

For questions, contact