According to the NIH, responsible conduct of research is defined as “the practice of scientific investigation with integrity.  It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research.”

Who is required to take RCR Training?*

  • All PhD students (regardless of funding).
  • All NIH, NSF, USDA-NIFA funded undergraduates, master students, and postdocs. USDA-NIFA funded non-student researchers (including faculty and staff).

What type of training is required?*

  • RCR CITI Training (All PhD, NSF and USDA-NIFA funded master students, undergraduate students, and postdocs; NIH funded undergraduates).
  • USU 6900 (NIH funded master students, PhD students, and postdocs).

* Check with your department for any department specific RCR training requirements. 

This training fulfills regulatory requirements of the National Institute of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). The America COMPETES Act requires all students and postdoctoral employees funded by the NSF to receive RCR training; this requirement is integrated into the NSF Proposal Award Policies and Procedures (PAPP) Guide.

If you are a PhD student or master student funded by NSF, USDA-NIFA, or NIH, you must complete RCR training in order to graduate. The Office of Research Integrity and Compliance signs for RCR training completion on every application for a doctoral degree candidacy and thesis/project proposal approval form. If you have not completed the training, we cannot sign it.

According to USU Memorandum dated 08.08.13, “[it] is the responsibility of the grant principal investigator to ensure that new and currently enrolled students (undergraduate, graduate or postdocs) who are working on NSF, NIH and USDA funded projects, are made aware of this requirement and complete this training.”

CITI Training is an online program with various courses.

To fulfill the RCR Training requirement, you must complete the “Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Curriculum”. You must pass each module with a score of 80% or higher.

Completion of another CITI Training Module other than RCR DOES NOT fulfill the RCR training requirement.

Once RCR Training is completed via CITI Training, the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance will automatically receive an email with your certification of completion for their records.

  • Go to the CITI website.
  • Click “Register” in the upper right corner of the page.
  • Under “Select Your Organization Affiliation,” type Utah State University in the search box. Select Utah State University from the dropdown menu. Continue to step 2 on the CITI website.
  • Enter your personal information. A secondary email address is optional but recommended. Continue to step 3 on the CITI website.
  • Create your username and password. Select a security question and answer. Continue to step 4 on the CITI website.
  • Enter your country of residence and select it from the dropdown menu. Continue to step 5.
  • Indicate your interest in receiving Continuing Education Unit credit for completed CITI Program courses. Select an answer about participating in research surveys. These are voluntary programs but you must answer the questions to proceed. Continue to step 6 on the CITI website.
  • Provide answers to the required questions (starred). Non-starred questions are optional. The institutional email address should be your email address affiliated with USU. If you do not have an office phone, please enter a mobile or home number. Continue to step 7 on the CITI website.
  • Select “Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Curriculum” near the bottom of the list, then go to the next page. 
  • You will then be promoted to select an area of focus, either “Social and Behavioral Research”, “Physical Sciences”, or “Humanities”. Select one, then click next. (YOU ONLY NEED TO COMPLETE 1 FOCUS AREA). 
  • Click “Finalize Registration.”
  1. Go to the CITI website and log in.
  2. Under “Main Menu/My Courses” scroll down to the bottom.
  3. Under “My Learner Tools for Utah State University”, click Add a Course.
  4. Select “Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Curriculum” and click next.
  5. Select the focus area you want to complete ( YOU ONLY NEED TO COMPLETE 1) and click next.
  6. You should now be enrolled for that course.

NIH policy states that “all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award, research education grant and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in RCR.”

Consequently all master students, PhD students, and postdocs funded by NIH must take USU 6900.

You do not need to take USU 6900. You DO need to complete RCR CITI Training.

NIH RCR policy requires participation in and successful completion of instruction in responsible conduct of research by individuals supported by any NIH training/research education/fellowship/career award. This instruction must include face-to-face discussions.

  • Go to and login.
  • Click on BANNER, then “Add/Drop Classes”
  • Click “Register for Classes”, then select the term.
  • Under “Subject and Course Number”, search USU 6900.
  • Add the class.
  • USU 6900 is a 0 credit online course via Canvas comprised of modules which you can complete at your own pace.
  • A series of face-to-face discussions and presentations will be offered throughout the semester which you must attend in order to complete the course.
  • Once completed, you will receive an Pass or Incomplete on your transcript. If the course requirements are not fulfilled within 6 months, then the Incomplete will change to a Fail.