Responsible Conduct of Research

COVID-19 Responsible Conduct of Research Update

The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement deadline is extended during the COVID-19 pandemic

Graduate students who were admitted in one of the following semesters have an extended deadline of December 19, 2020 to complete the RCR Course:

  • Spring 2020
  • Summer I  and Summer II 2020
  • Fall 2020

Students who currently have a hold on their account for not completing the RCR course from a previous semester should contact and attach proof of course completion. The hold will be removed manually within two days.

As of December 31, the RCR is being replaced with a new system. Students who are in-progress will not be able to retrieve their information after December 31 and will be required to start over in the new system. 

Update for Spring 2021 | ABOUT THE Responsible Conduct of Research COURSE REQUIREMENT

Newly admitted students for Spring 2021 and beyond will complete the RCR requirement using the CITI program. This will reduce duplication for students who are on a NIH or NSF-funded grant or who must obtain research compliance approval. The required modules include: 

  1. Introduction to RCR
  2. Authorship
  3. Collaborative Research
  4. Conflicts of Interest
  5. Data Management
  6. Mentoring
  7. Peer Review
  8. Plagiarism 
  9. Research Misconduct

Optional modules include: Research Involving Human Subjects, Research, Ethics, and Society, Using Animal Subjects in Research. 

All new graduate students are required to complete the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course in Elearning. Students are automatically enrolled, based on their admission term. Graduate students will receive an introductory email, sent to their WMU email address, notifying them about this requirement. There is no fee for the course, and no credit hours are earned. This requirement is a university-wide requirement and is not directly associated with any specific graduate program.

The course instructions can be accessed through Elearning. Within Elearning use the "rubik's cube" like icon near the top portion of the home page to access your list of enrolled courses.

The Responsible Conduct of Research Course is required to comply with requirements from national funding agencies and ensures that all graduate students at WMU are working to the highest possible standards of integrity. The RCR course provides real-life scenarios and guidance on how to deal with issues involving planning, conducting, and reporting research. This course aligns our students with national expectations for higher education and post-graduate careers, and assists students in becoming accomplished as ethical scholars, researchers, and professionals.

Additional coursework may be required for human and animal subjects by the WMU Office of the Vice President for Research for some research areas.  

  • Students are automatically enrolled during their first semester in the course in eLearning where further instructions are available.
  • Each module includes a short quiz, and students must earn a passing score of at least 70%
  • Upon completion, students will receive a digital certificate.
  • Holds will be placed on the student accounts for those who do not complete the RCR by the designated deadline, restricting them from registering for future classes. The hold will be lifted when the course is completed successfully.

Required if:

  • New to Western Michigan University as a graduate student.
  • Enrolled in a new graduate program/degree.
  • Have never completed the RCR Course before.

Not required if:

  • The student is enrolled in a graduate certificate program .
  • Graduate student that was “non-active” prior to Fall 2016 and has “re-activated” in the same program/degree since.

If you believe you have been enrolled in this course in error, have already completed this course, have changed your term of admission, or want more clarification of the requirements please contact the Course Facilitator, email at  or by phone at (269) 387-8267.


Tips for Success

  • Start the RCR Course as soon as possible so that you have adequate time to complete it before the deadline approaches.
  • Expect to spend 1 to 2 hours in total to complete the RCR Course.
  • Carefully read course content and quiz questions– do not rush through. Taking your time and reading everything carefully is essential to your success. 
  • Take notes as you read course content and use your notes when taking the quizzes.



The deadlines (last day to complete RCR course requirements before a hold is placed on student account) are:

  • December 14 for Fall admits
  • April 26 for Spring admits 
  • June 28 for Summer I admits 
  • August 17 for Summer II admits



If you have technical issues with Elearning, the Help Desk is located on the second floor of the University Computing Center and may be reached at (269) 387-4357 (HELP), option 1 or by email to Help Desk hours and links to resources available at