Responsible Conduct of Research

Conducting research responsibly and ethically is critical in any discipline, particularly science and engineering. Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training is a framework for imparting these standards and a critical component of scholarly work and career development.

Graduate Students and Post Docs

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have instituted federal requirements regarding the training of undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who are involved in NSF- and NIH-funded research. As a best practice, the McCormick School of Engineering requires that all PhD students and postdocs, regardless of funding, complete Responsible Conduct of Research training. The training includes two components: web-based CITI training and instructor-led training (GEN_ENG 519).

CITI Training

Northwestern uses the CITI program for web-based training, which all PhD students and postdocs are required to complete within their first quarter of at McCormick.

Graduate students and post docs should complete the CITI course titled “RCR course for graduate students and post docs”; undergraduate students should complete the CITI course titled “RCR course for undergraduate students”.

View registration instructions for the CITI program


To fulfill the instructor-led component of training, students, and postdocs may register for GEN_ENG 519. All McCormick PhD students and postdocs are required to complete GEN_ENG 519 within their first year at McCormick. Multiple sessions of the course are offered each year. PhD students register through Caesar; postdocs register through myHR Learn.

MS Students and Other Researchers

McCormick masters students and other researchers paid with NSF awards are required to complete both CITI training and GEN_ENG 519 within time frames published in the McCormick RCR Training Policy.

View the McCormick RCR Training Policy

Undergraduate Students

McCormick complies with Northwestern University requirements that undergraduate students paid with NSF awards must complete CITI training within 60 days of being added to the award payroll.

View the letter from the Vice President for Research, regarding undergraduate RCR requirements

Additional Information

View information, links, and documents for Responsible Conduct of Research:

Please direct questions regarding RCR to your department staff or Paula Straaton, business administrator, Office of Graduate Studies and Research, McCormick School of Engineering.