Required: Graduate Student Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

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What is the required RCR training?

Purdue’s College of Engineering and the Lyles School of Civil Engineering require all engineering degree-seeking graduate students to complete training in Responsible Conduct of Research by the end of their first semester and every 5 years thereafter. This training provides important guidance to all graduate students who will benefit from a fundamental understanding of how research is conducted. Students on NSF- or NIH-funded research projects may have additional requirements or earlier deadlines and should check with their research advisor.

  1. All Graduate Students: Complete the CITI online course on Responsible Conduct of Research Training – Faculty, Postdoctoral, and Graduate Course (CITI-RCR). The CITI-RCR online course includes 9 required modules. Each module takes approximately 30-60 minutes to complete and ends with a short multiple choice quiz. Students can enter, leave, and re-enter the course and each module as many times as they would like prior to taking the quiz. Students must achieve an average score of at least 80% on all quizzes in the required modules. When students have completed all the quizzes, they can print out a certificate of completion.
  2. In addition, mandatory for on-campus graduate students and optional for fully online students: Attend a two-hour, follow-up seminar or workshop. The seminars are included as part of the required CE 69100 - Grad Student Orientation course that is mandatory for all Civil grad students in their first semester.

Why do students need to complete this training even if they are not conducting research?

Even if a student does not plan to conduct research at Purdue, the RCR training will be valuable. It is likely that a person with a graduate degree in engineering from Purdue will be involved with research at some point in their career – as a collaborator, a supervisor, a data manager, or a colleague. Even when simply using information from journal articles, it is important to understand potential RCR issues. Understanding the ethical issues that researchers face makes these future employees more valuable collaborators and better managers.

How do students complete the CITI online training requirement?

Once you have your BoilerKey/Career Account login and password, you can use the following steps as a guide to complete the online training:

At the completion of the CITI course, a certificate of completion will be displayed. You will need to print and submit or email a copy of this completion certificate to the CE graduate program office. This certificate is your only proof of completing the course, so do not miss this step!

How do students complete the seminar/workshop requirement?

Each engineering school can determine whether to have students complete a school-sponsored seminar/workshop or have students attend an RCR workshop hosted by the Graduate School. Once determined, each school should communicate to students what they need to accomplish and how they should show proof of completion to the Graduate Administrator.

How is RCR training tracked?

Students must submit their CITI-RCR certificate of completion and proof of seminar/workshop attendance to the graduate administrator by the end of their first semester. Completion of the online CITI training and the seminar/workshop should be noted in GradDB under Research Conduct. Some engineering schools also use flags or banners to prominently display completion within GradDB.

Does the CITI-RCR training ever expire?

Yes, the CITI certification will expire after 5 years and must be renewed. Schools should update GradDB when students recertify.

Do students who have taken the CITI online training at a previous institution need to take it again?

Students actively involved in NSF- or NIH-funded research must still take the online certification during their first month at Purdue. This ensures that these students have completed the institution-specific training required for their research. Students not actively involved in NSF- or NIH-funded research who have taken the Responsible Conduct of Research Training – Faculty, Postdoctoral, and Graduate Course training at another institution within the past 5 years may submit their certificate of completion to meet the CoE online training requirement. Individual schools may still require additional training. On-campus students still need to attend the follow-up workshop.

Do non-thesis students need to complete the RCR training?

Yes. All degree-seeking graduate students are required to complete the CITI-RCR online training; additionally, all on-campus graduate students must attend a follow-up workshop or seminar.

Do non-degree students need to complete the RCR training?

Non-degree students should complete the RCR training if they are working toward a certificate. Non-degree students taking an individual class are not required but are strongly encouraged to complete the training.

Do students earning their degrees online need to complete the RCR training?

Yes. RCR training is beneficial and required for all degree-seeking graduate students. Online students must complete the CITI-RCR online certification. An additional workshop or seminar is strongly encouraged but not required. Many excellent workshops are presented online.


Purdue University Graduate School RCR Info:
Purdue University Regulatory Affairs:
Questions on CoE requirements: Janet Beagle, Ph.D., Sr. Director of Graduate Programs,

Updated June 2020