SARI Requirements


**At this time all trainings and workshops will be offered via Zoom. Attend any SARI event at the scheduled time using this Zoom meeting link. Read about the ORP's response to COVID-19 here.**

SARI @ PSU (Scholarship and Research Integrity) is a responsible conduct of research (RCR) education program for students, postdocs, and faculty at Penn State. The SARI program is designed to create an awareness of ethical principles and established professional norms in the performance of all activities related to scholarship and research. Ultimately, our goal is to further foster trust among scientists and to increase the public’s support for research.

All scholars confront ethical issues in their professions. Training is critical to prepare students and researchers to address ethical challenges that may arise when conducting research. Both the NIH and NSF have requirements for responsible conduct of research (RCR) training for students, postdoctoral researchers, and other trainees working on research supported by either agency. Penn State requires RCR training for all graduate students, post-docs, and new faculty to ensure the ethical conduct of research at the University.

Graduate Students

The SARI program has two components:

  1. Online Training: Completion of at least one online course in CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative): Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), Human Subjects Research (IRB),or Animal Research (IACUC). Check with your graduate program adviser to determine which CITI course is appropriate. Researchers funded by NIFA must take the RCR course in CITI, as outlined in the terms and conditions of all NIFA grantsNote: The online CITI training is different from the CATS IRB and CATS IACUC Submission training. SARI credit is not awarded for CATS IACUC Submission Training, CATS IRB Submission Training, CATS Safety Submission Training, or IRB Protocol Training. 

  2. Discussion-based Education: Participation in a minimum of 5 hours of in-person, discussion-based educational activities that address topics related to the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) before graduation. This is a one-time requirement that does not need to be fulfilled each year. It is up to the departments or programs within each college to determine how the discussion-based education requirement should be met. Many programs require their students to take a course that covers all of the recommended topics for responsible conduct of research. Other programs offer their own workshops or seminars that count for SARI credit. Certain Rock Ethics events can also count for SARI credit. The ORP offers SARI sponsored workshops in the Fall and Spring Semesters. Only two of the five hours required can be obtained from workshops outside of the departments. 

  • Graduate students must complete both the online and discussion-based SARI components. 
  • The ORP highly recommends the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course be taken in the first year of enrollment. Most students should take the RCR course. Students should check with their program director for information on which CITI Program course to take.
  • SARI is tracked in LionPath by a graduate program administrator. Tracking is not the responsibility of the ORP.
  • Doctoral students who completed SARI requirements for a masters degree do not have to complete additional SARI requirements.  However, CITI training must be renewed every three years.

Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Postdoctoral researchers must complete the online CITI course requirement
  • Consult with your mentor/adviser or program director to determine the appropriate CITI course. The faculty advisor will monitor participation.

New Full-time Faculty

  • All new University full-time faculty have 12 months from date of hire to complete two hours of RCR educational activities, either through the completion of CITI courses or discussion-based activities.
  • Eligible discussion-based activities include participation in workshops focusing on the responsible conduct of research or equivalent professional ethics-related content. 
  • Continuing education requirement: Every three years (by the 48th month of employment at PSU, and every three years after that), faculty must report one hour of  SARI  continuing education activity. These requirements can be met by any of the SARI activities described above, or by completing an online “refresher course” offered by CITI.
  • SARI participation should be self-reported to ORP via the SARI@PSU Faculty Portal. Completion of any CITI course will be automatically recorded in the faculty member’s profile. SARI participation records will be shared annually with campus administrators, college deans and department heads. 

Undergraduate Students

  • Undergraduate students performing research sponsored by the NSF, NIFA, or an NIH training grant, as well as those performing research that may be included in or lead to a publication or other research report must complete the online CITI course requirement.

Missing SARI Requirements

Fulfilling your SARI requirement at PSU is serious and the responsibility of each graduate student. The consequence for failing to meet SARI requirements by graduation are determined by each department and/or program. If you have concerns about your ability to fulfill SARI requirements prior to graduation, speak with your graduate program advisor or program head. 

For additional information, review our page on SARI Tracking & Plan Development or contact us at

See the SARI Workshop Schedule for upcoming events. Attendance at an ORP-sponsored SARI event is automatically recorded as a “Comment” in the In-Person level in LionPath.