General Information

The purpose of a sabbatical leave is "to provide a leave of absence with pay for purposes of intensive study or research which has as its outcome increasing the quality of the individual's future contribution to the University. A sabbatical is a privilege which may be granted to an individual who has demonstrated by publication, teaching, exhibition or performance an above average ability in scholarship, research, or other creative accomplishment."

Am I Eligible for a Sabbatical Leave? Is a web based form to assist faculty to unofficially determine if they are eligible for a sabbatical leave.  There are many factors that could affect eligibility that may not included on this form.  To confirm eligibility, please contact the Office of the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs.


Faculty (academic): Standing appointment faculty members (academics) meeting the following conditions:




-----Sabbatical proposals may be submitted in the year tenure is awarded for a sabbatical leave to commence the following year, providing they have completed the six full years of service referenced in #3 below.


-----They hold the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, librarian, associate librarian, or assistant librarian.


-----They have served the University for a minimum of six contract years of full-time service from date of last hire. Time spent on any type of leave of absence is not counted as full-time service. A full contract year is based on the weeks of service specified in an individual's Memorandum of Service.


Untenured Position


-----They have served the University for a minimum of seven full contract years of full-time service and hold the rank of research professor, associate research professor, or assistant research professor.


Restricted Funds


-----If paid with funds provided by an agency other than the University (USDA, for example), the use of restricted funds for the sabbatical must be allowed by the granting agency.



Sabbatical proposals may be submitted in the year tenure is awarded for a leave to commence the following year, provided that the faculty member has completed six full years of service as required by policy. 


An individual becomes eligible for a subsequent sabbatical leave under the terms and conditions specified above, provided that the minimum required contract years of full-time service has elapsed since beginning a previous sabbatical leave.


(Time spent on sabbatical leave, or any unpaid leave, is not counted as a part of the required contract years of full-time service.)

How to Apply

In accordance with University Policy, requests for sabbatical leaves should be submitted to the Department Head for review in early August in the academic year prior to the requested leave. Proposals receiving a positive Departmental review will then be forwarded to the Dean's Office for review by the Dean and a committee appointed by the Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Graduate Studies with representatives from all four departments, and who have had recent sabbatical leaves.

A sabbatical leave application need not be a lengthy document, but it must contain sufficient information for review committees and administrators to evaluate the merit of the proposal and the benefit it will have for the faculty member and for the University. The narrative portion of the application is usually between four and eight double-spaced pages in length.

A. Cover page "Sabbatical Application" -Application for Leave of Absence With Pay (Sabbatical)


The summary statement (two to three sentences) should be very brief and include a nontechnical statement of purpose, work to be accomplished, and the institution(s) and location(s) where the work is to be performed.


B. Narrative body


Purpose - Please describe the nature and significance of the project, including a clear, concise statement of your objectives.


Work to be accomplished - Please describe specifically what you plan to do and how you expect to accomplish it. Where will the work be done, and why has that location been chosen? Identify persons with whom you will affiliate and their expertise in the area(s) in which you plan to work and include letters of invitation from collaborators and/or host institutions or agencies. What can you cite as evidence that you have the skills and background to accomplish your objectives? Please include an estimated schedule for the major steps of the project.


Projected results - What tangible results will your project have, what form will the results take, and how will you share your results with others (e.g., publication, exhibition, sharing of new pedagogical techniques or materials
with peers)?


Justification - How will this project contribute to your own scholarly development and how will it benefit your department, college, or the University as a whole? In what way does this project require a time commitment beyond that involved in the normal activities encompassed in teaching, research, scholarship, and service?


C. Supporting documents


A curriculum vita or biographical data sheet including a list of publications and professional activities.


If your project requires access to restricted libraries or laboratories, or affiliation with other institutions, please append invitations, letters granting access, space, or support from the relevant authorities.

Prepare and Submit—

The original, complete hard copy application package

An electronic copy of the completed application packet forwarded to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Graduate Education


Three sabbatical leave options are available:


-----Sabbatical leave for the full contract year at 67% salary;


-----Sabbatical leave for one-half of the contract year at 100%


-----Sabbatical leave for a period other than a full contract year or one-half of a contract year is, typically, for one of the periods listed below. The rate of pay in such cases is proportional to the length of the sabbatical.


Please contact the Finance Office for more information regarding percent of salary while on sabbatical. 


ACG15 Regulations Regarding Use of Support Funds and Receiving Outside Compensation During Sabbatical Leaves of Absence (Formerly HRG15)


Augmenting Sabbatical Leave Stipend


A faculty member may augment the sabbatical leave stipend with funds from a grant or contract if approved by both the Dean (or the Senior Vice President for Research or the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses) and with written approval from the granting agency. In no case shall the total exceed the amount of the normal full salary of the individual for the period of the leave.


Outside Compensation


A faculty member may receive outside compensation while on sabbatical leave with these provisions:


-----The compensated activity must not interfere with or duplicate the express purpose of the sabbatical leave.


-----Any consulting assignments while on sabbatical shall be governed by the provisions of HR42 and AC80.


-----No faculty member may be on the regular payroll of another organization while on leave, unless the activity is an approved part of the sabbatical program.


Please contact the Research and Finance Offices to discuss using grant funds while on sabbatical.

Sabbatical may only be charged to a sponsored award in unusual circumstances and approval is required from the Corporate Controller's Office. If sabbatical pay is approved on a sponsored award the person's regular pay general ledger account must be used.


At times, a faculty member may wish to take sabbatical, but also continue working on a sponsored award. This is permitted and is documented in ACG15, Regulations Regarding Use of Support Funds and Receiving Outside Compensation During Sabbatical Leaves of Absence.


Total pay may not exceed 100% of a person's contract pay for the sabbatical leave period. Approval is required from the Dean/VP for Research/VP for Commonwealth Campuses and written approval is required from the granting agency.


Please contact the Research and Finance Offices for additional information.

Sabbatical leave by a PI may be considered a long-term absence by the sponsoring agency. Any leave should be discussed with the program officer.


The PI may be required to submit formal notification to the sponsor and explain how the sponsored award will be managed during the leave period.


Federal grants and cooperative agreements are subject to Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200.308(c), which states that prior approval is required from Federal awarding agencies whenever they will be a "change in the a key person specified in the application of the Federal award" or "the disengagement from the project for more than three months, or a 25 percent reduction in time devoted to the project, by the approved project director or principal investigator."


Please contact the Research and Finance Offices for additional information.


Returning from Leave

As stated in HR99 Background Check Process, the self-disclosure requirement to report arrests and/or convictions within 72 hours of their occurrence is still in force during sabbatical leaves. In addition, individuals on approved leaves, such as sabbaticals, of six months or longer are required to complete a Penn State Arrest and Conviction self-disclosure form before returning to work.

Every faculty or staff member who is awarded a sabbatical leave is required to submit a written report to the dean, specifying what was accomplished during the leave. After reviewing, the dean will send the report directly to Human Resources Records Management team, located in the 331 Building at University Park. The report must be submitted within two months of the return from leave.

Individuals granted sabbatical leaves are required to return for a full contract year of service following the sabbatical leave. Any person who does not return, or does not remain for the full contract year following the sabbatical leave, will be required to refund the salary received from the University during the sabbatical leave. There will be no proration of the amount to be returned if the employee remains for any fraction less than the full contract year. In addition, any person who does not return for a full contract year of service following the sabbatical leave will not be eligible to receive credit in any retirement plan for the period of the sabbatical leave.