College of Education > Faculty and Staff Resources > Sabbatical Leave Guidelines

Sabbatical Leave Guidelines (Leave of Absence with Pay)

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."


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.)


Percentage of Salary While on Sabbatical - Full Contract Year: 67%; one-half of the contract year: 100%

Other Sabbatical Information

Application for Sabbatical Leave

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.

Application Contents:

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.

    Application Submission:

    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


    Sabbatical Leave Report

    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.

    Return to Service

    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.

    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.