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Leave Policies

Approved, December 2009; Revised, October 2022.

As part of its support for the research mission of tenure-stream faculty, the College seeks to maintain a robust program of leaves and sabbaticals. These policies describe the conditions under which tenured and tenure-track faculty may be eligible to apply for leave or sabbatical.

The College has historically asked that no more than 20% of faculty in any given department be on leave in any given year. This figure is a benchmark intended to aid departments in planning and in maintaining balance between the research needs of their faculty and the curricular needs of both undergraduate and graduate programs.

Faculty should expect to engage fully and be in residence for three years between leaves. Except in unusual circumstances, faculty are expected to return to Emory for at least two semesters in residence after leave.

All appropriately ranked, tenured faculty – including those on sabbatical or other leave (excluding FMLA) are expected to participate in the department decisions and to contribute votes for pre-tenure, tenure, appointment with tenure, and promotion to full professor reviews. All appropriately ranked faculty – including those on leave – are also expected to participate in the department/program decisions and to contribute votes for teaching-track reappointment and promotion reviews.

Formerly Junior Post Fourth-Year Review.

Assuming a favorable pre-tenure review and reappointment, probationary faculty are eligible for a semester leave, at full pay, to be taken after their pre-tenure review and prior to review for promotion and tenure. This leave may be taken in either of the two semesters following the pre-tenure review.

Faculty are eligible to apply for sabbatical leave in anticipation of a successful tenure review and at 6-year intervals thereafter. After receiving tenure, faculty must have 12 consecutive semesters of teaching and service in-between sabbatical leaves. Leave of absence may be granted for one semester at full pay or for two semesters at half pay. Sabbatical leaves are intended to promote research and scholarly activity that significantly benefits the individual and a department of Emory College.

Faculty requesting sabbatical leave must submit to Emory College administration a 2-3 page proposal outlining the research and scholarly activities to be undertaken during the leave. Applicants for sabbatical leave also must make good faith efforts to secure external funds to support the leave, by making application(s) to potential external sponsors (external to Emory) of the planned activities.

When successful, such applications both increase the visibility of a researcher’s scholarship and also relieves the College of a small part of the financial burden created by the faculty leave. Assuming they contain sufficient information to document the research and scholarly activities to be undertaken during the requested leave, applications to external sponsors may be used as the proposal to College administration.

  • For a 1-semester leave at full pay, faculty must apply for a minimum of 15% of their academic year salary.
  • For a 2-semester leave at half pay, faculty must apply for a minimum of 15% of their academic year salary.
  • For a 2-semester leave at full pay, faculty must secure 40% of their academic year salary. (If 40% of academic year salary is sought but not received, the faculty member will be eligible for a 1-semester leave at full pay or a 2-semester leave at half pay.)
  • In all cases, when the external sponsor allows, applications should also include the same proportion of fringe benefits.

Applications to external sponsors must be made in time to permit review and evaluation of them by the external source prior to the requested start date of the leave. Faculty may seek a waiver to the external funding requirement; this waiver process is described at the conclusion of this document.

Faculty who already hold an external grant (or grants) for the period of the requested leave will be required to recover from the sponsor 15% of their academic year salary (plus fringe benefits) for 1 semester at full pay or 2 semesters at half pay. Circumstances created by grants from sponsors that do not permit recovery of academic year salary or grants that otherwise preclude the investigator from providing academic year salary will be handled on a case-by-case basis, through the waiver process described at the end of this document.

Applications to the College must be made in the spring of the year prior to the year for which the leave is requested. Faculty are advised that not all requests for sabbatical leave will be granted and thus, they should not make firm plans for the leave unless/until the leave request has been approved.

Faculty who have held the rank of Associate Professor for a minimum of four (4) years may apply for one semester leave to complete a major project prior to review for promotion to Professor. Faculty requesting completion leave should follow the application procedures outlined in the Associate Professor Completion Leaves memo from the Dean of the College.

Faculty awarded completion leaves are expected to complete the major project for which the leave was granted within one (1) year of the end of the leave. Failure to complete the major project within one year will result in a resetting of the sabbatical clock, such that the faculty member may be eligible for the next sabbatical after 6 years of additional service.

Faculty who have completed substantial service to the College or University may be eligible for leave to reinvigorate their research and scholarly activities. The most common form of service leave is after a term as department chair.

Service leaves may be granted only by College administration.

Emory College faculty apply for and frequently receive coveted awards such as American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Cottrell, Fulbright, and Guggenheim fellowships. For awards made in support of regularly-timed sabbatical leaves, Sabbatical Leave policies apply. Awards made off the sabbatical clock are subject to additional constraints. Specifically, awards that provide for full salary to pursue research and scholarly activity may be taken with the approval of the department chair and the Dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences.

Normally, one semester of leave at full pay may be granted when an award provides a minimum of 30% of the faculty member’s annual salary. A full year of leave at full pay normally may be granted when an award provides a minimum of 50% of the faculty member’s annual salary. In such cases, the difference between the award amount and the faculty member’s salary will be provided by the College.

Highly prestigious awards that do not meet these requirements will be handled on an individual basis.

In order to assist faculty members with their desire to balance professional obligations with parental responsibilities, we make “parental leave” available to those who have had a child by birth or adoption and who certify that they serve as the primary caregiver.

A faculty member may request relief from up to one full teaching load during one semester or for up to one-half load for an academic year. The faculty member will be expected to remain in residence and to continue departmental service and advising, as well as scholarly activities during the affected term(s). Leave under these circumstances will customarily be compensated at full pay.

Any faculty member desiring parental leave must submit, with as much advance notice as possible, a written request to the Dean with a copy to the department chair. The request should certify that the faculty member is the primary caregiver.

If approved, paid parental leave for faculty parents may require formal submission of the paper work for FMLA, and is authorized (either one semester at full pay or one year at half pay) in lieu of the 12 week FMLA leave. The ECAS paid parental leave counts against the eligible faculty member’s annual 12-week FMLA entitlement.

More information about FMLA and this process


Faculty who undertake certain service may be eligible for a reduction in their regular teaching load during their term of service. Roles that may qualify for service-related course release include Department Chair, Director of Graduate Studies, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Program Directors, and Editors of scholarly journals.

Faculty interested in a service-related course release should request it through their Department Chair. Requests endorsed at the department level will be reviewed and evaluated by College administration. The amount of service required for the role will be taken into consideration in evaluation of the request. 

Service-related reductions in regular teaching load may be made only with the approval of College administration. 

Faculty who receive release from teaching should recognize that they are expected to fulfill their departmental and College service obligations.


URC Course Release Requests

Individuals requesting course releases should include a maximum of $12,500 per course within the proposed URC (or Halle-URC) budget, up to a maximum of $25,000 per application. The application must include a formal school-generated document designating approval for course release. It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain formal approval for course release from your Dean, and, as appropriate, through your unit head (e.g., Department Chair). Applications including a request for course release funds that lack supporting documentation with a Dean’s formal approval will not be considered. 


  • Faculty who are eligible for a semester leave in a given AY (pre-tenure leave, post-tenure leave, banked leave, etc.) are not eligible for additional course releases through the URC mechanism in the same given year.


  • Faculty who receive course releases through URC funding are still expected to be in residence and participate fully in all faculty service responsibilities including department and committee meetings, student advising, etc.


  • Dean-level approval letters must be requested a minimum of two weeks ahead of the URC deadline. Please include a copy or working draft of your proposal. All requests must be sent to the Senior Associate Dean of Faculty via <>.

Course Release Request FormCourse Release Requests are due by January 31


In some cases, faculty who are eligible for regular sabbaticals may wish to seek a waiver of the external funding application for academic year salary. These cases generally fall into one of two categories, the faculty member...

Holds a grant that does not allow for the recovery of academic-year salary

(e.g., the sponsor does not permit recovery of academic year salary or places a cap on salary recovery)

The faculty member should write a letter petitioning for a waiver of the external funding at the same time as he or she files a leave application. The letter should be addressed to the Senior Associate Dean of Faculty, and include information on the existing grant (i.e., agency/foundation, amount of award, dates of award).

Is conducting research or scholarship in a field for which external funding is not available

The faculty member should make a good faith effort to search for external funding possibilities using the existing resources of the College Office of Research Funding and Support (ORFS). Generally this means attending a funding search workshop and/or making an appointment with a member of the ORFS staff in order to conduct a thorough search of funding sources. If such efforts fail to identify funding possibilities, then the faculty member should write a letter requesting a waiver to the Senior Associate Dean of Faculty, and include documentation of the search attempt.

All requests for waivers should be made at the time of application for sabbatical, and will be decided upon by the Dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences.