The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Professional Improvement Programs

Professional Improvement Programs

Sabbatical Leave 

If you are an eligible bargaining unit member, you may apply for a paid sabbatical leave for teaching improvement, writing, research, professional improvement, scholarly pursuits, or to gain new information and experience in order to remain current in your field. 

Sabbatical leaves are dictated by the Academic Personnel Policy (Red Book), and the MSP Collective Bargaining Agreement

Dates and Deadlines: View Personnel Action Deadlines section H for important dates regarding sabbatical leave.

Am I Eligible?

All tenured faculty members who have given the University at least six years of service (including all approved paid leaves) at the rank of Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor are eligible to apply for a sabbatical leave. The first sabbatical may be taken after receiving tenure or after 6 years of full-time-equivalent service, whichever is later, but the initial application may be delayed at the faculty member’s discretion.

What Qualifies as Sabbatical Leave?

The Academic Personnel Policy (the “Red Book,” Section 4.13) and the Collective Bargaining Agreement describe the criteria for sabbatical leaves.  

The general criteria for the award of sabbatical leaves, subject to the availability of funds and a request by the faculty member, are the following:  

a) A record of achievement, service, and contribution during the years of service prior to the leave period that provides reasonable expectation that the objectives of the sabbatical project will be achieved. 

b) A sabbatical leave project which promises to contribute to the development of the faculty member in areas of teaching; of research; creative or scholarly activity; and/or of professional service capability, and hence contribute to the institution as a whole upon the return to the University for at least one year following the academic year in which the sabbatical leave takes place. 

Recommendations by department heads/chairs and deans/directors for the award of sabbatical leaves should explain how these criteria have been or will be met. Please note: the criteria require that the proposed project have the potential to benefit the university as well as the individual faculty member or librarian. 

How to Apply for Sabbatical Leave

Applications for sabbatical leaves are submitted in the fall semester preceding the academic year the proposed sabbatical leave be taken through Academic Personnel Workflow System (APWS)

Sabbatical leave applications must be approved by the department chair, the dean, and the Provost’s Office. Notification of approval typically occurs in the spring semester preceding the academic year of the requested sabbatical leave. 

Once approved, faculty and librarians may request changes to their sabbatical plans by a certain deadline.  

  • Note that requests to change from half-year to full-year sabbaticals are easier approved than changes in the opposite direction. Change requests may be denied if budgetary conditions prohibit such changes. Processed changes will require the submission of a new, signed agreement by the faculty member in order to comply with trustee policy on the return obligation following sabbatical leave. 

While on Sabbatical Leave

Faculty members who take sabbatical leave at less than 50% FTE lose all benefits during the leave and must reapply for health and dental insurance. Reinstatement entails a 60-day waiting period for health insurance and a six-month waiting period for dental insurance. 

*Changes in payroll for a one semester part-time sabbatical will take place the first week of March. 

Post-Leave Sabbatical Report

The sabbatical policy requires that each sabbatical recipient prepare a report of their activities and accomplishments while on leave. That report is filed within APWS. The report will be available to the head/chair, dean/director, and provost. Department heads/chairs should ensure that all faculty members in their departments who completed sabbatical leaves have prepared and submitted these reports by the appropriate deadline. 

Periodic Multi-Year Review (PMYR)

Please use the application below to apply for PMYR.

Attached Files
Attachment Size
PMYR 2019-2020 376.58 KB

Senior Lecturer Professional Improvement Leave

Fellowships will be awarded to 12 senior lecturers or senior lecturer IIs annually through a competitive application process. The Fellowship provides a one-semester release for professional improvement activities that directly relate to the faculty member’s job responsibilities and/or advance important initiatives for their department or college. A call for applications typically occurs every fall  semester. 

Internal Research Funding Opportunities

The University offers a variety of funding programs to assist faculty with their research. Opportunities include"

  • Faculty Research Grants/Healey Endowment Grants (FRG/HEG)
  • Public Service Endowment Grant
  • Subvention Program 
  • Samuel F Conti Faculty Fellowship Awards 
  • The Armstrong Fund for Science
  • MSP Research Support Fund 
  • ORD Investigator Initiated Workshops
  • Harvard/Yale Library Access Program 

If you are interested, please visit the Research and Engagement website.

Related Topics

Leave Sabbatical