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Sabbaticals (Paid Professional Leave)

The purpose of sabbatical leave with pay is to increase the scholarship and professional development of members of the faculty and thereby enhance their capacity for service to the University of Washington.

Each year, the College of Engineering is allocated a limited number of quarters of sabbatical leave. Faculty members who meet certain eligibility criteria (described below) may apply for this leave annually each fall quarter. 

Leaves are awarded to coincide with the normal academic quarter dates: 

  • Autumn quarter: 9/16 - 12/15
  • Winter quarter: 12/16 - 3/15
  • Spring quarter: 3/16 - 6/15

A faculty member who wishes to apply for sabbatical leave with pay will prepare an application dossier (described in faculty application instructions below) and forward it to their department chair.

The department chair will review the application and prepare a cover letter citing their independent recommendation related to the leave. The chair will submit the entire package to the Dean. 
The application and chair's letter will be reviewed by the Dean, who will then submit a recommendation to Academic Human Resources and the Provost. The Regents of the University of Washington have final authority to grant leave upon recommendation from the Provost. 
Faculty members are generally notified of their leave award status in early spring quarter. 

Eligibility criteria

A faculty member (tenure, teaching and research-track) is eligible for a sabbatical leave not earlier than the seventh year of service to the University or not earlier than the seventh year after return from a previous sabbatical leave. Leave without pay taken by a faculty member may extend the period of time before they are eligible for sabbatical leave. Faculty members are encouraged to contact the Dean's Office or Academic Human Resources for assistance in determining their eligibility for sabbatical leave. Assistant Professors are not eligible for sabbatical leave until they have been reviewed and approved for tenure/promotion.

Applications for sabbatical leave are accepted by the College of Engineering annually, during fall quarter. Applications should be submitted at least 9 months in advance of the date of the proposed leave.

Faculty application instructions

  • Fill out the faculty application for sabbatical leave on the Academic Personnel website. Click through to Forms > Professional Leave to find the appropriate form.
  • Select the salary support option that aligns with the number of quarters of sabbatical leave. 
  • If the leave will span multiple academic years, please note the desire to request sabbatical over multiple academic years , and select the salary support percentage based on how many quarters the faculty member will be on sabbatical in all academic years requested
    • Example: If the faculty member is taking winter and spring of 2024, and fall of 2025, it is still three quarters, making 67% salary support the appropriate box to check).
      • Faculty will need to submit one application for each academic year impacted if the request spans multiple academic years. Faculty are not guaranteed to receive approval on both applications.   

Along with the application, the following materials are required:

  • Faculty Application for Sabbatical LeaveClick through to Forms > Professional Leave to find the appropriate form.
  • Chair/Director memo of support 
  • Letter from the faculty member including the following: 
    • A detailed statement of the applicant's plans for utilizing the time requested. This statement should include such information as the time sequence for completion of any project or plan. 
    • The names of foundations or institutions, if any, with which the applicant expects to be affiliated during the leave, an outline of special resources available for the proposed work, and the source and amount of any supplementary grants or salary. 
    • A statement of evidence of productivity in scholarly or creative work and a brief review of professional activities. 
    • Faculty CV 
  • Additional materials (Form 1460s, letters of support from other institutions, etc.) 

Application submittal process: unit to Dean’s Office  

When all materials have been collated, please send sabbatical packets to Rachel Sok ( If you have multiple faculty requesting sabbaticals, please send one email with all packets attached.  

Each sabbatical request packet must be submitted to the Dean’s Office via email as one PDF and materials should be organized in the following order:

  • Sabbatical application  
  • Chair/Director memo of support 
  • Letter from faculty member 
  • Additional materials (Form 1460s, letters of support from other institutions, etc.)

If submitting more than one sabbatical request, the unit Chair/Director should rank the requests from most supported to least supported. This will be used if we have more quarters requested by faculty than quarters we have been allotted by the Office of Academic Personnel (OAP). Do not include this ranking in the Chair/Director’s memo of support in the sabbatical packet.  

Check that the faculty member signed the application form and that the signature still appears after combining files into a packet.

Do not send us sabbatical packets that are not approved by the Chair/Director. If the unit Chair does not support the sabbatical, they should not approve it and discuss their reasoning with the impacted faculty member.

Review and approval process

The College of Engineering Human Resources team (CoE HR) will review all sabbatical applications with the Vice Dean and Dean. Once approved, CoE HR will let units know that they have sent the sabbatical packets along to OAP for their final review and approval. We usually receive approval from OAP in spring quarter.

If applications are not approved, CoE HR will contact the unit Chair/Director with reasoning.

Once approved by OAP

CoE HR will let units know when sabbatical requests have been approved by OAP. Reminders will then be sent quarterly to place appropriate faculty on sabbatical leave in Workday.

Return to service and payback obligations

Upon return from sabbatical, the faculty member must submit a brief report to the Provost via email to The report should include where the leave was spent, principal accomplishments, and how those accomplishments apply to teaching or research effectiveness. OAP does not provide a template for this. There is no need to copy anyone in the Dean’s Office on this email.

Following a sabbatical leave, the faculty member must return and work for the University for the period of one academic year at the appointment percentage held prior to the sabbatical leave. Even if only one quarter of sabbatical leave was used, no portion of that academic year shall count toward fulfilling the return to service obligation. Failure to return for the required period will constitute an obligation on the faculty member’s part to repay any remuneration received from the University during the sabbatical leave.

Other considerations

Outside work 

If a faculty member will be engaging in outside work during their sabbatical leave, an approved Outside Work for Compensation form (Form 1460) must be included in the packet. Please route the 1460 as normal and included the fully approved (approved by the Office of Research) form in the packet.

Administrative appointments 

Sabbatical should be a release from regular duties to focus on research, scholarship, and professional development. If a faculty member needs to continue in their administrative role for exceptional circumstances in support of their department, this should be discussed with their Chair before applying. If the Chair agrees, they should bring it to the attention of CoE HR so that CoE HR can gain pre-approval from OAP. 

Faculty should also be made aware that continuing that administrative appointment will in no way impact how subsequent eligibility for a sabbatical is calculated. This needs to be noted in an email to their Chair that is forwarded to CoE HR, or in their description of sabbatical leave.  

An example statement: While on sabbatical leave, I intend to willingly participate in my administrative activities of [describe duties] and I understand that doing so will in no way impact how subsequent eligibility for a sabbatical is calculated. 


If a faculty member needs to cancel or amend their sabbatical leave request, please email CoE HR and be sure to include the following details: 

  • Faculty member’s name 
  • Original dates requested for sabbatical leave 
  • Clearly state if the sabbatical is being cancelled or amended 
    • If the request is for an amendment, include the new dates requested 
  • CoE HR will work with OAP to make the necessary updates. 
  • If the faculty is requesting a cancellation, or to have their sabbatical amended to include a future academic year, we cannot guarantee that they will be approved for leave in subsequent academic years. They will need to reapply in the following academic year.  

Additional resources