Development and Scholarship FAQs: Applying for a Sabbatical

Download a pdf format of the guidelines

Sabbatical Worksheet


A meritorious sabbatical proposal demonstrates how a sabbatical leave will further the development of a serious scholarly, creative, or pedagogical project in the applicant’s discipline. Faculty members at Muhlenberg have successfully applied to work on projects in every stage of their development, from preliminary reading lists to the editing and proofreading of completed manuscripts. Other faculty members have applied to reinvigorate their teaching by using the sabbatical semester(s) to familiarize themselves with significant developments in their fields.

Due Date

An application for a sabbatical leave is submitted in the fall semester, typically the 3rd Friday of October of the preceding academic year. Faculty members should anticipate information about the exact date through an email sent out at the start of the academic year.


According to the Handbook [5.6.1]; “a faculty member may be granted a sabbatical leave not more often than once during each seven-year period following the attainment of tenure.” A faculty member may first apply for a sabbatical after the attainment of tenure.

Application Process 

Please assemble all material in your application into a single pdf file with the file name format “your last name_Sabbatical”. Send one electronic copy of your application to the current Faculty Development and Scholarship Committee (FDSC) chair.

An application must include:

  1. A two- to four-page proposal describing how the proposed project:
    • contributes to a specific field of knowledge OR
    • increases the faculty member’s knowledge of their teaching subject matter OR
    • improves the academic courses taught by the faculty member
  2. An up-to-date curriculum vitae.
  3. A brief letter from the department head endorsing the project and outlining how the faculty member’s work will be covered during the sabbatical leave. When department chairs apply for sabbaticals, the Provost must provide the endorsement.
  4. A completed Muhlenberg College Sabbatical Worksheet.


One can apply to take one semester off at full-pay or two semesters off at half-pay. The type of leave is determined in consultation with the department chair, taking into consideration the needs of the faculty member, department, and the College.


Applicants must be working on a serious scholarly, creative, or pedagogical project in the applicant’s discipline. FDSC does not rank sabbatical proposals unless the college officially notifies the committee of financial exigencies, as the Handbook states. Consequently, a wide range of projects are recognized as sabbatical-worthy, and faculty are not generally in competition with each other for sabbaticals. The feasibility of replacement or covering the work in the department of the applicant may be a factor.


The Handbook states that “sabbatical leave will be granted only to a faculty member who will have a continuing appointment with the College after the end of the leave and who, at the time of notification of approval for the leave, has not made a commitment inconsistent with his or her return to the College.” Faculty members are also required to submit a written report of accomplishments to the Provost’s office within three months after the start of the first semester following the completion of a faculty member’s sabbatical leave. In addition, faculty members may be asked to discuss the sabbatical results with their department heads.


Address Muhlenberg College Office of the Provost College Center, 3rd Floor 2400 Chew Street Allentown, PA 18104