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Some projects require extended time away from the university. Mason and the College of Science understand the importance of field research, writing, and study.

In the fall and spring semesters of each academic year, eligible term and tenured faculty at Mason are provided an opportunity to apply for a study leave to advance their scholarly research, teaching, and/or creative activity, including the development of innovative teaching approaches and methods. Leaves are for one semester at full pay and full benefits or an academic year at half pay that can be supplemented with sponsored project funding.

The College of Science developed the following guidelines for term and tenured faculty study leave requests in order to provide transparency in how and when a study leave can be requested as well as how those requests are reviewed. These guidelines are intended to allow for a coordinated, proactive, and fair review process across the entire College.


  • January 31: Faculty notifies Chair
  • February 7: Faculty submits proposal via online COS form
  • February 14: Chair’s Letter of Recommendation due
  • February 15: Proposals shared with COS Executive Council for review
  • March 4: Proposal shared with Dean for review
  • March 25: Applicants notified of Dean’s decision


In addition to the other eligibility requirements, terms, and conditions listed on the Provost website, faculty members must be in good standing with their home academic unit and the college in order to apply. Tenured faculty with six years of service at Mason and who have completed at least six years of service after a previous study leave are eligible to apply to participate in the study leave program. An applicant may apply in year 6 for a study leave in year 7 (with year 1 being the first year back from the completed study leave). In some cases, time spent on leave of absence, leave without pay, or time worked at another agency or institution may count towards the 6 years, but only if authorized by the Dean. A faculty member who receives a study leave must agree to remain a full-time employee of the College for at least one academic year after the conclusion of the leave.

Evaluative Criteria and Requirements

The number of applications that will be approved each year is dependent upon the number and caliber of applications received and the amount of teaching replacement funding provided by Central Administration. Favorable consideration will be given to proposals that span a full academic year; are focused on a collaborative project with specific outcomes; and where the faculty member can supplement the remaining half of their AY salary from external funds. The timing of a leave may be delayed if, in the judgement of the Chair of the faculty member’s department or Dean of the College, the faculty member’s services are essential and necessary for the requested leave period. In this case, the Chair or Dean will include a clear rationale for their decision in their recommendation and decision letters.

At the completion of the approved study leave, faculty members must submit a report of accomplishments and plans for continuing activities related to the study leave (maximum 2 pages). The report should be emailed to the Dean with a cc’ to the respective Chair/Director and A copy of the report will be maintained in the faculty member’s COS personnel file.

Required Materials

✓   Application Form: The Microsoft Form supplied by COS for the application cycle that contains summary information about the faculty member’s proposal. The remaining documents are uploaded to the form and submitted for consideration by pressing the Submit button at the bottom of the form.

✓   Curriculum Vitae (maximum 5 pages): The CV should be current and include the faculty member’s most notable accomplishments in research, teaching, and service activities to date.

✓   Project Proposal (maximum 3 pages): The proposal should describe the objectives and anticipated final work products of the study leave. The proposal may include several types of activities such as research, book writing, course and courseware development. 

✓   Prior Study Leave Report (If applicable; maximum 2 pages):Brief report on products and outcomes from previous tenured faculty study leave. 

✓   Host Institution Permission (if applicable; maximum 1 page): If the proposed study leave is to be spent in residence at another institution, the faculty member must submit a letter of support from an appropriate official at the host institution.

In addition, if the faculty member will be appointed to a salaried position while in residence at another institution, the appointment must be to a non-tenured temporary position (e.g. Visiting Scholar) AND:

For a two-semester leave (one academic year) at half pay, the amount of additional salary is limited to one-half of the faculty member’s current academic-year salary.

For a one semester leave at full pay, no additional salary may be accepted. Any exceptions to this provision must be approved by the faculty member’s Dean and must comply with the other Mason personnel policies.

✓   Chair’s Letter of Support (maximum 2 pages): This letter should explain the importance of the contributions of the applicant and address whether the leave would have a significant teaching and/or financial impact on the department. It should also provide enough information about the applicant’s publication outlets (or other scholarly activity) so that reviewers outside the discipline can judge the relative importance of the publications or activity (e.g., peer reviewed journal articles, books, conference proceedings, performances, etc.).

If more than one faculty member from a department applies for the same time period, the Department Chair will prioritize the applications based on merit for subsequent levels of review to consider if there are insufficient study leaves available for that cycle. Describe how the unit’s operations will be continued if more than one proposal is approved.  

After the tenured faculty member submits their application materials to via the Microsoft Form, the College of Science will compile the applicant's study leave materials into a OneDrive folder to be shared with the respective department chair for their consideration. The department chair will then upload their own recommendation to the OneDrive folder.