Early Sabbatical


The deadline for submitting applications with the department chair’s signature on the Request for Leave Form is Friday, November 17, 2023. The Office of the Executive Vice Provost will then forward the application to the applicant’s dean.

Applications must be submitted online.

The Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences (ASHSS) early sabbatical program, an initiative of the Office of the Provost, supports our most productive faculty at critical moments during the research or creative process so that they are enabled to produce high-caliber work sooner.

All USC full-time tenured faculty or RTPC faculty at full professor or associate professor rank in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences are eligible to apply. Visiting faculty are ineligible. Tenured faculty must have accrued a minimum of 6 semesters since their last sabbatical or, for RTPC faculty, have served a minimum of 3 uninterrupted years of full-time service. The ASHSS early sabbatical, or paid leave for RTPC faculty, is one semester at full pay. Once the ASHSS early sabbatical is taken, the sabbatical accrual clock for tenured faculty. The Provost’s Office will also provide the applicant’s dean with funds to help defray teaching replacement costs.


  • Recipients of any ASHSS award or Zumberge award in 2020-2021 or later are ineligible for this year’s competition.
  • For tenured faculty, all sabbatical requirements and rules apply, except as modified by this memo. See the Faculty Handbook 3-D(2).
  • For RTPC faculty, a definite and  well-defined research program or creative endeavor must be submitted, and if awarded, the faculty member should not engage in other activities for remuneration that would intrude on the faculty member’s sabbatical research.  The absence of a faculty member should not jeopardize the academic program of the faculty member’s department, and it is expected that the faculty member will return to the University for at least one year after the ASHSS sabbatical.
  • At the end of the ASHSS early sabbatical, the faculty member must submit a 1-2 page summary of the work accomplished during the sabbatical and progress toward the goals outlined in the application. Faculty must submit the report to be eligible for future consideration for any future ASHSS support.
  • Any publication or creative endeavor arising from work supported by the fund should acknowledge the Office of the Provost and Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences grant program at the University of Southern California. For scholarly projects, copies of publications should be submitted to the Office of the Executive Vice Provost. For creative projects, copies of the finished work, where feasible, and any resulting publicity materials, press clippings, or reviews should be submitted to the Office of the Executive Vice Provost.
  • The 2023-2024 ASHSS competition cycle award funds are intended to be disbursed within the 2024-2025 academic year.

Materials to be included in the proposal include the following:

  1. Proposal Narrative (2-page maximum)
    1. Describe the project.
    2. Provide a justification for the ASHSS early sabbatical that answers “Why do you need a sabbatical now?”
    3. No other ancillary text, appendices, etc. will be accepted. All substantive description of the project (including tables, graphics, etc.) must be contained in the proposal itself.
    4. For RTPC applicants only: In accordance with section 4-C (2) in the Faculty Handbook, explain how the proposed “research or other scholarly activity [is] consistent with [your] expected faculty profile.”
  2. Condensed Curriculum-Vitae (2-page maximum)
  3. For Artists or for Creative Work Only (all items below are optional):
    1. An artist’s statement that provides the context for understanding the importance of your work in your field.
    2. Links to relevant online material.
    3. Documentation of your work.
  4. Request for Leave Form, complete with your department chair’s signature. The Office of the Executive Vice Provost will seek your dean’s signature.
  5. Signatures
    1. By submitting a proposal via the online form or submitting a signed application, applicants indicate their agreement to comply with the terms and conditions of the ASHSS early sabbatical program as well as all other applicable USC policies.
    2. Applicants must secure the signatures of their department chair on the Request for Leave form before submitting the proposal to the Office of the Executive Vice Provost.
    3. The Office of the Executive Vice Provost will then request the applicant’s dean to review the application to ensure that the applicant’s school can support the faculty member. Additionally, in the case of applications from RTPC faculty, the dean will be asked to affirm that the proposed research project or scholarly activity aligns with the faculty member’s profile.
    4. If the dean approves the proposal, it will be entered into the pool of ASHSS sabbatical applications. Dean’s approval indicates acknowledgement that any costs not covered by the Provost’s Office’s funding will be the school’s responsibility.

The deadline for submitting applications with the department chair’s signature on the Request for Leave Form is Friday, November 17, 2023. The Office of the Executive Vice Provost will then forward the application to the applicant’s dean. Questions can be directed to facultydevelopment@usc.edu.

Applications are evaluated by a multidisciplinary faculty panel and approved by the Provost. Because of limited resources, not all proposals can be funded. To the extent possible, sabbaticals will be distributed across academic units.

In reviewing ASHSS early sabbatical requests, faculty panels consider:

  • The merits of the proposed project outlined in the narrative.
  • The likelihood and feasibility that the proposed project will be completed in the time requested for the sabbatical.
  • The urgency of the sabbatical.
  • The past accomplishments and future promise of the applicant.
  • The relevance of the proposal to the faculty member’s work at USC.

The reviewers particularly are interested in understanding why the sabbatical is critical at this moment in the scholarly or creative process. The strongest applications will make a compelling case for how the ASHSS early sabbatical will either propel a new project or spur a project’s completion. The most successful proposals will articulate the work for a broad interdisciplinary audience and will provide the context for understanding the importance and impact of the proposed project.

Reviewers also consider the project’s external funding streams: whether the project already has obtained, is positioned to obtain, or was submitted to obtain external funding from additional sources appropriate and relevant to the applicant’s discipline – including fellowships, foundation and philanthropic grants, federal funding, and private sector support.

Last updated October 2023