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Policy on Course Buy-Outs

Policy Number ACA-025
Effective Date July 01, 2017
Responsible Office/Person Academic Affairs

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Academic Affairs Division

Policy on Course Buy-Outs 


Full-time Faculty are allowed to reduce their instructional load through course buy-outs in order to further the research and sponsored program mission of the University. Course buy-outs can be charged to both externally awarded and internally awarded projects. Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring their grant budgets have the proper allocation of salary and fringe and agency approvals that are needed for the buy-out. Course buy-outs on externally funded projects must be approved by the dean and the department chair at the time of the proposal via the Proposal Routing Form. Course buy-outs on internally funded projects must be approved by the dean and the department chair via email to the office of Research Development at the time the internal proposal is submitted. Course buy-outs using PI’s indirect recovery accounts must be approved by the dean and the department chair. In addition, faculty seeking buy-outs should complete a Course Buy-out Request form at least 60 days prior to the start date of the proposed buy-out semester.


Externally funded buy-outs are provided to allow faculty additional time for research on externally sponsored projects. Salary and fringe charged to the sponsored project must be based on the faculty member’s percentage of effort. External funds must provide 10% of the 9 month salary plus applicable fringe for a 3 TU (Teaching Unit) course buy-out. See Appendix for Conversion Table of Teaching Units to percent of effort or salary to be charged.

The salary budget released by the course buyout will first be used to pay for the replacement cost of instruction. Remaining budget will be distributed equally between the college and the department.


An Internal buyout to allow time on an internally sponsored project must have the faculty time charged to the internal award. The course buyout amount must be sufficient to cover the full cost of the replacement and the award budget must be adequate to cover salary and fringe of the replacement faculty. Department funds or startup funds may not be used for a course buy-out. Course buy-outs that use PI’s indirect recovery account follow the same guidelines as buy-outs from internal awards.


  • Participation in the program does not reduce the faculty member’s undergraduate advising responsibilities, university service expectations, or efforts related to mentoring graduate students. 
  • Releases granted for purposes of carrying major service responsibilities (such as a Center director or department Chair) should not preclude a faculty member’s opportunity to buy-out of a course on a grant in order to accomplish the funded work.
  • Faculty members will not be able to buy-out their entire teaching load in any semester. Faculty teaching load should not fall below a 1 + 1 level.


Course Credit Equivalency to Percent Effort and Percent Annual Salary

Number of Units per Course Percent Effort for Semester to be Certified Percent Annual Salary to be Budgeted/Charged to a Grant 
1 6.67% 3.33%
2 13.33% 6.67%
3 20.0% 10%
4 26.67%



This policy is effective July 1, 2017.

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