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Am I eligible to retire from the School of Medicine? What benefits are available?

Faculty members who have a full-time appointment (FTE = at least 50 percent) and who meet specific age and service requirements are usually eligible to retire with benefits. For most faculty members, “eligible to retire” means that, immediately preceding their retirement date: they are actively enrolled in a University of Colorado 401(a) retirement plan; and they are at least 55 years of age; and their age plus years of university employment is at least 75 years. Click here for additional information regarding the definitions of normal and early retirement.

Upon retirement, faculty members may be eligible to continue their participation in several university-sponsored health insurance plans. However, the health insurance benefits and requirements can be complicated. If you anticipate retiring from the School of Medicine in the next 3-5 years, contact Employee Services for important information regarding your plans for retirement. Employee Services Benefits Professionals can be reached at 303-860-4200 (option 3) or 855-216-7740 (option 3). You can also go to for a comprehensive list of topics related to retirement.

Faculty members who retire may also be eligible to retain certain benefits from their departments, such as office space, administrative support, campus parking or a university email account. Please contact your department directly to inquire about the availability of these benefits.

What is “Phased Retirement?”

Some faculty members prefer to retire “gradually.” One option is to work at a reduced FTE (for example, 0.50 or 0.75 FTE) for a period of time. This option is available to all SOM faculty members, regardless of age or retirement eligibility, with the approval of the department chair. The appointment FTE, length of agreement and work assignments are negotiated between the faculty member and his or her chair.

Faculty members may also petition to participate in the University’s Phased Retirement Program. These agreements with the university permit the faculty member to reduce his or her time commitment, either immediately or incrementally. Importantly, they also include the faculty member’s irrevocable agreement to retire and, if tenured, to relinquish tenure on or before a specified date. Phased Retirement Agreements are binding contracts that are prepared by the university’s legal office, and they must be approved by the faculty member’s department chair, the Dean of the School of Medicine and the Chancellor. Faculty members participating in the Phased Retirement Program accrue several benefits: (1) The university’s retirement plan contributions (which are ordinarily 10 percent of full-time salary) are paid at twice the faculty member’s negotiated workload percentage (subject to specific limitations); (2) the university contributions to the group insurance plans (including health, dental and life insurance) continue during phased retirement, even if the faculty member is less than 50 percent; and (3) assuming the faculty member is at least 59 ½ years old, he or she may begin retirement plan withdrawals as permitted under the terms of the retirement plan and IRS regulations. Click here for important additional eligibility requirements, terms and conditions of this program. 

What faculty titles are available to me after I retire?

After retirement, some faculty members may wish to continue their teaching, research or other academic work on a voluntary basis. Talk to your department chair or division head about converting your regular faculty appointment to a clinical (volunteer) faculty appointment.

An Emeritus Professor title may also be available. According to the Rules of the School of Medicine, “Upon retirement, any member of the School of Medicine faculty who has given exemplary service to the School and continues to be active in the affairs of the School of Medicine may be allowed to retain his or her title with the description of ‘emeritus’ or ‘emerita,’ respectively.” Recommendations for emeritus or emerita titles originate with the department chair and are then forwarded to the School of Medicine Dean and Executive Committee for approval. Final approval by the Chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver|Anschutz Medical Campus is required. One additional benefit of having an emeritus or emerita title is continued eligibility to be a Principal Investigator on grants and contracts submitted through the School of Medicine. For more information regarding the process for obtaining emeritus appointments, please contact Cheryl Welch, Director of Faculty Affairs in the School of Medicine.​​​