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Resources for Prospective Graduate Students with Disabilities

Rackham Graduate School is dedicated to helping all graduate students at the University of Michigan with the resources they need to be academically and personally successful. As part of this mission, we seek to provide information and resources to students based on their different gifts, abilities and backgrounds.

Prospective Students

We anticipate that a highly diverse group of students will be coming to the University of Michigan for graduate school, including students with disabilities. As a prospective student with a disability we want you to know that the resources are here to promote success in your academic career. Below we have listed a few of the resources that might be helpful as you consider U-M for graduate school. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any further questions or if we can help in any way.

Applying to Rackham

Prospective students are encouraged to visit campus, sit in on classes, meet with other students in the program, and to contact Rackham or the prospective department regarding any disability-related questions or concerns. In the preparation of your graduate school application, please keep in mind that disclosure of a disability is completely voluntary and will be kept confidential. This information is only used for accommodation purposes.

Accommodations for Graduate School Entrance Exams

To apply to U-M graduate programs you will most likely need to complete a graduate entrance exam, such as the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT. Each exam has unique guidelines regarding accommodations for test-takers with disabilities. Here are several websites, but please check with your prospective department for additional information or regulations:

Academic Accommodations

All academic accommodations for students with disabilities are handled through the Office of Services for Students With Disabilities (SSWD). It is important to make an appointment to speak with someone in SSWD as soon as possible to provide them with documentation of your disability. The SSWD staff will work with you to determine reasonable accommodations. These accommodations will then be put in writing and presented in a Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) form to you. It is then your responsibility to present this information to your instructors to work out the details of your necessary accommodations. SSWD can be reached through the web or by calling (734) 763-3000.

Academic Accommodations at the University of Michigan

Physical Accommodations

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a modification in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of a University service, program or activity. Examples of reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to:

  • Note taking services
  • Text conversion to alternative accessible formats
  • Captioning
  • Interpreter services
  • Adjusting time limits on tests
  • Making facilities and/or programs readily accessible to and useable for individuals with disabilities

The University makes reasonable accommodations for known disabilities of otherwise qualified students. In general, it is the responsibility of the student to make their disability status and subsequent need for an accommodation known to the appropriate University official.

Once notified of the need for accommodations, it is the responsibility of the University official and the individual with a disability to engage in dialogue to identify possible accommodations and assess the reasonableness and effectiveness of each potential accommodation. Determinations regarding accommodations on campus will be made on a case-by-case basis. Determining a reasonable accommodation is very fact-specific. In general, it must be tailored to address the nature of the disability and the needs of the individual within the context of the requirements of the program of study. If there are two or more possible accommodations, and one costs more or is more burdensome than the other, the University will give primary consideration to the preference of the individual with a disability. However, the University may choose the less expensive or less burdensome accommodation as long as it is effective.

Source: Office of Institutional Equity

Special Considerations for Prospective Graduate Students with Psychological Disabilities

If you have a psychological disability that could interfere with your academic success, it is important that you have your condition evaluated by a mental health professional. This evaluation is required for obtaining accommodations specific to students with disabilities. If possible, it is advisable that this evaluation be sought prior to enrollment, which will enable an earlier receipt of support and services as you transition into the academic and campus community.

For specific information on obtaining disability-related evaluations and services, consult the SSWD handbook at or contact SSWD at (734) 763-3000.

Additional Mental Health-related Resources

Last updated: September 8, 2015 - 11:45am