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Academic Accommodations

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

Academic Accommodations at the University of Michigan

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.

Special Considerations for Graduate Students with Psychological Disabilities

Graduate students with psychological disabilities confront unique challenges for academic success. It is therefore important that you seek appropriate accommodations. Please note that a mental disorder in or of itself does not necessarily constitute a disability. Before accommodations can be obtained, it is required that you have your condition evaluated by a mental health professional.

It is advisable that you seek this evaluation as soon as possible to enable a timely receipt of support and services.

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

Additional Mental Health-Related Resources

  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Psychological Clinic
  • Outpatient Psychiatry
  • Washtenaw County Community Mental Health
  • SOS Community Crisis Center
  • (After Hours) U-M Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES), Phone: (734) 996-4747

Considerations for Accommodations for Research Sites and Qualifying or Preliminary Exams

Graduate students with disabilities should also consider the type and nature of the research that you may be doing either independently or with a supervising faculty member. This could include–but is not limited to–a thesis or dissertation. Some of these situations may require accommodations. Be sure to discuss these needs early with your faculty supervisor, Rackham’s Disability Coordinator and/or SSD staff.

In the case of extraordinary exam situations such as comprehensive, qualifying, and preliminary exams, graduate students should begin well in advance of the exam date to pursue appropriate accommodations for that unique testing situation. This might include:

Working with committee and faculty members in advance to determine possibilities for accommodations.

Corresponding with SSD regarding accommodation options.

Campus and Local Resources for Students