Graduate Student FAQ

Common Academic Accommodations Include:

  •     Extended-time for examinations
  •     Exams in a reduced-distraction space
  •     Use of a secure SAS laptop (USB and networking disabled)
  •     Use of a note taker
  •     Permission to tape-record lectures
  •     Materials in alternate format
  •     Reduced course load with prorated tuition, when appropriate
  •     Extensions on assignments
  •     Use of assistive technology.

How Should Students Request Academic

Students who want to request academic accommodations are required to bring an Academic Accommodations Letter to professors in each course in which an accommodation is needed. Students should provide this letter so that professors know that they have documented their needs and have been approved to use accommodations for the current semester.

We recommend that students bring a letter to their professors during office hours to confidentially discuss how the accommodations will work for the course.

We recommend that students meet with professors early in the semester and at least two weeks before any exam accommodations are needed or at any time a reasonable effort to accommodate them could be made.

Frequently Asked Questions for Graduate Students with Disabilities

This information is also available as a PDF.

What is Student Accessibility Services (SAS)?

SAS works with graduate (and undergraduate) students, faculty and staff who have a disability, medicalcondition or temporary injury that is impacting them in such a way that accommodations or servicesmay be needed to ensure access to campus programs and services. The SAS office coordinatesaccommodations and services with a variety of partner offices across the campus, including the Graduate School.

How can I schedule an appointment?

Calling 401-863-9588 during business hours, 8:30 to 5 pm, Monday through Friday is usually the best way to find a time. Please ask to meet with Assistant Director Jon Corey. You can email [email protected] too.

Do I need to have a diagnosed disability or medical condition to work with SAS?

SAS works with registered students with documented disabilities or medical conditions. You can meetwith a SAS staff member to discuss the best way to document your needs. Students may sharedocumentation from a provider with whom they are working and/or medical or educationaldocumentation that they may have from their undergraduate institution. Documentation is alsoaccepted from Brown Student Health Services and Brown Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

What if I am wondering if I have a learning disability or ADHD?

It is not uncommon for learning or attentional issues to surface as the level and intensity of workincreases and the amount of structure decreases. You can meet with a SAS professional staff memberto talk about these questions and to review your options for getting evaluated. The counselor canreview with you options for putting temporary accommodations or services in place while you are getting evaluated.

Getting evaluated sounds expensive. Is financial assistance available?

Brown University’s Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) provides coverage for ADHD evaluations andmay cover some portions of a learning evaluation when possible ADHD is explored too. In addition, SAS has some funds made possible by a donor to support students being evaluated. You can speak with a SAS professional staff member about how to request this assistance if needed.

Who will know that I am working with SAS and what information will be shared?

Working with SAS enables students to preserve confidentiality around their specific area of disability,but request accommodations or services as needed. The only information shared is what needs to beknown to put things in place or effectively discuss reasonable options. Students communicate withfaculty directly and can also request SAS assistance with those conversations.

I worked with disability services as an undergraduate. How do services differ in graduate school?

Accommodations are usually similar within specific courses, but there may be some differences,especially as students navigate teaching or lab responsibilities. Also, since graduate study can be tied togrants, research, teaching or field work, things like taking a reduced course load or adjusting the pace ofa program will typically require some conversations and coordination to determine what is reasonable. 

How can I officially request accommodations or services?

Registering with SAS is the mechanism to do this. You will need to complete an Information andRelease form, provide documentation that meets our guidelines and meet with a SAS professional staffmember to discuss your needs and potential accommodations.

How will working with SAS benefit me?

Here is a sampling: SAS expertise will guide the accommodation process. SAS can recommendtechnologies, suggest accommodations appropriate to your needs and situation, assist with navigatingrequests for accommodations or services, and may provide access to financial support for evaluations orcoaching. The Access Shuttle provides on campus transportation for those with mobility concerns.Registering also provides protections under the ADA.

When should I register or begin working with SAS?

Registering and working with SAS as early as possible is often most helpful to the accommodationprocess. We encourage students to meet with SAS early in their first semester. It is not uncommon forstudents to begin working with SEAS at other points of their studies, as the nature of graduate study andpotential academic supports can differ over the course of a degree program.

Am I obligated to follow through or use accommodations if I make contact with SAS?

No. Registering and being approved for accommodations makes you eligible to use them when you need them and choose to request them. Timely notifications to your professors and effective communication with SAS are critical steps if you choose to use them. Students are also welcome to just come in toexplore whether they might have a disability.

Are there ways to meet other students with disabilities? How can I get more involved?

The SAS office provides a number of support groups, including an ongoing ADHD group, an ongoingSpectrum Lunch Series, and other groups based on interest (concussion and migraine support areproposed for Fall 2018); students can also connect through organizations on campus; watch forannouncements and contact SAS about your particular areas of interest; SAS is also interested inpartnering with students who want to raise awareness and share ideas about speakers or events tobring to the campus; and finally, there are some ongoing effort by student groups that we can sharewith you. Let us know if and how we can help you to get connected.

What if I run into problems with accommodations or services? What if personal concerns or academic concerns are involved?

Contact SAS immediately to discuss the situation and decide on a course of action. SAS may assist byadjusting services or supporting you in advocacy efforts. They also may refer you to a Graduate School dean, CAPS or other resources.