Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I have particular accommodation needs owing to a disability?

The Disability Advisory Service recommends that disabled students with additional needs contact us well in advance of starting at Imperial College. If you are likely to need your room adapting (for example having powered doors or a hoist) then the Disability Advisory Service will need you to contact us earlier, preferably before Easter. It is possible to arrange a visit to the College to discuss and visit College accommodation if you have significant additional needs.

What should I do if I have a temporary disability/illness which is affecting my studies?

You should contact your Departmental Disability Officer in the first instance. You are also welcome to make an appointment to speak to an Advisor in the Disability Advisory Service.

I have a report which says I have dyslexia – will it be accepted at Imperial?

You will need to make an appointment with the Disability Advisory Service so an Advisor can check that your report meets Imperial’s criteria. Reports must come from a qualified psychologist, or an assessor holding a PATOSS qualification and should have been carried out after your sixteenth birthday.

I think I might have dyslexia, how do I get tested?

If you think you may have dyslexia or another form of specific learning difficulty, the first step is to undertake an initial screening appointment with a Disability Advisor. These initial screenings usually last between thirty minutes and an hour. The advisor will use a range of tools to see if you show any indicators of a specific learning difficulty. You can book a screening appointment with the Disability Advisory Service by email. You should look at our pages on Screenings and Diagnostic assessments and student charges.

Can I continue in university accommodation after my first year if I have a disability?

For some students, living out of halls is particularly difficult due to their disability. If you feel like you might fall into this category, then please let your advisor know. At the appropriate time in the academic year an application can be made for continuing accommodation.

Will my exam arrangements at Imperial be the same as I have had elsewhere?

The examination arrangements at Imperial will not necessarily be the same as you have had elsewhere. Special examination arrangements must be applied for on your behalf by your Departmental Disability Officer. They can only be put in place if they are supported by evidence of need, either from your doctor (in the case of medical conditions) or your diagnostic assessor (specific learning difficulties). Applications need to be made at least six weeks prior to your first examination. You will need to contact your Departmental Disability Officer without delay to make sure that they have a copy of your evidence.

What alternative exam arrangements can I apply for at Imperial?

Some examples of the types of adjustment that can commonly be made are: extra time, rest breaks, the use of a computer or assistive technology, a reader and/ or amanuensis (scribe). This is not an exhaustive list, and not all of these options will be available to all students. Any special arrangements are tailored to both the examination, and the individual student’s need. It may be that two students with the same disability do not receive the same adjustments, and this is because no two individuals’ needs are exactly alike.

What documentation do you require to prove I have a disability?

For health conditions, including mental ill health conditions, evidence must come from your GP, the doctor or consultant at your hospital or outpatient clinic, your psychiatrist, or, with some more minor conditions, a qualified nurse. Your evidence must be on headed paper and include the address, signature, and qualification of the practitioner.


For specific learning difficulties, reports must come from a qualified psychologist, or an assessor holding a PATOSS qualification. In order to apply for the Disabled Students' Allowance, reports must also have been carried out after your sixteenth birthday. If you were younger than this when you were assessed, then the Disability Advisory Service can advise you on how to get an updated report undertaken and how to fund this.


For Autistic Spectrum conditions, evidence should come in the form of a letter from your GP or consultant, or a report from a psychiatrist. If your AS was diagnosed when you were young, the Disability Advisory Service will ask you to have an assessment with a psychologist once you start at Imperial College, to ensure that your support needs are fully identified.
If you have any questions about the validity of your evidence, then you can email your queries to the Disability Advisory Service. 

Do I have to disclose my disability to the University?

You do not have to disclose your disability to the University. However, the College is unable to put any additional arrangements in place for you unless you disclose.

If I disclose a disability, who will the information be shared with?

Information given to the Disability Advisory Service will never be shared with anyone who is not directly involved in your personal student experience, and will only be shared if you have signed a disclosure form when you met with a member of the Disability Advisory Service. This can include, for example: the Departmental Disability Officer in your department, the student accommodation office if you are applying for extra time, or the Health Centre.