Studying at university can be a challenge, especially if you have a disability, and we are keen to help you overcome any difficulties you may have and to fulfil your potential. To that end, it is important that you let us know about any disability, specific learning difficulty or health problem as early as possible, so we can give you the necessary advice and support. Some people never think of themselves as having a disability, but amongst the issues that we deal with regularly are:
- Specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, AD[H]D)
- Autistic spectrum (such as Asperger’s)
- Deafness or hearing difficulties
- Long term mental health difficulties (such as chronic anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression)
- Medical conditions (such as epilepsy, arthritis, diabetes, Crohn’s disease)
- Eating disorders, alcohol problems
- Physical disabilities or mobility impairments
- Visual difficulties
The Disabilities Officer, Mery Fajardo, is the first point of contact within the Department for students with disabilities or special needs. She is responsible for securing agreement for extra time in exams, arranging special exam sessions, providing notetaking and mentoring services, and ensuring that infrastructure needs (eg. cameras, sound systems) are met within the Department. You should speak to her if you need to record lectures. She works closely with the Senior Tutor, the College Disability Service and teaching staff. Read more information on disabilities and exams. The Competency Standards for all BSc & MSci Physics Degree Programmes will help guide you if you require additional information on access issues in Physics.
The Disability Advisory Service have offices on Level 5 of the Sherfield Building, and may be reached by email or by telephone on 020-7594 8935. They can advise and help students with a wide range of issues, including application for the Disabled Students Allowance. Check their website for further information.
If you hit personal problems and feel the need of advice, you should contact your personal tutor, who will try to help. If you feel that further steps are needed, contact the Undergraduate Education Manager. He may deal with your problem personally, or may refer you to the Senior Tutor (Prof Jing Zhang, Room 308c). For confidential matters, you may deal directly with the Senior Tutor if you prefer. In certain cases, you may be directed to other experts within the College.
Special needs, disabilities, other difficulties tabs
All cases are dealt with in confidence. However, it is often necessary to inform Personal Tutors and sometimes other relevant people. We will normally specify who this would be. Please make it clear if there is anyone whom you would not wish to be informed or involved.
If for some reason – privacy, a clash of personality or whatever – you seek advice and prefer not to contact your tutor, the UEM or the Senior Tutor, there are four members of staff who act as alternative departmental advisors, and whose names are set out on the “contacts” notice board outside Room 308c. Three of these are women, who are happy to deal with female students’ issues, but any student may approach any of these four people for advice.
In addition to support within the Department, it is possible to consult other advisors elsewhere in the College. These include College Tutors, the College Student Counsellors and your Hall Warden. Full information is available on the College's welfare and advice webpage.
College Tutors deal with student welfare and the College/student relationship. They are happy to see any student, undergraduate or postgraduate, who would like to talk to them, in confidence, about any problem. The names of the College Tutors are on the Contacts notice board outside Room 308c.
The Student Counselling Service on Level 4 of the Sherfield Building is independent of the College academic structure. Counselling is available free of charge to any student registered with the College, about any personal issue. Visit their website or to arrange an appointment you can email or telephone 020-7594 9637.
The Health Centre, housed in 40 Prince’s Gardens, across Exhibition Road, has drop-in consultations most mornings and offers exam stress counselling amongst many other services. You can ring them on 020-7584 6301, or check their website for further information. It is recommended that you register with the Health Centre if you are staying in a Hall of Residence.
Student Support funds
It is likely that your time at Imperial College will be the first occasion on which you have had almost complete control over your finances and it is well known that this is not always easy. If financial disaster, not of your own making, strikes, the College has hardship funds for home and overseas students. Your Personal Tutor, the UEM or the Senior Tutor are the first port of call in these circumstances, and the earlier you address your problems, the greater the chance of finding a solution. Please visit Student Finance to find out more about the fund.
If you have been unwell, or something has happened that could affect your studies, you will need to fill in a mitigating circumstances form.