Graduate Students

What We Do

Accessible Education provides reasonable academic accommodations for students with disabilities. Western University recognizes that the design, intent and outcome of graduate education also necessitates creative and highly individualized approaches to academic accommodation that differ from academic accommodation at the undergraduate level. Graduate students with a suspected, temporary or permanent disability have unique needs.

Our team of professionals are here to listen and learn about your experience and create a plan for accessibility in your degree program. We are dedicated to providing information and resources necessary for students to pursue their academic, personal and professional goals while at Western. In addition, we are committed to working with faculty, staff and students to cultivate an awareness of creating an inclusive environment for all individuals.

Register for Accommodation Support

Differences Between Undergraduate and Graduate Education

Undergraduate programs are designed to be a general program of study, focused on a certain field but not necessarily specializing in a certain topic. Most programs are course based and may infuse lab work and/or work integrated learning components. The focus of academic accommodation at the undergraduate level focuses on support for timed assessments and classroom participation.

In contrast, a Master's or PhD level program is considered graduate education. Graduate programs are usually much smaller, highly specialized programs which emphasize research. These programs may require students to complete qualifying comprehensive examinations, specialized independent research, publications and teaching responsibilities. Others may require completion of clerkships, internships that culminate in demonstration of knowledge and skill mastery for entrance to practice.

Western University recognizes that the design, intent and outcome of graduate education also necessitates creative and highly individualized approaches to academic accommodation that differ from academic accommodation at the undergraduate level.

Considerations in Planning Graduate Accommodations

Depending on the program, a graduate student may be required to complete a combination of coursework, research, work -integrated learning and/or funded learning experiences and opportunities. Accessible Education will assist students with disabilities navigate their programs and identify barriers to participation that may occur at unique points along the timeline during their studies. This includes a review of your academic progression, the essential program requirements and milestones as well as supplemental scholarly opportunities and experiences.

Essential Program Requirements and Milestones

Graduate students may require support strategies to navigate essential requirements and program milestones including but not limited to:

  • Participating in graduate courses Laboratory settings or fieldwork requirements
  • Clerkships, Internships & Practicum, Cooperative education or work terms
  • Graduate seminar participation and seminar leadership
  • Student-Supervisory relationship
  • Independent research
  • Major writing components including but not limited to theses, dissertations and major research papers and projects
  • Comprehensive and Qualifying Examinations
  • Defense and Oral Examinations
  • Enabling the supervisor/student relationship

Scholarly Opportunities & Experiences

Some graduate students may also participate in activities intended to expand and enrich the graduate experience that assist with professional development. Students may engage in:

  • Roles such as teaching assistant, assignment marker, invigilator, or research assistant
  • International mobility for research opportunities
  • Extra-curricular activities: networking, conference attendance, post-seminar receptions, etc.

Discussing Your Needs and Developing a Plan

After you have submitted your online registration form and uploaded your supporting documentation we will invite you to meet with an Accessible Education Counselor. Depending on the nature of your disability and limitations you have encountered during your academic career you and your Counselor may review the following in combination with your program of study to ensure you receive the right accommodation at the right time.

Academic Materials & Software

Access to reference and research material required to engage in studies can be challenging for students who present with sensory and related processing disabilities. Accessible Education can support full access with assistive software, and recommendations for devices to help make content more accessible. We work closely with Western Libraries around accessible academic materials, including journal articles, textbooks, videos and many other resources.

Deadlines and Timelines

Many graduate programs require students to complete work independently, within specific timelines. This can be particularly challenging for students with episodic disabilities, or onset of a new disability condition. We can assist with navigating these requirements.


Graduate students may be required to complete a series of assessments as part of the degree. The most common examinations include but are not limited to comprehensive, qualifying, oral and research defense examinations. Discussing your current abilities and limitations will assist in developing a personalized plan to ensure these assessments are accessible.

Physical Environment

Western is considered to be Canada's most beautiful university. Our main campus is situated in North London and spans 481.2 hectares of Gothic-style buildings mixed with modern, LEED-certified structures that provide an idyllic environment for our community of scholars. We can help ensure all of the academic spaces you require access to support scholarly activities are accessible.

Accessible Education Learning Strategy and Assistive Technology Support

Graduate students often require learning strategy and assistive technology support to assist with organization, long-range planning and time management skills as part of their accommodation plan. These resources are offered through one-on-one support.

Connecting You to Support Services

Accessible Education works in collaboration with the Writing Support Centre, Learning Development & Success, Careers & Experience, and Wellness & Wellbeing, as well as other campus and community-based partners. We can help you find the supports you need.

Accessing Your Eligible Accommodations

We provide support to students under the following key principles:

Activating Your Plan

Accessible Education is here to make sure you are comfortable with your accommodation plan. When receiving accommodation, you’re in control of: 1) which of your eligible accommodations you would like to use; 2) when you would like to use your eligible accommodations and; 3) who is informed about your accommodations.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Private personal health information about your specific diagnosis, condition or symptoms will never communicated to a program or faculty. All information you share with Accessible Education specific to your condition is confidential.

Consent & Communicating Eligible Accommodations

Accessible Education is here to ensure you are comfortable with your accommodation plan and that your privacy is protected. In order to implement your eligible academic accommodations, we will seek your consent before communicating with your program.