The University welcomes applications from disabled students, those with a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD), long-term health condition or mental health condition.
As at January 2018, more than 14 per cent of our overall student population – including more than 1,600 undergraduates – had disclosed a disability.
Our Disability Resource Centre (DRC) offers guidance, information and support to prospective students, applicants and current students with any impairment/disability or health condition, including those with:
- Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs, including dyslexia and dyspraxia)
- physical/mobility impairments and injuries (including wheelchair users and upper limb disorder/RSI)
- sensory impairments (eg hearing, visual)
- mental health conditions (eg depression, anxiety disorder)
- long-term health conditions (eg cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV, diabetes, epilepsy)
- Asperger syndrome, autism and ADHD
The collegiate University has a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students diagnosed with any of the above, and we're keen to ensure these can be put in place to support you when applying to and studying at Cambridge. Therefore, we encourage disabled applicants to get in touch with the DRC and a College admissions office as soon as possible to discuss any requirements and your application.
Location and accessibility
Students are based in Colleges for day-to-day living and go to a faculty/department for lectures, practical work etc. Cambridge itself is an historic city with some narrow and cobbled streets. Therefore, we encourage you to visit before applying to assess the suitability of your intended College and department, including their locations relative to each other.
The DRC’s advice for prospective students, online Building Access Guide and the Cambridge Admissions Office's advice on choosing a College are useful starting points for information regarding facilities and accessibility.
If a particular College meets your specific requirements, then we recommend that you apply to that College rather than make an open application.
Study and academic support
With your agreement, the DRC liaises with relevant University and College staff before you start your course to ensure that appropriate support requirements are put in place.
If you require support workers such as note-takers, specialist one-to-one study skills tutors or mentors, the Non-Medical Help (NMA) Scheme may be able to help.
The DRC holds a range of specialist equipment that students with a disability can borrow to support their learning. Please contact the DRC to discuss your requirements and if there may be anything available to you through the loan pool.
If you require specific arrangements for examinations (such as additional time, someone to write on your behalf and/or use of a computer), the DRC can advise how to organise this via your College Tutorial Office. Please note that arrangements at Cambridge/university may differ to those made for school/college exams.
Exam access arrangements are based on medical evidence, or on a current full diagnostic report written by an Educational Psychologist or Specialist Teacher. Please contact the DRC for advice about what evidence is required.
Currently, UK students can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of their support costs. It’s important that you begin the application process for DSAs as soon as possible to ensure any available support is in place for the start of term.
In addition, there are specific University funds that disabled students may apply for (see the DRC website for details). Your eligibility for funding may depend on your fee status or nationality. Some funds are open to applications from offer-holders; and for others, you may need to have started your course. The DRC can advise on appropriate funding applications.
We're keen for our admissions process to be as accessible and inclusive as possible for all students with the academic ability and potential to flourish at Cambridge.
We strongly encourage you to disclose any disability, SpLD, long-term health condition or mental health condition and provide any relevant information in your UCAS application.
You application won't be adversely affected by declaring this – it'll be processed in exactly the same way as any other application, and considered on the same academic grounds as all other candidates.
However, if you're eligible for reasonable adjustments as a result of a disability or health condition, we're keen to know about this as soon as possible so there's sufficient time to put required support in place, both as part of the application process and (if successful) in time for your arrival.
If your disability or health condition has implications for your living arrangements, it's also worth noting that College accommodation is often in high demand and making reasonable adjustments with respect to accommodation and/or location is more straightforward to implement early in the process.
Should you choose not to disclose a disability or health condition at all, please be aware that this may limit the level and type of support the collegiate University can provide. We may not be able to make reasonable adjustments and you may miss out on funding and support.
Admission assessments and interviews
Most applicants are required to take a subject-specific written assesment, either pre-interview1 or at interview; and around 75 per cent of applicants overall (proportion varies by course) are invited to interview each year. Disclosing a disability, SpLD or health condition in your UCAS application will enable us to make appropriate adjustments to the admission assessment and interview process, if required.
If you would like some of the information from any of our publications in an alternative format (eg large print), please contact the Cambridge Admissions Office to discuss your requirements.
1 Please ensure you make your pre-interview assessment centre (likely to be your own school/college) aware early on of any relevant exam arrangements that may be necessary – for instance, there's an earlier registration deadline for modified papers.