4.1 Academic Accommodations

Students with Disabilities

Students who may require disability-related accommodations should register with the campus Disabled Students Program (DSP) as soon as possible. Students must obtain Letters of Accommodation (LOAs) from DSP as soon as they register for any class in which accommodations may be needed. This process must be repeated every semester that the student requires DSP accommodations. Students who become newly eligible for DSP accommodations during the semester must request their LOAs as soon as they are active in DSP. For information regarding accommodations in field practicum courses, please visit Student Accommodations in Field Placement.

DSP automatically sends LOAs to every instructor of record of a class with students requiring accommodation. Once notices have been sent to faculty, it is the student’s responsibility to meet with their instructors to discuss their accommodations and the course curriculum expectations. Faculty are responsible for ensuring the academic integrity of their classes and are not required to fundamentally alter the goals or performance standards of their courses. Students should let their assigned DSP Specialist know right way of any conflicts that may arise. Students can also seek guidance from the Social Welfare MSW Program GSAO.

Student Parents

Per the Berkeley Graduate Division’s Student Parent Policies, to be eligible to request parental accommodations, a graduate student “must have substantial parenting responsibilities. Substantial parenting responsibilities are defined as pregnancy, childbirth, care of a newborn or newly adopted young child, the serious illness of a child, and other exceptional circumstances relating to a child. The child may be the student’s child or that of a spouse or domestic partner.”

Students in the MSW program may be eligible to request parental accommodations only if they are able to present sufficient evidence that the continuing demands of family responsibilities prohibit attendance on a full-time basis. To request a modified schedule based on parental accommodation, the student must submit to the Social Welfare MSW Program GSAO a written request that outlines how their circumstances meet the eligibility criteria for approval of parenting leave. Additional material (e.g., birth certificate) may be required.

A student may also be eligible to request a Parenting Leave for up to one academic year (two semesters). This leave must be taken no later than twelve months after the child’s birth or adoption/placement. To take a Parenting Leave of Absence, a student must have registered for the semester during which the leave will be taken, or the semester immediately preceding the beginning of the period of leave requested. If a student commences a leave during a semester in which they are enrolled, that semester is counted as one of the semesters of leave.

Reduced Course Load Accommodations

DSP may recommend a reduced course load accommodation. Additionally, student parents may request a reduced course load for parental obligations. Because of the “fundamental nature” of course sequencing for the MSW degree, reduced course loads may impact the normative time to degree and can result in an additional summer, year, or two years of course work to complete the program. When the student’s request for accommodation is expected to impact normative time for completing the graduate program, DSP ordinarily interacts with appropriate graduate program representatives. The student must consult with the GSAO and receive approval from the Head Graduate Advisor to reduce their course load.

DSP accommodations and parental accommodations may not change the “fundamental nature” of the degree program. Reduced course loads may be granted between 6-11 units; requests for course loads below 6 units are not allowed. Because of the sequencing of MSW course work reduced course loads may extend the program substantially. Students should consult with the Social Welfare Graduate Advisor about degree progress ramifications for reducing their course load.

A reduced course load may affect the student’s fellowship and financial aid eligibility.

Because reduced course loads may have serious implications for visa statuses, international students must also consult with the Berkeley International Office before making any changes to their program of study in the graduate professional degree program.

Accommodation Resources and Support