Academic Accommodations

Academic accommodations are adjustments to policies, procedures, and practices that serve to remove barriers and allow students with exceptional needs to have equal access to participate in their academic programs.

Students with Disabilities

Accommodations for students with disabilities are managed by the Berkeley Disabled Students Program (DSP). Students requiring disability-related academic accommodations should begin the process by engaging with their assigned DSP Disability Specialist as soon as they know they will need accommodations. For more information and answers to frequent questions about accommodations, please consult the DSP Student Handbook.

Letters of Accommodation (LOAs) must be requested prior to each semester for each class in which a student needs accommodation. As soon as you register for a class, you should request your accommodation letter for that class. If LOAs are not requested in a timely manner, it may not be possible to provide accommodations in a timely manner. For more information and instructions for requesting LOAs, please visit DSP Letters of Accommodation.

LOAs are sent to the faculty of record, who may access LOAs through the DSP Faculty Portal.  Faculty are responsible for ensuring the academic integrity of their classes and are not required to fundamentally alter their courses. Faculty are also not required to provide either formal or informal accommodations in the absence of an LOA issued by DSP.

Once LOAs have been sent to faculty, it is your responsibility to contact faculty for each class in which you are receiving accommodations to set up a meeting to discuss accommodations and faculty expectations. If a conflict arises, you should let your DSP Disability Specialist know.

DSP accommodations may not change the “fundamental nature” of the degree 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.

Student Parents

The University is committed to supporting policies, programs, and services to help graduate student parents meet their family care obligations while pursuing their academic goals. The Graduate Council of the Academic Senate has approved policies regarding academic accommodation of student parents designed to be supportive of graduate students with substantial parenting responsibilities. These include:

  • Extension of Time for Academic Milestones for Doctoral Students
  • Academic, Employment and Financial Accommodations due to Pregnancy and Childbirth
  • Policy on Parenting Leave with Re-enrollment.

A graduate student requesting parental accommodations 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.

For international students, Student Parent Policies apply to students regardless of State residency or visa status, with the exception that the three-year post-candidacy Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition reduction (to $0) does not fall within the purview of this policy. Note also that withdrawals, leaves, and delayed progress toward completion of degree may have implications for visa status; international students are urged to consult with the Berkeley International Office (BIO) before modifying their degree progress.

To request parental accommodations, students should contact the GSAO.