Eligibility for Academic Accommodations

Updated: September 14, 2022

Eligible Students

Accommodations are available to eligible students who encounter medical and/or non-medical restrictions to their ability to perform the daily activities necessary to pursue studies at a post-secondary level. These restrictions may be due to physical or mental disability (i.e., medical protected grounds) or due to a variety of non-medical protected grounds.

The  University of Alberta’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Discrimination Policy obligates the University to make reasonable adjustments, to the point of undue hardship or as required by law, to the delivery of services (including teaching and the method of evaluation) in order to reduce or eliminate the impact of discriminatory rules, policies, practices, standards, terms of employment or decisions, which have an adverse impact on an individual or group of individuals based on a characteristic or perceived characteristic referenced in the protected grounds. 

Medical restrictions include any medical condition or impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication, or sensory impairment, or a functional limitation that restricts the ability of an individual to perform the daily activities necessary to pursue studies at a post-secondary level. Three types of medical restrictions are distinguished by the duration of the restriction: 

  • Permanent disability: a medical condition or impairment that is expected to remain with you for the rest of the individual’s lifetime.
  • Persistent/prolonged disability: any medical condition or impairment that has lasted, or is expected to last, for at least 12 months but is not expected to remain with you for the rest of the individual’s lifetime.
  • Temporary disability: any medical condition or impairment that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a period of less than 12 months.

Non-medical Restrictions include differential access or unfair treatment based on characteristics or perceived characteristics of an individual or group of individuals, including the following protected grounds identified the University of Alberta’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Duty to Accommodation Policy:

  • Age.
  • Ancestry.
  • Colour.
  • Family status.
  • Gender / gender expression / gender identity.
  • Marital status.
  • Place of origin.
  • Political belief.
  • Race.
  • Religious belief.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Source of income.
  • Any other groups as amended from time to time.
Interim Accommodations

We can assist students applying for accommodations based on permanent or persistent/prolonged disability who do not currently have appropriate documentation or are currently unable to provide recent documentation. If you wish to explore or register for accommodations but do not have appropriate documentation, you must commit to the processes required to obtain appropriate documentation as outlined by an advisor (e.g., completing assessments, attending appointments, requesting and collecting documentation). 

You may be eligible for interim accommodations for up to one academic term and/or during the process of obtaining appropriate documentation, but will be required to submit appropriate documentation to receive accommodations beyond this time frame. If documentation is not provided, or the results of assessments indicate that no disability can be established, you are no longer eligible to access accommodations and will be referred to other university services for support.

Citizenship Status
All eligible students may apply for academic accommodations, including students who are permanent residents, are on study permits, or are refugees.

Ineligible Students

The following circumstances are ineligible for accommodations. Students in these circumstances will be referred to other student services.

If students’ circumstances change, they may be eligible for accommodations. In such cases, please email arrec@ualberta.ca for assistance.

English as an additional or second language
  • Students experiencing academic challenges associated with English as an additional or second language are not eligible for accommodations.
  • For students with additional or second language learning challenges, developing strong academic skills is especially important. Contact the Academic Success Centre about available workshops or to book an appointment with a specialist who will help you address your concerns.
  • International Student Services has a wide range of services, including language learning programs.
General academic difficulties
  • Students experiencing academic difficulties not related to medical or non-medical protected grounds are not eligible for accommodations.
  • Academic Success Centre appointments and workshops can help students to develop academic learning, writing, and communication skills and to address their academic concerns. Staff can help you adapt your studying, paper writing, exam, and other academic skills to different learning contexts.
Self-diagnosed conditions
  • Students who have self-diagnosed physical or mental health conditions are not eligible for disability-related academic accommodations.
  • If you think you have a physical or mental health condition with which you need assistance, there are many health and wellness services available for University of Alberta students.
Acute Illnesses and Injuries

Students with acute illnesses and injuries that restrict their ability to perform the daily activities necessary to pursue studies at a post-secondary level for short periods of time may be eligible for excused absences, deferrals, or other permitted leaves of absence from or modifications to academic assessments and other program requirements. To explore these options,

If the restrictions caused by your acute illness or injury persist or require more assistance and/or assistance for longer than your instructor(s)/program/Faculty is able to provide with standard excused absences, deferrals, and academic modifications, you may be eligible for accommodations based on temporary disability. Review our accommodation application processes, eligibility, and required documentation. 

If you have questions or require assistance, please email arrec@ualberta.ca.