Disabled postgraduate researchers

The University is experienced in supporting disabled Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs). Disabled Students Assessment and Support (DSAS), the individual PGR and their academic School work together to remove any barriers a student may face in their studies; including putting in place reasonable adjustments to the transfer and viva process.

DSAS can also provide advice and guidance to schools on inclusive practice.

DISABLED STUDENTS’ ALLOWANCES (DSAs)

PGRs can apply to their Research Council or other funding body for DSAs. They may receive equipment or non-medical help through DSAs. Research Council UK DSAs or postgraduate DSAs from other funding bodies may differ from funding or support available at undergraduate level.

PGRs can contact DSAS or RCUK for more information on the support available.

DISCLOSING DISABILITY

PGRs are encouraged to disclose to ensure they receive the support and reasonable adjustments they may need. PGRs can choose to speak to DSAS in confidence. If a PGR undertook their undergraduate study at Leeds, DSAS may have information on file, but they will not know if they returned to undertake postgraduate study unless they disclose on their application form, or at registration, or they are informed separately.

REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS

Reasonable adjustments can be made to the transfer viva/oral examination so that disabled PGRs are not disadvantaged by the process. The same academic standards for the transfer /award of the particular research degree must be upheld. Academic schools are legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments.

THE TRANSFER AND VIVA PROCESS

Reasonable Adjustments are arranged on a case-by-case basis; in consultation with Disabled Students Assessment and Support (DSAS), the individual PGR and their academic School.

Reasonable adjustments may include, for example:

  • rest breaks

  • provision of materials in alternative formats

  • adjustments to the room and furniture e.g. light, seating or space

  • examiner briefing

  • opportunities to present at the beginning or end

  • the use of a British Sign Language interpreter

  • non-medical helper support

Further examples of reasonable adjustments to the viva process, and best practice in making an accessible viva, can be found on the Vitae website