The GSD strives to provide all of its students with an inclusive environment where they can learn and thrive. The Office of Student Affairs supports students with disabilities by identifying barriers to learning, and implementing accommodations for a more equitable experience at our school.


Below are some of the most commonly asked questions we receive. If you cannot find an answer to your question, please contact [email protected].

Will the GSD keep my disability confidential?

Harvard GSD works to maintain privacy; however, information may be shared internally for legitimate need to know reasons and to coordinate support and accommodations.

How does the university determine what accommodation I will receive?

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (as amended in 2008) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Harvard strives to provide students with support and services conducive to a welcoming and accessible learning environment.

Harvard University makes changes to, alters, or modifies its policies, practices and/or procedures, when necessary for students to have an equal opportunity to participate in its programs and activities. These changes are commonly referred to as “reasonable accommodations.” Examples of reasonable accommodations for students include but are not limited to sign language interpreters; notetakers; materials in alternative formats (such as braille, different font size or digital format); and extension of time to complete coursework and/or a degree.

While Harvard considers a student’s preference when assessing requests for necessary reasonable accommodations, at times Harvard may offer an alternative accommodation, so long as the alternative is effective.

An accommodation is not reasonable if it would: lower or substantially modify academic requirements (e.g. a request to change the content of an exam, or a request to be exempt from assigned work); impose an undue administrative burden (e.g. reminders of deadlines); be provided for personal use or study (e.g. hearing aids, personal care attendants, or tutor or coaches); or require a fundamental alteration of the nature of Harvard’s programs or activities. If a requested accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of a Harvard program or activity, other accommodations will be considered to permit participation in the program or activity to the maximum extent possible.

What should I do if I don't agree with my approved accommodation?

If you disagree with the approved accommodation, promptly provide a written statement of your concern, with recent clinical documentation, to the Director of Student Affairs. All grievances must be filed within 30 days of the alleged act of discrimination.

If the Office of Student Affairs cannot resolve the grievance independently and promptly, they will convene a committee to review the matter. The committee will be comprised of the Registrar, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and, as a nonvoting member, the Director of Student Affairs.

The committee may contact the Assistant Director of Student Support and Services, the instructor, program managers, or other appropriate personnel to discuss the requested accommodations, as needed. The committee may also request additional supporting documentation or an independent medical evaluation on the request for accommodation.

In cases where timeliness of an accommodation is important, every reasonable effort is made to complete each stage of the process within 10 working days, unless the circumstances require a more rapid response. In some situations, we may provide the requested accommodation on a provisional basis, without obligation to continue the accommodation if it is found to be unreasonable or inappropriate.

If you are dissatisfied with a decision of the committee, you may appeal in writing to University Disability Resources, by e-mail at [email protected]. Call (617) 495-1859 or (617) 495-4801 (TDD) if you have any questions.

Read about the University grievance process for more information. In most circumstances, the University disability coordinator will not overturn the decision of the committee unless presented with new information or other grounds that warrant a different outcome.

Can my accommodations be used on Option Studio trips?

If you are a student with a disability requesting accommodations for a studio trip domestic or abroad, please contact the Assistant Director of Student Support and Services, at [email protected] or 617-496-8306, to discuss accommodations.


If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment to discuss accommodations, please contact the Accessibility Services team. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm ET.