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School of Psychology Disability Policy

The School recognises the diversity of students who wish to study psychology and encourages individuals with a disability to study at Queen’s, endeavouring to provide support tailored to the individual needs of each student.

In order to help the School accommodate reasonable adjustments, any student with a disability should first register with the University’s Disability Services. Without registering with Disability Services, the University may not be able to guarantee support arrangements being put in place. Disability Services are professionally qualified to assess the needs and requirements of the student and then to convey these to the School via a memorandum. Once the School has this memorandum then it responds by providing the necessary and appropriate support.

The School has a School Disability Adviser, Dr Will Curran (w.curran@qub.ac.uk) who will provide support to all psychology students registered with Disability Services, and will coordinate the School’s provision for these students. The School will aim to provide individuals with learning opportunities that accommodate their disability and re-affirms its intent to deliver its programmes in a way that is accessible to all students, while maintaining the integrity of our degrees and fairness to all our students.

In practical terms, additional support provided by the School normally centres around five main areas. Included below is a brief outline of how the School usually deals with these matters.

Physical Access

In cases of physical disability where access to the building or individual rooms is a problem please ensure that Disability Services, as well as the School’s Disability Advisor, is aware of your needs and special requirements. Resolution of these problems may be beyond the scope of the School and may need to be resolved by the University’s Estates Department. Also, while the School will have been made aware of any adjustments regarding examination procedures, with the exception of class tests, responsibility for making any necessary arrangements will involve liaison between Disability Services and the University’s examination office (e.g., alternative venue).

Provision of material in alternative formats, e.g., for lectures, laboratories

This may include making copies of overheads, agreeing to the recording of lectures, facilitating access for a scribe, etc. These needs will have been identified following your assessment by Disability Services. Relevant materials will be available in the School Office for collection just before the lecture or class. These materials will be the same as other students receive in or after the lecture, in the appropriate format as indicated by your disability assessment.

Flexibility with deadlines & accounting for relevant disabilities in coursework

Your needs assessment may request that the School is flexible with deadlines for coursework. The School endeavours to space its coursework deadlines evenly throughout the term and hence a delay in submitting one piece of work may have a knock-on effect throughout the year.

In cases where flexibility with deadlines is part of your needs assessment, the following will apply:

You can have a period of extension up to two weeks, without penalty and without submitting an X-form re extenuating circumstances.

If an additional extension beyond two weeks is required, due to an acute or irregular incapacity, then this must be agreed with your Advisor of Studies.

If an extension beyond two weeks is granted, then the alternative coursework for that module must be submitted, as the original coursework will have been returned with feedback to other students in the class.

All extensions beyond two weeks must be accompanied by X-forms and submitted to the General Office in the usual way.

We will take account of any relevant disability that could affect your written work. However it is essential that this is clearly marked on the front of any essay or report. Work may be marked blind, i.e., the marker has no idea of the identity of the student submitting the work and hence it is important that your work is clearly marked and tallies with your needs assessment. Forms are available from the General Office. It should be noted that considerations for disability are usually applied once. For example, if extra time is given for coursework to be submitted, then the work is expected to be the same standard as that submitted by other students and additional compensation will not be given.

Missed attendance at laboratories and tutorials

It is assumed that students attend all classes. For some elements of the course there are compulsory attendance levels, e.g., labs at 80%. While some periods of absence can be made up, if you are absent for a protracted period then it may not be possible to make it up sufficiently for you to do yourself justice in course assessment, or, to have gained sufficient experience of the course materials. In such cases the School advises that you take ‘leave of absence (LOA)’. In these circumstances, if you decide to continue your studies you may be penalised for non-attendance in the usual way. It is essential that you discuss the situation with your Advisor of Studies as soon as possible to enable the School to offer the best advice.

Alternative assessment arrangements for exams

The School’s assessment strategy is based on a combination of both coursework and written exams, and we feel that both are necessary for us to evaluate your performance appropriately. Within the necessary constraints of this strategy we will facilitate individual circumstances relating to exams as indicated in your needs assessment. This may include extra time, a scribe, dictation of answers, a different venue, etc. In cases where alternative assessment arrangements have been made the School may also require an oral examination or viva with the internal and/or external examiners as part of the assessment process. In these ways the School will try to respond flexibly to the individual circumstances of students, while ensuring the integrity of the degree and assessment procedures, and the equitable treatment of other students.

If you cannot sit an exam, you must submit a valid medical certificate to the General Office in the usual way. Please note that an X-form is NOT required for a missed examination.

Key to successful progression through your studies is initially registering and undertaking a needs assessment with Disability Services. This provides the information we need to address your disability. It is also essential you discuss your circumstances with the School and importantly keep us informed of any changes in your circumstances. The School’s web site provides additional information for your studies.

The Psychology Degree

The School offers an accredited degree programme which requires all the following components to be completed at some point: written work, group work, individual work, oral presentations, exams, coursework and participation in relevant tutorial discussions and laboratory activities.

While the School will make reasonable adjustments to deal with any disability, it is important to preserve the integrity of the degree programme. If, by reason of your disability, you are unable to complete a component of the programme, and it is impossible to provide an alternative that adequately meets the educational requirements of that component, then you may be required to take Leave of Absence (LOA) until such time as you are able to undertake the work.

(Updated April 2012)