The University can provide support if your studies are significantly affected by ongoing circumstances such as a disability, a health condition or an official commitment.
The University's Special Consideration policy provides a framework for study support services relating to ongoing support or unexpected circumstances.
- Special Consideration (unexpected circumstances) is available if you are affected by unexpected circumstances, such as sudden illness, accident or bereavement, and where the duration of impact on your studies is not ongoing. You have the right to apply at any point during the course of your studies.
- Special Consideration (ongoing support) is available via a registration and interview process if you require long-term, ongoing support and adjustments due to a disability; a chronic or permanent health condition; sporting, performance or service commitments; or religious and cultural practices. Ongoing support services are offered free of charge on a case-by-case basis.
We may be able to offer Special Consideration (ongoing support) in the following circumstances:
Disability, medical & mental health support
Disability refers to a physical, mental or medical condition or circumstance that requires ongoing support or study adjustments. This includes conditions that currently exist, previously existed or may exist in the future.
The University of Melbourne recognises disability in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth).
Disability, in relation to a person, means:
- total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions;or
- total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
- the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or
- the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or
- the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body; or
- a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or
- a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour;
- presently exists; or
- previously existed but no longer exists; or
- may exist in the future (including because of a genetic predisposition to that disability); or
- is imputed to a person.
and includes a disability that:
A carer is someone who provides significant care to another person with a disability, a mental illness, an ongoing medical condition or an older person with care needs.
In accordance with the Carers Recognition Act 2012 (Vic), the University can make adjustments to support you if you have significant carer responsibilities.
Elite athletes must be associated with one of the following organisations:
- Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) or state institutes/academies of sport
- AFL Players’ Association
- Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA)
- Rugby League Professionals’ Association (RLPA)
- Professional Footballers’ Australia (PFA)
- Australian Cricketers’ Association
- Australian Sports Commission (ASC) supported sports (state or national squad/league members).
Before registering for ongoing support, you must apply for the Elite Athlete Program through Melbourne University Sport for Elite Athlete Recognition.
Elite Athlete Program
Elite performers must be performing artists with one of the following organisations:
- Defence Reservist
- Emergency volunteer
Cultural or religious observance
You are entitled to register for ongoing support for official religious or cultural observance. Support may be provided upon negotiation with the University. Examples include:
- Official religious observance such as prayer, fasting or religious holidays.
- Official cultural observance such as memorials, holidays or practices related to a specific culture or cultural tradition.
Services we provide
Study adjustments are changes to how subjects are taught and assessed. They are sometimes referred to as 'reasonable adjustments' or 'equitable adjustments'. The University can make adjustments to your studies to offset any disadvantage you might face without those changes.
Adjustments are made on a case-by-case basis, and may include:
- Alternative Exam Arrangements (AEA)
- academic support worker assistance
- equipment loans
- assistive technology
- accessible formatting
- extensions to assignments
- flexibility in attendance requirements
- accessible teaching spaces and ergonomic furniture.
Requesting a study adjustment
It's important to remember that adjustments are not automatic or granted to you on request. You are welcome to register for ongoing support and recommend adjustments to the University, but these must be negotiated case-by-case with our support team. In assessing whether a particular adjustment is reasonable, the University considers:
- your disability or circumstances
- the benefit of the adjustment on your ability to achieve learning outcomes and participate in courses or programs
- the impact of the adjustment on the University, staff and other students.
Privacy and sharing
It is not necessary to discuss your condition or circumstances with the University unless you require study adjustments or ongoing support services, or if there is an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) risk.
In order to register for ongoing support, you will need to share details about your circumstances with your Student Equity Adviser. This is so we can fully understand your requirements and ensure that we are providing you with the support you need. Any personal information that you share with us is strictly confidential and subject to relevant privacy laws.
As a tertiary student, you have significant responsibility when it comes to organising support for your studies. You are expected to play an active role in managing your needs.
If you are registered for ongoing support, you are expected to:
- provide relevant, up-to-date documents from a health professional (e.g. doctor, psychologist)
- inform academic staff members of your needs by providing a copy of your Academic Adjustment Plan (AAP) in a timely manner and apply for Special Consideration in a timely manner
- ensure that your Alternative Exam Arrangements (AEAs) and AAP are up-to-date
- organise any AEAs well ahead of the exam period (approximately six weeks prior)
- contact academic staff for extension requests before the assessment due date
- regularly monitor your student email account / student portal for information and announcements
- advise your faculty early (at least two weeks prior) if you require AEAs for mid-semester assessment (these are arranged by faculties).
You must still be able to demonstrate that you meet the inherent requirements of a course in order to pass your subjects, even with study adjustments in place. If you have questions or concerns regarding student responsibilities, please contact us directly.
Referral and other services
There are times when we may need to refer you to other support services. In these cases, we endeavour to provide helpful advice and to direct you to agencies that support your needs.
- Counselling and Psychological Services
- University Health Service
- Financial aid – Students with a disability
- Access Melbourne scholarships
Registration for Special Consideration (ongoing support) is completely voluntary. You can register at any time during your studies, however we recommend registering before you commence to allow timely access to support services.