Support for disabled students

Find out more about how we can support disabled students.

Who we support

UWE Bristol’s Disability Service provides advice and support to prospective and current students.

We know that not everyone who accesses our services thinks of themselves as disabled, but we use the term because it is used in the Equality Act. In the Equality Act, a disability means a physical or a mental condition which has a substantial and long-term impact on your ability to do normal day-to-day activities.

You are covered by the Equality Act if you have a progressive condition such as HIV, cancer or multiple sclerosis, even if you are currently able to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

We support students with a range of conditions, including:

  • specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia
  • autistic spectrum condition
  • hearing impairment
  • visual impairment
  • mental health conditions
  • mobility impairment
  • long-term health conditions such as epilepsy or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Submit your medical evidence

The University encourages all applicants and students to disclose any disability and support needs they might have. Without this information, we would be unable to offer you the appropriate information, guidance and support to enable you to access your studies.

In order to provide you with support and adjustments to your studies, you will need to submit appropriate evidence for your disability or medical condition to It is fine to send it in well before you start so that we can get your reasonable adjustments in place and advise you further. Appropriate medical evidence required is outlined below.

Impairment, mental health condition or medical condition

A GP/consultant letter is appropriate evidence. How recent your evidence needs to be will depend on your impairment or medical condition. Please send any evidence you have and we will advise if you need to provide something different or more up to date.

Your evidence should contain:

  • confirmation that you have an impairment or mental health condition that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on your ability to carry out normal daily activities
  • the length of time the condition or impairment has been present and whether it is likely to last for a long time
  • effects on study that are observed or predicted at this time such as any mobility issues, sleep disturbance resulting in fatigue, concentration problems, lack of motivation, difficulties with taking notes etc.

Covering the cost

All applicants and students are required to meet the costs of any reports or letters.

Specific Learning Difficulty (including dyslexia)

Please send a copy of your evidence to

A diagnostic assessment is appropriate evidence.

It should:

  • show confirmation that you have a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) eg dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, ADD or ADHD
  • state that the report meets the ‘SpLD Working Group 2005/DfES Guidelines for Assessment of SpLDs in Higher Education’
  • show that the assessment was provided by a psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher.

Covering the cost

UWE Bristol provides diagnostic assessments and students are responsible for paying the full amount. However, there is a diagnostic fund available that may reduce the full amount for current UWE Bristol students. To book or enquire about prices, please email or view other ways to contact us.

Find out more about SpLD diagnosis.


If you are eligible, Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are provided by your funding body. Depending on your needs, DSAs funding may cover such things as study skills tuition, mentoring, assistive technology (equipment and software) etc. We strongly recommend that you apply for DSAs if you are eligible.

Please apply at least three months before you start our course so that you can get everything in place for when you start. You can apply for DSAs at any time during your course.

DSA is non-means tested and you don’t need to pay it back. It is available alongside any other funding you may receive.

Find out more about DSAs

Once your funding body confirms you are eligible for support, a trained assessor will carry out an assessment of needs to establish what support and equipment you need. This assessment can be booked through Access West of England which is based on Frenchay Campus.

If you are not eligible for funding from your funding body and/or you are an international student, UWE Bristol may be able to help you with study support. For more information contact Disability Service.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to help reduce the effect of an impairment or medical condition that places you at a substantial disadvantage in your learning, teaching or assessment situation. For example, adjustments to assessments such as extra time, use of a computer or alternative assessment.

Find out how to request adjustments

See how to write an impact statement which can provide more information to your teaching team about the impact of your impairment.

"What I enjoy most about UWE Bristol is the positive and supportive atmosphere created by everyone, from the disability advisers to the academic staff. This makes me feel included and welcome."

Elina, BSc(Hons) Psychology
Read Elina's story

Elina BSc(Hons) Psychology

Elina has overcome a variety of obstacles to pass her exams with flying colours while achieving a Grade 5 in practical musicianship.

Elina was always fascinated about the human mind and passionate about finding out how others solve problems. So a degree course in Psychology seemed the logical thing to do. Despite being disabled – she was born blind – and other challenging situations, Elina has excelled herself. Parallel to studying for her degree, Elina pursued her love for music and wants to use this combination in a career in music therapy.

Elina’s future plans include, “a counselling or research doctorate and to pass knowledge and understanding as well as peaceful thinking to as many people as possible.”

Study support

The support and equipment you will receive at the University is normally decided through your Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) Study Needs Assessment. Depending on your support needs, the following may be applicable to you:

You should also look at the range of university study skills support as well as Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) sessions.

Emergency evacuation

While on University premises, you must be able to leave buildings safely in the event of a fire or other emergency.

If you cannot evacuate yourself in an emergency situation and need help to make a safe exit, or if you want to know how your evacuation would work, please contact your Programme Leader. They can set up a personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) with you that is tailored to your needs.

If you require a vibrating fire alarm, please contact the Disability Service.


Find out about accommodation for students with additional needs in our guidance for applicants and future students. If you need adaptations or other adjustments to your UWE Bristol accommodation, please let Accommodation Services know as soon as possible.

Transfer your healthcare or personal support

If you have assistance to support your independent living at home, or think you may need this type of support when you move to university, please contact your local authority's Social Services department well in advance of starting your course. Remember that you'll need to transfer any health services that you currently use or request a social care assessment if you think you may require support when living away from home.

If you are accessing support from NHS mental health services, we would recommend that you talk to your care coordinator or consultant about referral to local NHS services if they feel that you need to continue receiving support while at university. We would recommend that these referrals/transfers of care take place before you arrive at university to make sure that you avoid a gap in support. We would also recommend that you register with a local GP as soon as you arrive.

If you are accessing support from an external provider such Guide Dogs for the Blind, or RNIB sighted guide support, UWE Bristol can work with you to integrate this support.

Please note: The Disabled Students’ Allowances do not fund support that is directly medical or personal-care related. This continues to be provided by health or social services departments.

Parking and campus accessibility

All campuses also have wide, disabled bays and the University operates an accessible parking permit scheme. To find out more about accessible parking and to obtain car parking permits, please visit the car parking pages.

Frenchay Campus has many accessible features, including lifts to different levels, automatic doors and clearly marked accessible routes. Other UWE Bristol campuses are also accessible; however, due to the age of the buildings, there may be some minor navigational issues.

We encourage you to visit the campus where your course will be based, as this should help you judge whether you will need some orientation support or further adjustments such as to timetabling.

Useful resources

You may also find the following websites helpful:

There is also information about what else you might want to consider on the AdvanceHE website.