Lifting the Barriers on Disability

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McMaster University

Are you looking for a student experience in a community that blends cosmopolitan with a little bit of rustic charm? Welcome to heart of Ontario and the economic engine of Canada; welcome to Hamilton and south central Ontario. McMaster University has called Hamilton home for more than 83 of its 127 year history. (source)


Student Accessibility Services

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) supports students who have been diagnosed with a disability or disorder, such as a learning disability, ADHD, mental health diagnosis, chronic medical condition, sensory, neurological or mobility limitation. SAS assists with academic and disability-related needs. (source)


Academic Resources

Student Accessibility Services offers various supports for students with disabilities. We work with full-time and part-time students, as well as prospective students. Student Accessibility Services is offered to students with disabilities to assist with academic and disability-related needs, providing a number of supports, including:

Program Coordinator

Program Coordinators guide students' progress as it relates to their disability. Program Coordinators work together with students and faculty to determine the most appropriate accommodations that will best meet their needs. Considerations include disability, program, level, personal experience, and skills. Students should communicate accessibility issues to their professor, or consult their Program Coordinator to discuss disability-related issues confidentially.

Learning Strategist

Our Learning Strategist is a knowledgeable professional who will work with students to help make the most of their McMaster academic experience. Students can consult their SAS Program Coordinator to book an appointment with the Learning Strategist.

Students entering Learning Strategist support via SWC Academic Skills Counselling will be referred back to an SAS Program Coordinator to ensure that a full range of support is explored.

The learning strategist provides one-on-one support related to:

  • Writing skills
  • The writing process & structure of essays
  • Study strategies & techniques
  • Time management & organizational skills
  • Technology to support learning
  • Motivation

Assistive Technologist

SAS provides assistive technology information support to assist students with:

  • Access to up-to-date technologies, assessment, and training to assist students with their learning needs
  • Accessing campus technologies
  • Understanding web accessibility
  • Appropriate SAS and bursary technology recommendations
  • Prospective vendors for the purchase of appropriate technology

Students can book an appointment with an Assistive Technologist by consulting their SAS Program Coordinator.

Academic Accommodations

SAS offers students who may require accommodations assistance with their learning needs. Students must meet each term with their Program Coordinator to review academic accommodations, and ensure that they are up to date. To arrange academic accommodations, contact SAS to make an appointment.

Test and Exam Administration

SAS offers assistance in the administration of in-class tests and exams. Students and their Program Coordinators will review test and exam procedures at the start of each term. Sufficient notice must be given to arrange the date, time, location, and accommodations for test and exam bookings.

For more information, to book a test, or review your existing test bookings, visit SAS.

Note-taking Program

Some students may need assistance with access to lecture notes. SAS offers support to assist students with the acquisition of lecture notes. The need for assistance with note-taking is assessed in consultation with Program Coordinators at the beginning of each academic year, or term. Students may also volunteer to be notetakers for other students.

SAS Lounge and Events

Throughout the school year, there is an SAS Lounge in the Student Centre where students can drop in and meet with a Disability Counsellor or a Learning Strategist and meet other students to talk, play games or ask quick questions. There are also special events throughout the year. Visit the Transition Program for more details.

Non-Academic Resources

Special Accommodation Request

  • If you have a medical, dietary, disability, religious or gender identity request that may necessitate special accommodation, you MUST indicate this on your RESIDENCE APPLICATION (i.e., answer 'YES' to the question "Do you require special accommodation").
  • Please note your special accommodation form will be used in the residence allocation process if you are guaranteed residence or if you received an offer of residence from the waiting list.
  • Special Accommodation forms and documentation submitted becomes property of Residence Admissions and will not be returned or released to the student.
  • Please download and print the Special Accommodation Request form. Carefully read the instructions, then complete and submit the form.
  • Although we try to accommodate a student's specific needs, we CANNOT guarantee special accommodation room type requests. Incomplete or late requests will not be considered after the deadline;
    • Upper year students - April 10, 2015 at 4 pm
    • First year students - June 5, 2015 at 4 pm
    • Exchange and Transfer students - June 19, 2015 at 4 pm
    • January (2016) Admission - October 30, 2015 at 4 pm

Contact Residence Admissions:
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 905-525-9140 Ext 24342


Welcome to Student Accessibility Services. The first step in receiving services is to meet with us to determine your academic needs. During this meeting a Program Coordinator will explain our policies and procedures and ask questions to assess how your disability affects your academic work. Reviewing and completing the following information will help to prepare you for your first appointment and allow us to better serve you.

  1. Contact SAS at (905) 525-9140 ext. 28652 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange for an appointment. Please bring current documentation which explains your diagnosis. If you do not have current documentation (within 5 years), discuss this with your Program Coordinator at the first meeting. Explore our Registration Guide for further information on documentation requirements under Publications.
  2. The following link is to a form useful in clarifying your academic accommodation needs. Please return to this page when finished. Download the Self-Assessment (PDF). Please complete and bring this self-assessment tool to your first meeting. It will help you to think about the impact of your disability on your academic life and will aid in our discussion of your accommodation needs.
  3. You and your Coordinator will work out an accommodation plan together. Specific supports will be offered and, if required, academic accommodations put in place. You are responsible for informing others of your accommodation needs. No person outside of the SAS office (including your Faculty office and your Instructors) will know that you have been granted academic accommodations unless you tell them. This is for reasons of confidentiality and self-determination.To access your accommodations, you will have three tasks to complete each term:
    1. If you require accommodations for a course, you must provide the Instructor with an accommodation letter available for download on our website. Please review the following information, returning to this page when finished: Accommodation Letters
    2. If you require accommodations for midterm tests you will need to arrange for these accommodations. Ask your Instructors whether they make their own arrangements to provide students with test accommodations. If they do not, book your test with the SAS Tests and Exams Centre at least two weeks before the test date. Please review the following information on a separate tab returning to this page when finished. Visit Booking Tests
    3. Final exams will be arranged for you by the Registrar's Office. Prior to each exam period, emails outlining procedures will be mailed to your McMaster email account. For further information please visit: Booking Final Examinations
  4. Once each session (September – April, and May – August) you are required to meet with your Coordinator to review your health/disability status and accommodations. If you take a summer course, an appointment is required after May 1st. Of course you can make an appointment any time that you need accommodation or disability-related assistance; however, one visit per session is required to maintain access to your accommodations.

Additional Information

Transition Program

What is Shifting Gears?

  • A transition program for students entering McMaster University with a disability.
  • A series of summer workshops preparing you for 'the shift' to university expectations.
  • An introduction to services and campus resources available for students who require academic accommodations.
  • The opportunity to be matched with a Student Ally who can offer guidance and help you build your university routine.
  • Access to a study skills website on Avenue to Learn.
  • Assistance with the academic accommodation process.

Student Ally Program

Shifting Gears Transition Program has a Student Ally Program. Do you wish you had someone who could answer the little questions? Someone who actually knows what it's like to be a student at Mac right now? This program can match you with an upper year student who has had a year or two to get comfortable living and working in a University setting. They can answer your questions and give you support throughout the school year, helping you smoothly adjust to University life. To apply for an Ally, speak to your Program Coordinator at SAS.


Academic Accommodations at McMaster
June 23, 2015 from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
June 25, 2015 from 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Learn about the academic accommodation process at McMaster, including documentation requirements and the role of the IEP. Learn about specific financial and academic resources available for students diagnosed with a disability. The services available through Student Accessibility Services will be highlighted.

Driving School: Essential Skills for Success

August 25, 2015 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
August 26, 2015 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Learn skills essential to success in university, including time management skills, McMaster website navigation, and resource locations. Topics will also include academic accommodations, course timetables, the role of the Faculty Advisor, and financial resources specific to students registered with SAS services.

Tune-up, Tune-in: The Lecture Experience

August 25, 2015 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
August 27, 2015 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Learn and practice note-taking skills during real lectures! Professors from various subject areas will provide a short lecture during this workshop. Note-taking skills will be discussed and software specific to note-taking will be demonstrated.

Information Highway: Library Use in the Fast Lane

August 26, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
August 27, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Library skills are essential; learn how to find and access required sources. The services available through Library Accessibility Services and assistive software within the libraries will be highlighted.

Register for Shifting Gears transition workshops

Orientation Sessions:

Throughout the summer months, Accommodation Orientation sessions are held weekly. After meeting with a Program Coordinator and determining your accommodations, sign up for an Orientation Session. You will receive individualized guidance on MOSAIC, course timetables, the accommodation process, services and supports. Round out the session with a tour of our testing centres and the general campus.

Study Skills Assistance:

You can visit with our Learning Strategist as often as you wish. Also, check out Learn2Learn listed as a course on your Avenue to Learn McMaster web page. This web based guide can offer academic study tips including note taking, study skills and time management.


For more information, please contact us at 905-525-9140 ext. 26402, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
New: We now offer skype as a way for text-based communication (during office hours only). Our skype username is sas.mcmaster.