Support for students with disabilities

If you are a student with a disability, your success is important to UC.


Te Ratonga Whaikaha|Student Accessibility Service

UC can help you with the unique challenges you face and we are here to support you in reaching your goals. Your disability does not have to be a barrier to your success.

By partnering with you, Te Ratonga Whaikaha|Student Accessibility Service can make sure you have equal access to all that UC offers. Whatever your disability – UC is here to help you.


Alternative formatting of study material

If you have a print disability, the Alternative Format Centre can convert written information into accessible formats, for example:

  • Visual information, eg graphs, diagrams and pictorial illustrations, can be converted into tactile format with captions in Braille and English where necessary
  • Recorded audio files are transcribed into digital text/print
  • Enlarged photocopying in colour or black
  • Scanning of printed/visual information

There are also resource rooms with conversion software and equipment, for example:

  • JAWS screen reader
  • MAGic screen magnifier
  • Open-Book Optical Character Recognition
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking Speech Recognition
  • CCTV scanner
  • Microtek scanner

To access alternative formatting services, you need to register with .

Help with study tasks

 employ casual staff (usually post-graduate students) who can assist you with various study related tasks, for example:

  • Taking notes during group teaching sessions on an electronic device, word processor or laptop
  • Helping you to carrying out practical laboratory work
  • Helping you to carry out tasks in a fieldwork setting that cannot be managed independently
  • Helping you to access library material for course related purposes
  • Helping you to undertake research as part of your thesis/dissertation

Building accessibility

Although the University of Canterbury campus is mainly flat, there are some accessibility issues that may impair you from getting around. A map of accessible entrances, parking spaces and other supports are available on UC campus maps.

Improving building accessibility is an ongoing process and we invite feedback so we can improve access as resources allow. Some of the ways we are improving building accessibility are by installing door openers in some buildings. These will continue to be installed when funding is available. Additionally, the libraries have wheelchair accessible lifts or ground floor access. 

Get in touch with Building Wardens if you have a mobility difficulty and are a regular user of a particular building. Building Wardens are identified on a notice at the main entrance to every building. Let them know the times that you expect to be in that building in case of emergency evacuation needs.

Exam and test arrangements

If you have a disability that will significantly affect your performance in timed assessments, you can apply for special arrangements. Types of special arrangements that may be provided include:

  • Extra time
  • Writer
  • Reader/writer
  • Ergonomic furniture
  • Use of computer
  • Separate rooms

It is your responsibility to confirm any special arrangements required with the Administrator of the Department concerned no later than one working week before the day of the test (or other assessment). If you contact the Department after this time, there is no guarantee that a special arrangement will be made.

Fixed height adjustable desks

Fixed, height-adjustable desks for students who use wheelchairs have been installed in the following lecture theatres:

  • Central Lecture Theatre building: C1 - C3
  • Arts (North) Lecture Theatre building: A1 - A3
  • Arts (South) Lecture Theatre building: A4 - A6
  • Ernest Rutherford 412
  • Ernest Rutherford 419

Hearing Assistance devices

Hearing Assistance Devices are available for people with hearing impairments. They are available in Central Lecture Theatres (C1-3), North Arts (A1-3) and K1 lecture theatre.


If you have a disability, there are two scholarships provided in partnership with Te Ratonga Whaikaha|Student Accessibility Service that you may be eligible for:

Social support and community groups

There is a wide range of disability agencies and organisations in Christchurch. You can find more information through: