Accessible Education Office (click to go to home page)

1350 Massachusetts Avenue
The Richard A. & Susan F. Smith Campus Center, Fourth Floor
Cambridge MA 02138
tel: 617-496-8707 - fax: 617-496-1098 - tty: 617-496-3720

Serving Harvard College and GSAS Students
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About our Services \ Info for Students \ Info for Faculty \ About our Office \ Sitemap spacer
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Info for Faculty
+ Exams
+ Instructional Oversight
+ Essential Components of Courses and Curriculum
+ Universal Design Access
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Harvard University is committed to providing students with documented disabilities access to the same programs and activities that are available to students without disabilities. Federal law defines a "Disability" as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits or restricts the condition, manner, or duration under which a person can perform a major life activity, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, or taking care of oneself. (An impairment or diagnosis, in and of itself, does not necessarily constitute a disability: it must "substantially limit" these activities. Disabilities do not necessarily impair the individual's performance but may require the individual to seek alternate methods of carrying out a given task.)

Many medical conditions and learning disabilities are not readily apparent and may not be diagnosed prior to the start of the academic year. Accommodations for seemingly similar disabilities can vary significantly.

Providing Harvard students with appropriate accommodations for disabilities calls for ongoing communication and collaborative effort on the part of teaching staff, Accessible Education Office (AEO), administrators, and of course, students themselves. Students who request accommodations should present instructors with an introductory letter from AEO giving an overview of the accommodations deemed appropriate.

For more information, please refer to Making Accommodations: The Legal World of Students with Disabilities, by Paul D. Grossman, published in Academe, the bimonthly magazine of the American Association of University Professors, November-December 2001, Volume 87, Number 6. Available at

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