Students with disabilities

Students at Downing are admitted on our assessment of their academic potential to do well in the course they wish to study. We are happy to discuss with you the sort of support that you may require at any time.

It is, however, sensible to get in touch with us at an early stage to discuss the help you need and to consider the facilities that we can offer.


We have seven en-suite rooms adapted for students with disabilities. Five rooms are suitable for wheelchair users, and two rooms have been adapted for students with hearing impairments. In addition the majority of our rooms can be adapted for students with hearing impairments and we have hearing loops installed in the Library, Porters’ Lodge, administration offices and all large halls and theatres. Clear Braille signage is widespread throughout the College.

Useful links

The following links may prove useful:

Disability Resource Centre
The University’s Disability Resource Centre can provide excellent support and advice and we would encourage you to contact them before you send in your formal application. Specialist advice on dyslexia is also available from the Disability Resource Centre.

Disability Access Guide
A guide to access facilities around the University.

Downing's entry in the University Access Guide.

Access Maps
The University has created maps of three of the largest sites showing access facilties for disabled staff, students and visitors.

Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities
Skill promotes equality in education, training and employment for disabled people.

UCAS: Students with disabilities
How to apply for support and how universities can help.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME: CUSU/GU arrange support/social groups running through the year from 1-2pm on Wednesdays in the Graduate Union

The Cambridge Admissions Office and the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) have jointly produced a series of films featuring disabled students.  The series is designed to raise awareness about disclosure, the application process, and support available for disabled students at Cambridge.

Meet Disabled Students:
Cambridge students come from a wide range of backgrounds and from all over the UK (and beyond) - watch this film to meet some disabled students studying at Cambridge.

Disabled Student Applications
The process of applying to Cambridge starts a bit earlier than for some other universities, and there are a few extra steps, but it isn't complicated, and you shouldn't let this put you off applying. There is also additional support available for disabled students.  Watch this film to find the answers to commonly asked questions about choosing a College, disclosure, the Extenuating Circumstances Form, support at interviews, Disabled Students’ Allowances and other financial support, including a fund for international students.

Supporting Disabled Students:
There is a range of support available for disabled students (including students with Specific Learning Difficulties and/or chronic medical condition) at the University of Cambridge. Watch this film to find out more about Disabled Students’ Allowances, other financial support available for disabled students, including international students, the Needs Assessment process, equipment and assistive technology, human support, and examination access arrangements.

Alison's Experience (produced in collaboration with the DRC’s Asperger Syndrome Student Project): 
Alison is studying Natural Sciences. In this film, she talks about the things she loves about studying at Cambridge, her diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, the support she has received, and choosing her College.

Jono, History - 60 Second Impressions:
The '60 Second Impressions' are a series of one-minute films featuring current Cambridge undergraduate students. These students talk about what it's really like to study at Cambridge, live in a College, and take part in a wide range of extra-curricular activities. Jono is in his final year at Cambridge studying History. In his 60 Second Impression, he talks about the academic support he has received from various members of staff, meeting other students and his passion for his subject.

Sophie, Natural Sciences - 60 Second Impressions:
Sophie is studying Natural Sciences. In her 60 Second Impression, she talks about the things she loves about being a student at Cambridge, her visual impairment, the facilities and choosing a College.

For further information please contact Downing's Disability Liaison Officer by email to or telephone 01223 334812.