Frequently Asked Questions


What is an accommodation?

An accommodation is a change, alteration or modification to a policy, practice or procedure (or to the way things are customarily done), that provides an equal opportunity to an individual with a disability. Examples of accommodations include, but are not limited to, sign language interpreters, materials in alternative formats (such as braille, different font size or digital format), and assistive listening devices.

What is a Service Animal?

A Service Animal is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. For examples of these types of tasks please see Service and Assistance Animals. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

What questions am I allowed to ask to determine if a dog is a Service Animal?

Only two questions can be asked to determine if a dog is a Service Animal:

  • Is the dog a Service Animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

A service animal is not required to provide medical documentation or other "proof" of service animal status.

What is an Assistance Animal?

An Assistance Animal (also sometimes referred to as an emotional support animal, therapy animal or comfort animal), is defined by the Fair Housing Act as an animal that provides emotional support or comfort that alleviates one or more symptoms of a person’s disability and is necessary for an individual’s equal opportunity to use housing. Assistance Animals have not been individually trained and they may be an animal other than a dog. See more information at: Service and Assistance Animals.

Where can I find a map of accessible paths and entrances?

You can find this information for Harvard’s Cambridge, Allston and Longwood campuses on the Harvard Campus Map.



How do I request an accommodation?

Contact your school’s Local Student Disability Coordinator (LDC) to initiate the process for academic and housing accommodations. 


I received accommodations in my previous academic program. Will I get the same accommodations at Harvard?

Your previous accommodations may or may not be applicable your current course of study. Contact your Local Disability Coordinator (LDC) to explore possible reasonable accommodations.

I sprained my ankle and I am using crutches for the next 6 weeks—what resources are available for me to get around campus?

Harvard’s shuttle buses are fully accessible and are available to everyone with a valid Harvard ID. If you would like to explore further services beyond the accessible shuttle, please see your Local Disability Coordinator (LDC).


I plan to live on campus and want to bring my emotional support cat with me. Is this allowed?

Assistance animals, sometimes also referred to as emotional support, comfort or therapy animals, are only permitted in on-campus Housing. Contact the Local Disability Coordinator (LDC) in the school in which you are enrolled to request a Housing accommodation.

If you live in a Harvard Real Estate property, contact Harvard University Housing.

I would like an accommodation to participate in extracurricular activities. How do I make a request?

Contact the Local Student Disability Coordinator (LDC) in the school in which you are enrolled to explore possible accommodations.

Faculty and Staff

How do I request an accommodation?

To initiate the process, contact your Human Resources Representative (Staff) or Faculty Affairs (Faculty) representative. In addition, our office is always available for consultation and guidance throughout the process.

My mental health is negatively affecting my performance at work. Could accommodations be available to me?

The definition of a disability covers a wide range of conditions, including mental health. If your condition is affecting your work performance, contact your Human Resources Representative (Staff) or Faculty Affairs (Faculty) to explore possible accommodations.


I am recovering from surgery and may need assistance getting to work for the next several weeks. What options are available?

While Faculty/staff are responsible for their transportation to and from their workplace, there are options for getting around while on campus, such as job restructuring or campus transportation.

In addition, you are always welcome to contact your Human Resources Representative (Staff) or Faculty Affairs (Faculty) to discuss your specific situation and explore possible accommodations.


My medical leave of absence is ending soon and I might need job modifications when I return. How much notice do I need to give?

Contact your Human Resources Representative (staff) or Faculty Affairs (Faculty) to coordinate your return to work plan. If you wish to explore accommodations, it is best to initiate your request as soon as possible.

What is a neuropsychological evaluation and how might this be helpful for me at work?

Neuropsychological evaluation is an assessment of how brain health affects thinking skills and behavior. Neuropsychology is the study of brain-behavior relationships. Neuropsychologists focus on cognitive, behavioral, and social-emotional functioning.

As part of the interactive process for exploring reasonable workplace accommodations, results from a neuropsychological evaluation might offer helpful insights as to your strengths, functional limitations related to a disability, and recommendations for possible workplace accommodations- which could help you to be more effective and facilitate the removal of possible barriers to access.

For more information, please see our Neuropsychological Evaluation FAQ.


I am attending a Harvard event and I need to request an accommodation. What is the protocol?

Contact the event sponsor of the event you are attending to initiate your request. If you are unsure of who to contact, feel free to reach out to our office via phone at (617) 495-1859 or email at and we will do our best to put you in touch with the event sponsor.

I will be visiting Harvard and one of my family members would like to borrow a wheelchair. What are the options?

There are several resources available at Harvard depending on which part of campus you are visiting:


  • Visitor wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis for attendees at the Harvard Art Museum, Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Harvard Admissions office.
  • Harvard University Disability Resources also has a limited supply of wheelchairs available for loan to the Harvard community. To request, please email
  • Additional resources for long term wheelchair rental or other equipment rental can be found on our website under Vendors and Service Providers.


How much advance notice is needed to request a Sign Language Interpreter?

The University will make every effort to offer effective communication accommodations. Services for Interpreting and CART are subject to availability. As service providers are in great demand in the Boston metropolitan area and often fill their schedules quickly, it is recommended to make requests at least two weeks in advance, if possible.  To make a request, contact the event sponsor of the event you are attending. 

Digital Accessibility

What is Digital Accessibility?

Digital accessibility refers to digital products or devices that are designed such that individuals with disabilities can successfully use them. This might include features such as screen readers that read all text aloud for a user with visual impairments, closed-captioning on videos for individuals with hearing impairments, images that include "alt text" for individuals with visual impairments, and websites that are navigable by keyboard for users who may not be able to operate a mouse.

How can I learn more about Digital Accessibility?

Visit Harvard University Information Technology’s (HUIT) website on Digital Accessibility to learn more, such as how to create accessible documents.

If you have a Harvard Key, you can access the Digital Accessibility website. The 17 webinars cover topics including "Designing Accessible UX" and "Accessible Multimedia.

What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technologies, sometimes referred to as adaptive technologies or rehabilitative devices, promote greater independence for individuals with disabilities by changing how these individuals interact with technology. For example, speech recognition software allows users with hand mobility issues to interact with a computer using voice commands rather than manipulating a mouse and keyboard. Other assistive technologies include alternative input devices, screen magnifiers and screen reading software.

I purchase digital products. How can I ensure digital access is taken into account when contracting with an outside vendor?

Web products or services procured by Harvard must meet an acceptable level of accessibility; see the Procurement Process section of the Online Accessibility website.