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Postgraduate Student Supports


Trinity College Dublin welcomes applications from Postgraduate students with a disability. Postgraduate students (both taught and research) who have a disability are encouraged to apply to the Disability Service for reasonable accommodation.

Each student applying for supports is provided with a Disability Officer and a Needs Assessment where reasonable accommodations are identified and discussed. Agreed supports can be communicated to other areas in Trinity if needed. Reasonable accommodations agreed at postgraduate level may differ in form or scope from those at undergraduate level as these are determined by course and level of study. To allow reasonable accommodations to be put in place, we may need to communicate with academic staff in your department, but this will be discussed with you, prior to any contact being made. You decide who you wish information to be forwarded to.

Applying for a postgraduate course in Trinity – do you need help?

Applying for a postgraduate course can be a daunting experience. If you have a disability this may be present additional challenges. In the past, postgraduate students have sought guidance on course entry requirements, disclosure, interview supports, application for rooms, academic supports and many other areas. If you would like assistance in the application process or would like to discuss any aspect of postgraduate student life or your support needs, the Disability Service is available to offer support and guidance.

Transition planning from Undergraduate to Postgraduate Studies

The transition from undergraduate (UG) to postgraduate (PG) can be an exciting time but it also requires some forward planning. Postgraduate programmes may be as short as one year. However, a PhD is of much longer duration. Many postgraduate programmes can be intensive, so this is something to consider when deciding on pursuing postgraduate studies. Students at postgraduate level are expected to undertake more independent study and self-motivation is essential as postgraduate programmes may not be as structured as undergraduate programmes.

For disabled students undertaking postgraduate studies requires a realisation that the supports/resources they had at undergraduate level may differ from the supports/resources they require at postgraduate level. For example, this may be evident when undertaking a master's programme or PhD where a substantial written thesis is required. Factors like how they will gather data and what supports they may need in this respect may be something that they have not had to consider at undergraduate level. Furthermore, those pursuing PhD research are often expected to attend/present at academic conferences. Therefore, it is essential that discussions occur between the student and their course director or supervisor(s) as well as the student and the Disability Support Service to ensure that disabled students can access the required supports that ensures they can achieve to their optimum potential in their chosen area of study.

Disclosure and requesting reasonable accommodations

For postgraduate students and research students in particular, disclosing a disability to a supervisor or small group of academic staff is an important decision. The Disability Service provides support and guidance on this decision. A disability will never be disclosed to the examiners of a thesis without a student’s consent to do so.

Information for Teaching and Professional Staff - Postgraduate Thesis Supervision

How to get support from the Disability Service

Any postgraduate student in Trinity is welcome to apply for Reasonable Accommodations with the Disability Service. An application can be made through my.tcd.ie via the ‘My Disability Service’ tab. Additional information is available in our step-by-step How to apply for Reasonable Accommodations guide.

Please note: Any postgraduate student in Trinity (or prospective student) is welcome to contact the Disability Service to informally discuss their needs prior to making a formal application. Please email askds@tcd.ie or visit our Contact page.

Typical supports and resources postgraduate students can avail of:

Academic Support

Academic writing at postgraduate level requires a highly structured, methodical, and detailed approach compared to undergraduate work. For this reason, many postgraduate students benefit from assistance in developing strategies for reading and analyzing academic literature such as journal articles and developing higher-level writing skills.  Learning how to manage the research process at an early stage, and putting a structure on your research topic, can assist with staying on track with the writing process. There is a wide range of specialist software that can support both data collection and data analysis, and it is a good idea to explore these at the start of your research journey.  There are a number of resources available in college to support development of your academic voice, including workshops provided by Student Learning Development and the Library.

Additional information is available on ourAcademic Support page.

Assistive Technology

Postgraduate students can benefit from a wide range of Assistive Technology (AT) supports. The Trinity Disability Service provides helpful information and support about how you can make use of technology and adapt it to your study needs. Assistive Technology is defined as "any use of technology that helps you perform a task more easily".

Text to speech Tools:

This support allows postgraduate students access electronic or printed text and have it read back to them. This increases the reading speed and accuracy of their own academic writing. This can be used to access journal articles. It allows a student to grow independence in their own writing and reduces the need for specific proofreading or intensive academic support - Text to Speech.

Voice recognition:

Voice recognition reduces the time required to transcribe academic work where a disability could impact the accuracy or speed of such a task. Many postgraduate students with disabilities use voice recognition when writing an essay, thesis or dissertation.  This support is very effective for students who have reduced typing speed or a physical disability which would stop them from accessing or using a standard keyboard. - Voice Recognition.

Notetaking Tools:

Notetaking applications support postgraduate students in using technology to record a conversation, lecture or meeting once all parties consent to be recorded. These tools reduce the time required by students to write meeting notes from lecture or interview. This supports increases the accuracy of such a task when there is a requirement to write and listen at the same time - Notetaking.

Additional information is available on our Assistive Technology Support pages.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy is a key support within the Disability Service. Postgraduate students use the Occupational Therapy service to enable them to participate in the activities of everyday student life.

Developing a Balanced Academic Routine

Occupational Therapists can work with you to develop a productive and healthy routine to support your engagement in your studies.  This involves developing a individualised routine, balancing across academic and non-academic tasks that you need or want to do.

Setting up an Effective Workspace

Occupational Therapists work with students to develop study environments at home and in college.  We place a specific focus upon the sensory environment to set up a workplace that works for you.

Preparing for Viva

Occupational Therapists work with students in preparing for the different aspects of the continuation or Viva process.  We take a very practical approach to developing skills to this, which may involve requesting reasonable accommodations as necessary.

Communicating with your Supervisor

Establishing a good working relationship with your supervisor is an important aspect of the postgraduate role.  We work with postgraduate students to support them in finding a format for supervision that suits you learning style.

Additional information is available on our Occupational Therapy page.

Postgraduate Professional Courses

Students taking one of the Postgraduate Professional courses may need to have supports and reasonable accommodations arranged while on a placement or internship. Part of the needs assessment process of the Disability Service is to identify any needs of this kind that exist and discuss what supports and reasonable accommodations may be available.

Additional information is available on our Placement Planning/Internship support page

Preparation for Viva Voce examinations

The Trinity Disability Service has assisted many postgraduate research students in preparation for their viva voce examinations. This includes providing supports in preparation for the viva and in making arrangements for specific reasonable accommodations on the day. 

Forum for Staff & PhD Students with Disabilities.

Established in 2020, the Forum for Trinity staff, PhD and Post-docs with disabilities provides a voice for disability equality within the University. It offers disabled people an opportunity to meet new people, share experiences and acts to inform and enhance institutional policy. The forum has been established and is run by disabled staff and PhD researchers, supported by the EDI Unit. The forum takes a very relaxed and open approach and you do not have to disclose your disability. The forum has a large membership from across the University.

Monthly Social Event

The forum also hosts a “Virtual Tea” on the first Friday of each month from 11 – 11.30am. This is an informal get together that allows people to get to know each other and have a chat. This is a great way to decide if this group is for you and allows you to dip in and out as you choose. You are expected to bring a cup of tea or coffee and plenty of chat!

For more information about the Forum, please visit the Forum for Trinity staff, PhD and Post-docs with disabilities webpage.

If you would like to be kept updated about Forum events, please join the mailing list by completing this Forum Contact Form.

Disability Research Network

If your area of research has a focus on disability you are welcome to join the Disability Research Network.  Established in 2017, the Disability Research Network is a forum for members of the college community to come together to give voice to disability issues, to provide a platform for discussion and exchange of ideas and to collaborate on disability research. It is an open access forum with representation from Schools and Disciplines across Faculties.

The Disability Research Network meets at least twice per academic year. Meetings are open to the public, and may include academics, researchers, students, and self-advocates from Trinity College Dublin, and national and international representation and inclusion. Over the past four years we have organised a number of small seminars and two large events, in 2019 and 2020, to celebrate the international Day of persons with Disabilities, one focused on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and another focused on Ethics in conducting disability research.

To join the Network please contact the Disability Service at askds@tcd.ie