Studies and disability

Are you someone with a disability who is studying at the University of Lausanne?

The University of Lausanne will examine your individual situation as a student with a disability on a case-by-case basis, based on a medical certificate. A dedicated person has been appointed in each faculty to assess your specific needs with you and the arrangements that can be put in place for your exams.


What does the definition “with a disability” cover?

There are multiple forms of visible and invisible disability, such as:

  • Physical disability: reduced mobility, hearing difficulties, deafness, visual impairment, blindness, cerebral palsy, etc.
  • Chronic disabling conditions and pain, narcolepsy, the consequences of a stroke, etc.
  • Mental illnesses: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, neuroses, psychoses, phobias, post-traumatic shock, etc.
  • Learning difficulties: dyslexia, dysorthographia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, etc.

Speech and communications disorders: stuttering, etc.

  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD) with or without hyperactivity, and hyperactivity

According to the Swiss Disability Discrimination Act (LHand), art. 4, para. 1: “A person with a disability is a person who, due to a physical, mental or psychological impairment which is likely to be permanent, finds it difficult or is unable to carry out everyday tasks, cultivate social contacts, move around, obtain education or training, or work”.

How do students access special arrangements for study and examinations?

  • Students with a disability should contact the disability coordinator in their Faculty. They must provide a medical certificate that clearly shows the adjustments they need (for example, how much extra time they need for examinations in the case of dyslexia). The medical certificate must also show the period for which adjustments are requested (examination sessions, semesters, the whole course, etc.)
    NB: a certificate from a speech therapist may be accepted in place of a medical certificate for people with dyslexia or dysorthographia.
  • Students should make contact with their Faculty’s study adviser (see list of contacts on the Faculty websites) for the requirements they need to fulfil and how to split them based on the study plan and in accordance with the regulation study period.
  • It is better to start this process at the very beginning of your studies. For complex situations, it is recommended that you plan to make contact during the semester before your course begins.

NB: the Faculties reserve the right not to grant some or all of the adjustments requested depending on the resources (human, financial, infrastructure, etc.) available or if the request is disproportionate.

What adjustments to the period of study can be made?

Bachelor’s : the usual period of study is 6 semesters, up to a maximum of 10 semesters.

Part-time bachelor’s (50%): Disability confirmed by a medical certificate is a reason for applying to study part time for a Bachelor’s degree. The normal/maximum period of study is:

  • for the introductory part (60 ECTS credits): 4 semesters/6 semesters
  • for the Bachelor’s (180 ECTS credits): 12 semesters/14 semesters.
  • For the procedure for applying to study for a Bachelor’s part time, see Rectorate Directive 3.19 Part-time study (50%) for university Bachelor’s courses.

Master’s: the normal/maximum period of study is:

  • 3 semesters/5 semesters for a Master’s with 90 ECTS credits
  • 4 semesters/6 semesters for a Master’s with 120 ECTS credits
  • 6 semesters/10 semesters for a Master’s with 180 ECTS credits

Part-time Master’s (50%): Disability confirmed by a medical certificate is a reason for applying to study part-time for a Master’s degree. The normal/maximum period of study is:

  • 6 semesters/8 semesters for a Master’s with 90 ECTS credits
  • 8 semesters/10 semesters for a Master’s with 120 ECTS credits
  • 12 semesters/12 semesters for a Master’s with 180 ECTS credits

For the procedure for applying to study for a Master’s part time, see Rectorate Directive 3.12 Part-time study (50%) for university Master’s courses.

NB: The Dean of the Faculty can also grant two additional semesters on an exceptional basis in the case of force majeure or on legitimate grounds for Bachelor’s, part-time Bachelor’s, Master’s and part-time Master’s courses. Students must submit a written request setting out their reasons and provide documentary evidence (see Study Regulations).

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