Accommodation options for postgraduates with disabilities

St Catharine’s is committed to supporting students with disabilities to have the same access to education as all others. As part of this, we seek to provide support for postgraduates with disabilities, within the resources available to the College.

In this context, ‘disability’ means a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term (over a year) negative effect on a student’s ability to do normal daily activities (see

The following guidelines were agreed following consultation with the University Accessibility and Disability Resources Centre (ADRC), as well as the College’s MCR – our postgraduates’ own student organisation. 

I have an offer to come to St Catharine’s as a postgraduate – what should I do?

Although the size of our postgraduate intake can be somewhat unpredictable, The College aims to offer accommodation to all new full-time postgraduate students in their first year who have requested accommodation by 15 August and who have been officially admitted by the University by 1 September. (In exceptional years, for example, where intake is high, we may be unable to achieve this aim.)

If you have a disability which means you would benefit from being allocated a particular type of room, then you should email the College’s Postgraduate Admissions Administrator ( at the first opportunity, so you can outline your provisional needs. You do not need to wait until your place is confirmed to do this.

You should also submit medical evidence to support your application. If you prefer, this may be emailed to the College’s Community Health Practitioner (, a trained nurse who alone will read it. A document from the University's Accessibility & Disability Resource Centre is ideal, but we realise that one may not be available by the time offer-holders contact us.

Please include the phrase ‘incoming postgraduate accommodation’ in the title of your emails.

If your place is subsequently confirmed, we will then do our best to take your needs into account when we allocate rooms to incoming postgraduates. We will need to work within the constraints of our current accommodation stock and please note that, in any case, accommodation on the College’s main site will usually not be possible. If we do not feel able to offer you accommodation that will meet your needs, we will let you know at the earliest opportunity.

Unfortunately, if you do not make us aware of your needs prior to your arrival we are unable to guarantee that we can support you in finding accommodation suitable for your needs.

Can I ask for accommodation in later years of my postgraduate studies?

Although we are usually only able to offer accommodation to September-start postgraduate students for one year, we are sometimes able to offer accommodation to up to fifteen students in later years of their course, via a ballot run by the MCR, usually around April/May. All other students need to find their own accommodation.

We would seek to offer accommodation in cases where a student’s disability means they would be caused serious disadvantage accessing their education if they rented accommodation not owned by the College.

If you think this applies to you, you may wish to discuss it with your college postgraduate tutor. In any case you should apply online and submit medical evidence:


  • You should submit your request via this webform by 31 January  of the academic year preceding the one in which you seek accommodation. (This early deadline is to ensure that unsuccessful applicants are not later disadvantaged in finding alternative accommodation.)

  • Evidence to support your application would usually include a Student Support Document from the University's Accessibility & Disability Resource Centre. Many students will have already given the College tutorial and welfare staff permission to view this online.

  • You can also email the Community Health Practitioner  ( if (1) you wish to submit medical evidence other than a Student Support Document or (2) you would rather explain your reasons for requesting a particular type of accommodation to them, rather than entering it on the webform.

The College’s Tutor for Disabilities will then consider the applications, usually drawing on advice from members of the College’s wellbeing and accommodation teams. You should be aware that:


  • The College's stock of rooms does not extend much beyond what we seek to offer to incoming students, and so it is likely that some applicants will be unsuccessful.

  • If your application is unsuccessful, this will be probably because of the balance between student demand and the number of rooms we have available. It will not be becuase we have questioned the validity of the evidence you have provided. This would include the situation where your Student Support Document makes recommendations about accommodation.

  • A successful application in one academic year does not mean that future applications will also be successful. Similarly, unsuccessful applications need not prevent you applying in the future.

If a small amount of college accommodation becomes available later int he academic year in which you apply, you would stil be eligible to enter the MCR-run ballot for these rooms regardless of whether you have already sapplied unsuccessfully on grounds of disability.