Students with disabilities

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Students with disabilities should be guaranteed the same high level of education and the same good quality study environment as other students. Karolinska Institutet allocates financial resources to fund the special support that people with disabilities need when they are studying.

Disability is defined as: a permanent physical, mental or intellectual impairment of functional capacity which was either caused by an injury or illness already at birth, which arose thereafter or which may be expected to arise. Equal Treatment of Students at Universities Act (2003:311).

Office for Students with Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities coordinates the practical and financial support measures for students with disabilities. The Office will look at the necessary documentation along with the Coordinator for Students with Disabilities to decide what support measures are required.

We also analyse and test students who have reading and writing difficulties to make sure that they receive the best possible support during their studies. After your first meeting with the Coordinator for Students with Disabilities, you will receive a certificate, which you can use when you talk to teachers and other people involved. This certificate will list recommendations given by the Coordinator for any adaptations or support that you might need during your studies.

Contact with teachers and the Student Counsellors

If adaptations have to made within the scope of your education itself (for example, if you need to sit an alternative exam), you will need to discuss this with your teachers. You have to be prepared to contact many people by yourself. How successful your support measures are will depend on how much responsibility you are willing to take for yourself - this is true for all students. It is a good idea to contact your course leader when you start your studies.

The Student Counsellors can provide you with support if you have any questions about your studies or if you need help in your contacts with teachers. If you need to have a specially adapted study plan for your studies, you can talk to the Student Counsellors about the possibility of having an 'individual study plan'. You might also need to defer one of your modules to another term if you need to slow down your pace of studying.

Book an appointment with the Coordinator

The easiest way to book an appointment with the Coordinator for Students with Disabilities is by telephone. You can also call to book an appointment in Huddinge, but you can only do this on Thursdays. Contact the Coordinator in good time before you start your studies to discuss your individual support needs and to receive all the information you need.

Apply to Karolinska Institutet

There are often more applicants than available places for courses at Karolinska Institutet, so a selection has to be made. As an applicant, you will be placed in one or more selection groups depending on your merits, i.e. the certificates and grades that you have submitted. However, you can compete in several selection groups at the same time. If you would like more detailed information, look at the VHS and KI prospectuses.

Adapted Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test

There is a special version of the Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (Högskoleprovet) for people who have dyslexia or who have different degrees of visual impairment. If you want to take the adapted exam, you have to present a special certificate that proves you have dyslexia or are visually impaired. This exam is held twice a year.

After you have been accepted

If you need any kind of support during your time at Karolinska Institutet, you should start by contacting the Coordinator for Students with Disabilities, Tina Teljstedt, as early as possible to discuss your individual support needs and to receive all the information you need.

The Coordinator for Students with Disabilities will normally produce a certificate which details the recommended support measures that you personally need. This is useful to have as teachers, for example, may want to see it. If you need talking books, you should order them as early as possible before the start of the course to ensure that you receive them in time. Read more about the Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille TPB.

Your contact person at the department

Each department has a student counsellor who can help you with your studies. It is easier for you both if you introduce yourself at the beginning of the term to establish contact early on. When you do this, you should show them the certificate you have received detailing the support you need for your studies. The student counsellor can help you with your study plan and adapting the pace of your studies.

What you can do yourself

  • Introduce yourself to your teachers at the beginning of each part of the course and tell them about the needs that you have. The teacher may need information about your disability to help them when planning your education.
  • Try to find the best seat/place in the lecture hall for you.
  • Do not hesitate to ask for as much help as you need.
  • See if your fellow students can help you take notes or help you with other matters. They can receive payment for their additional work. However, they should be familiar with the subject in question to ensure that they can make good notes.
  • Your ability to take responsibility for your studies and to be able to formulate what you need is an important factor in achieving success both in your studies and in your professional life.
  • If something is not right, contact the Coordinator for Students with Disabilities or the Students' Ombudsman.

If you would like to study abroad for part of your studies and need support measures, you should contact the Coordinator for Students with Disabilities. We have links to different universities in Europe that have extremely good facilities and accessibility. KI pays for all support measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, sometimes in conjunction with other authorities such as TPB and/or SISUS.

You can also apply for additional funds from the International Programme Office for the increased expenditure for support measures.

There are several exchange programmes, but the most common within Europe is Erasmus within the Sokrates programme or the Nordplus scheme. Please get in touch with one of the International Student Coordinators.

Services for students with disabilities

Common support measures for students with disabilities

Only students with disabilities can benefit from support measures at university, and these measures will only be taken if the necessary documentation, such as doctors notes or diagnoses, has been shown to the Coordinator for Students with Disabilities.

Read more about:

Common support measures for students with disabilities.

Support measures - sorted by disability


You can apply for priority because of medical reasons at the Federation of Student Unions in Stockholm (SSCO), Stockholms studentbostäder (SSSB) and the housing delegation.

After your studies - how do you get work?

There is a special employment office for people with disabilities:

AF Unga Handikappade

+46 8 600 71 50

Medical Students' Association Equality Council

The Equality Council's aim is to combat the discrimination that students suffer because of gender, ethnicity, sexual preference or disability.

The Medical Students' Association Equality Council would like to have information about any situations or structures that you think are discriminatory. Please feel free to contact the working group if you would like to help us make a change:

Medical Students' Association Stockholm

+46 8 524 868 70

E-mail: (disabilities) (equal treatment)

Academic Writing Lab

This is where KI students can receive help to improve their use of language when writing reports, assignments and project work.

To the KiB labb webpages

Financing your studies

If you have a disability that negatively affects your studies, you may receive special consideration as far as your finances are concerned. You might need a certificate explaining why you did not achieve the required number of points or why your studies are taking longer than normal. Contact the Coordinator for Students with Disabilities, Tina Teljstedt, for more information about CSN (the National Board of Student Aid) in Stockholm.

Students' Ombudsman

The Students' Ombudsman, SO, is an independent body that you can turn to for various issues. For example, you might think that you have not been treated correctly or you might have problems in your contacts with teachers or other employees. SO is the mouthpiece for individual students but can also propose changes that affect students as a whole. They have an obligation to keep all information confidential and you can choose to remain anonymous.

You can find the contact information for Students' Ombudsman at the Medical Students' Association website.

Special-needs support for doctoral students

Responsibility for special-needs educational support for doctoral students with disabilities depends on whether or not they are employed.

If the doctoral student is employed:

  • The Human Resources Department has responsibility for all dealings with the student and or arranging and financing personal educational support.
  • The department at which the doctoral student is employed has shared responsibility with the Human Resources Department for the working environment (e.g. equipment and IT tools) and for whatever measures need to be taken as regards his or her work as an employee (e.g. arranging an interpreter for meetings and supplying a wide variety of necessary reading material in an appropriate format). Arbetsförmedlingen (the national work placement service) can cover the costs of interpretation at work meetings and the like (SKr 50,000 per year). The student may also apply to Tolkcentralen for such matters only if he/she is to participate at the meeting; if he/she is to chair or facilitate the meeting or to take part in a training programme, Tolkcentralen will normally refer him/her to the Arbetsförmedlingen’s resources.
  • Arbetsförmedlingen can cover the cost of producing reading material in an appropriate format.
  • The disability-coordinator at the Student and Career Services is in charge of personal pedagogical support for the student’s research activities (e.g. extra supervision and/or study interpretation) in the same way as for Bachelor’s and Master’s students. MTM produces course literature for doctoral students with reading impairments in the same way as for Bachelor’s and Master’s students. KIB is in charge of supplying alternative course reading material.
  • The disability-coordinator can assist the Human Resources Department as regards the kind of support available and how it can be given.
  • To prevent the student becoming stuck in a circle of referrals, the Student and Career Services, the Human Resources Department and the student’s department should liaise as soon as possible to clarify who has responsibility for what.

If the doctoral student is not employed:

  • The student is treated like all other students with disabilities, and is provided with the equivalent kind of special-needs support, arranged by the Student and Career Services. The student is asked to consult the coordinator for students with disabilities.
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