Testing Accommodations

Students with disabilities may be eligible for accommodations related to the administration of examinations. Testing accommodations are provided for students whose disabilities impact their ability to complete exams under standard conditions in the classroom.

Students must register with Disability Services so staff can determine eligibility for this accommodation.

Typical Testing Accommodations

Testing accommodations modify, in a specific manner, the way an exam is administered. However, the intent of testing accommodations is not to alter the performance requirements or lessen course standards; rather, their purpose is to ensure access to the testing setting for students whose disability-related needs warrant modifications.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Extended time to complete the exam.
  • A smaller proctored environment to take the exam
  • Use of a computer to type the exam
  • Alternate format (e.g., exams in large print)
  • Use of noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs
  • Permission to have water and food in the exam room (medical necessity)

Accessing Testing Accommodations

  • Contact the appropriate graduate liaison at the start of the semester.
  • Disability Services graduate liaisons generally require at least one to two weeks of advance notice to coordinate testing accommodations.

Each semester, students approved for testing accommodations must follow standard procedures for accessing this accommodation. There are exceptions to standard procedure for certain undergraduate courses, but the standard procedures are:

  1. Request accommodation letters via the online form.
  2. Accommodation letters are emailed two to five business days after a request is submitted.
  3. Have professors sign accommodation letters.
  4. Return signed accommodation letters to Disability Services.
  5. Submit Testing Accommodation Request Form (TARF) at least three weeks in advance of any upcoming exam date and must be signed by your professor. For final exams, the form is due six weeks in advance. Students must submit a testing a form for each exam for which accommodations are being requested.
  6. Submit the Quiz Accommodation Request Form at least 21 days in advance of the first quiz. All quiz dates should be indicated on one form.

Disability Services works closely with departments to facilitate access to testing accommodations. With a master testing accommodation request form:

  • The Instructor section of the form has already been completed and does not need to be signed by the professor.
  • The student must complete the Student section of the form and submit the form to Disability Services.
  • Master forms are available in the Disability Services office only for the courses below:

Accommodation letters are not needed for the following courses:

General and Organic Chemistry (I and II) Exams and Quizzes


Chemistry Labs


Physics Lecture Courses




Accommodation letters are needed for the following courses

* Note that for Frontiers of Science, your seminar instructor is the individual you should ask to sign your accommodation letter.


For the following courses, the professor will provide accommodations students are eligible to receive. Students do not need to submit a testing form for these exams or report to Disability Services. To receive accommodations for this exam, contact the professor.

Other Courses

Frequently Asked Questions

Speak with professors to arrange alternate dates or times for exams. If a student is unable to reschedule a conflicting exam, the student should notify Disability Services at dsexams@columbia.edu, and staff will make an effort to coordinate alternate exam times.

Students must inform Disability Services prior to an exam that they will be unable to take it due to illness; student must also contact professors to ask for permission to reschedule an exam. Students should be aware that the professor’s make up/missed exam policy may apply. If permission is granted, Disability Services will coordinate an alternate exam date and time per the professor’s instructions.

If a student informs Disability Services during an exam that they cannot continue due to illness, Disability Services will contact the professor to ask whether it is permissible to reschedule the exam. Disability Services may not be permitted to reschedule the exam, and students should consider the professor’s make up/missed exam policy when deciding if they are well enough to complete the exam.

Students taking classes at Barnard should follow the same instructions for scheduling an exam with Columbia by filling out and submitting a TARF with Disability Services at least two weeks in advance of the exam. Disability Services will coordinate administering the exam with the appropriate accommodations.