Counselling students with special needs

A student with special needs is a student who needs support to achieve learning outcomes through changes in the organisation of the course or in the learning environment. The need for support may be due to health-related circumstances: a long-term health condition or difficulties associated with a mental or physical condition.

What are the possible adaptations? 

  • Making all study materials and information available in writing. 
  • Allowing breaks during exams and assessments. 
  • Allowing a sign language interpreter, speech-to-text interpreter or support person to lectures or an exam. 
  • Allowing the use of a laptop during exams and assessments. 
  • When marking homework and exams, not taking grammatical errors into account if the learning outcome of the course is not correct grammar. 
  • Allowing flexibility in terms of attendance, exam times and the deadlines of assignments. 
  • Giving extra time during exams and assessments. 
  • Allowing for alternative ways to make presentations. 
  • Other adaptations depending on the student's situation. 


Please note: 

  • Making the adaptations depends on the student's situation, the conditions of passing the course, and the possibilities of the teaching staff.  
  • The adaptations are agreed upon for one semester. This means the student needs to contact the special needs adviser at the beginning of each semester

Students, prospective students and empolyees of the University of Tartu are welcome to turn to the Special Needs Adviser.

Students with special needs and other interested parties can get related information by subscribing to the special needs list.


Book an appointment

Times are available for the following 30 days; new appointments become available daily. NB! Please use the university e-mail address ( when booking.

NB! The form is in Estonian, please use Google translate for translating the form. 


At the University of Tartu, making adaptations is governed by the Study Regulations. According to that, to request adaptations, the student contacts the special needs adviser and presents proof of special needs.

The teaching staff member makes reasonable adaptations in the course for the student if the special needs adviser has prepared a list of adaptations recommended for the student and the teaching staff member is informed of it within a reasonable time from the beginning of the semesterwithout the adaptations, it would be difficult for the student to achieve the learning outcomes in the course due to special needs. 

  • What is the process of making adaptations? 

  • The student makes an appointment with the special needs adviser in the booking system of the Counselling Centre
  • The adviser discusses with the student what the difficulties are and what the student can do to support himself/herself. The student submits a document (doctor's certificate, disability certificate, disability assessment decision, etc.) to prove the special need. 
  • The adviser prepares a draft letter of recommended adaptations and sends it to the student for review. 
  • If the student agrees with the content of the letter of recommended adaptations, the adviser sends the letter to the teaching staff members in charge of the courses, to the programme director and to the academic affairs specialist. 
  • The teaching staff in charge informs the staff teaching the course who need to know about the special need and adaptations. 
  • The teaching staff member considers the recommendations and decides on which adaptations can be made in their course. 
  • The student contacts the teaching staff in charge to agree on the details. 
  • The teaching staff informs the student about which adaptations can be made in teaching and studies. 
  • The adaptations are implemented. 

The purpose of the scholarship for students with special needs is to support students with special needs in acquiring higher education. Please read more about the scholarship for students with special needs here.

A student who has a moderate, severe or profound disability or decreased work capability or is a parent or guardian of a disabled child of up to and including 15 years of age will be released from tuition fees on the basis of the student’s application in either full-time or part-time studies, provided the student commences studies full-time in an Estonian-taught curriculum. NEW! Since the 2021/22 autumn semester students with decreased working ability who have commenced studies full-time in an Estonian-taught curriculum can also apply for release from tuition fees. Students can apply to be released from tuition fees until 15 September (autumn semester) and 15 February (spring semester).

When applying for release from tuition fees, a document certifying entitlement must be submitted in addition to a duly completed application:

  • a student with special needs must submit a disability certificate (issued by the Social Insurance Board) regarding the severity of his/her disability; or, from the 2021/2022 autumn semester, a certificate of decreased working ability (issued by Eesti Töötukassa) can also submitted
  • a parent of a disabled child must submit the child’s birth certificate and a decision made by a medical expert regarding the severity of the child’s disability.

The accessibility information is currently being updated. If you need accessibility information please contact the Special Needs Adviser.

The objective of providing support services is to help students with special needs cope independently, support their social integration and equal opportunities, and promote efficient involvement in studies. The University of Tartu supports students with special needs upon their entry to university, participation in studies, and in relation to exams and tests, providing study materials as well as creating a suitable social and physical environment.

The University of Tartu Library offers home service for members with special needs. UT Library has audio files of literature for students with visual disabilities. For partially sighted students, the library also has a video magnifier MLX Reader – MLX Split, which can enlarge text up to 46 times.

For visually impaired and blind students and also for those students who experience writing or typing difficulties due to a coordination disorder, it is possible to borrow a speech recognition device that can be used to convert speech to text.

The University has rooms suitable for students with reduced mobility in the student village dormitory at Raatuse st 22.

Support students are volunteer students who are willing to support students with special needs. If you want to become a support student please contact the Special Needs Adviser.

If you need help but those around you do not offer it, they probably just don´t know how to help you or are afraid of making a mistake. You are an expert on your special needs, if you need help, please don't be afraid to ask for it.

If you have a problem and you don´t know whom to turn to, you can always contact the Special Needs Adviser.


Group counselling

This semester, we're excited to announce that we'll be hosting the ADHD support group in English. This group is specifically designed for students who have been diagnosed with ADHD and are looking to connect with others, share their experiences, and gain insights into managing their day-to-day challenges.

Our sessions will begin on March 5th and run through April 2nd, taking place at W. Struve 1–454 from 14:15 to 16:00. To ensure a supportive and intimate atmosphere, we're limiting the group size to a maximum of 15 participants.

If you're interested in joining us, please fill out the registration form available here: Registration form 

NB! Registration has ended as the sessions have started.

Special Needs Advisers

Maris Gertz


Suggestions for further development of support services are always welcome!


UT Counselling Centre main page