Computer Requirements

The UCSD School of Medicine (SOM) expects all incoming Medical Students to have a laptop (or notebook) computer with wireless access, a printer, various specific software applications and internet access. It will be used for information access, instructional applications, and official communications - in class and at home.

UCSD does not require a specific brand of laptop computers. However, students must pay attention to the requirements provided in order for their computer to be of sufficient processing power and resolution to meet their academic needs. A range of laptop computer configurations (described as Minimal to Optimal) are acceptable. Both Apple and PC computers are acceptable.

  • Minimum Configuration: This is the least expensive configuration that will meet the school's requirements. It may need some upgrading after a few years. If you already have a computer that meets or exceeds this minimum, it will be adequate to begin medical school.

  • Optimum Configuration: This configuration more than meets the school's requirements and has capabilities that will be useful while at medical school. If you can afford to purchase a computer with this configuration or better, it should serve your needs throughout medical school.

  • Note: iPads, Chromebooks and non-Pro versions of Surface tablets are NOT recommended as they cannot be used for certain required SOM-based applications

The Office of Educational Technology is available to answer questions about these recommendations and show you how to configure your laptop computers for connection to the UCSD wireless network.

Apple LAPTOP Configurations

iPads are NOT recommended for exams.

Minimum Optimum
Processor TypeDual-Core i5 MacBook ProQuad-Core i7 MacBook Pro
Speed2.5 GHz2.7 GHz
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite)Mac OS X 10.13 (High Sierra)
Memory / RAM8 GB16 GB
Network AdapterEthernet AND WirelessEthernet AND Wireless
Monitor Size13.3" LCD15.4" LCD
Monitor ResolutionRetina DisplayRetina Display
Optional DrivesCD-RW / DVD ROM DriveCD-RW / DVD ROM Drive
Screen Sharing RequirementVGA or HDMI ReadyVGA or HDMI Ready

SOFTWARE for Apple Computers

  Description Comments
OS ApplicationMac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or newerUpdates should be run AT LEAST once per week.
General Productivity

Microsoft Office 365 OR
Microsoft Office 2016 for OS X

Non-student version is recommended if you want to use Outlook.

Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation, etc. Check the UCSD Bookstore Computer Center for academic prices. Information on Office 365 and other UCSD licensed software for students, can be found on the campus ETS website.
EmailWebMail provided free by UCSDStudents can also use MacMail, Entourage (Web Services Edition), or other email client packages that support Microsoft Exchange.
Web Browser

Download the latest version compatible with your computer's OS.
 

Security Software Sophos Anti-Virus for MAC Home Edition

Virus definition updates should be set to auto-update daily and system scans should be run AT LEAST once per week.

FirewallRequired by UCSDIncorporated into Mac OS X - must be enabled.
Plug-ins

* Required for online exams. Acrobat Reader is required for use with the online exam application - the built-in PDF reader will not function correctly.

Free applications available for download. Carefully read the install screens as some of these Plug-ins will try to install unnecessary software/toolbars (e.g. Ask toolbar) if you don't uncheck the appropriate boxes.

File Compression / DecompressionBuilt-in with Mac OS XFile Compression / Decompression included in the latest Mac OS X
Reference ManagementFor more information, see the Library Guide. If a more robust application is required, consider purchasing EndNote .
Curricular Calendar SynchronizationUsing your mobile device
(iOS & Android Supported)
Students should consider purchasing a mobile device to access curricular resources while away from their computer.

PC LAPTOP Configurations  (Including tablet PCs)

Chromebooks and non-Pro versions of Surface tablets are NOT recommended as they cannot be used for certain required SOM-based applications.

Minimum Optimum
ProcessorIntel Core i5Intel Core i7
Speed2.5 GHz2.9 GHz
Operating SystemWindows 8.1 (64-bit)Windows 10 (64-Bit)
RAM4 GB8 GB
Network Interface CardEthernet AND WirelessEthernet AND Wireless
Monitor Size13"13-17"
Monitor Resolution1280 x 8001920 x 1200
Additional Optional DrivesCD-RW / DVD ROM DriveCD-RW / DVD ROM Drive
Screen Sharing RequirementVGA or HDMI ReadyVGA or HDMI Ready


SOFTWARE for PC Computers

  Description Comments
OS ApplicationWindows 8.1 64-bit OS updates should be run AT LEAST once per week.
General Productivity

Microsoft Office 365 OR
Microsoft Office 2016 Professional

Non-Home or Non-Student Edition - recommended if you want to use Outlook.

Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation, etc. Check the UCSD Bookstore Computer Center.
EmailWebMail provided free by UCSDStudents can also use Outlook (see above) or other email client packages that support Microsoft Exchange.
Web Browser

Download the latest version compatible with your computer's OS.
 

Security Software Microsoft Security Essentials

Virus definition updates should be set to auto-update daily and system scans should be run AT LEAST once per week.

FirewallRequired by UCSDIncorporated into Windows 8.1 - must be enabled.
Plug-ins

* Required for online exams. Acrobat Reader is required for use with the online exam application - the built-in PDF reader will not function correctly.

Free applications available for download. Carefully read the install screens as some of these Plug-ins will try to install unnecessary software/toolbars (e.g. Ask toolbar) if you don't uncheck the appropriate boxes.

Reference ManagementFor more information, see the Library Guide. If a more robust application is required, consider purchasing EndNote .
Curricular Calendar SynchronizationUsing your mobile device
(iOS & Android Supported)
Students should consider purchasing a mobile device to access curricular resources while away from their computer.

Peripheral Devices

 DescriptionComments
PrinterSTRONGLY RecommendedPrinting from UCSD computers requires a UCSD Imprints card (cost $0.10/page) or a printing account with campus' Educational Tech Services (ETS).  A multi-functional device (copier, printer, scanner) is located inside the Student Lounge.  Thus, printing at home is the most cost effective option for students.  When selecting a printer, students should not only consider the initial purchase price, but also the cost of ink cartridge replacements.  Additional information on printing throughout UCSD campus.
Portable Mass Storage8GB USB Flash DriveStrongly recommended for transport of files to / from home and school.
Back-UpHIGHLY recommendedStudents should consider strategies for backing up important files such as writing to a CD or external hard drive. On a Mac, there is a built-in utility called Time Machine. In Windows 8, there is a utility called Backup and Restore.
Mobile DeviceHIGHLY recommendedStudents should consider purchasing a mobile device to access curricular resources while away from their computer.

Internet Access

 Campus HousingOff-Campus Housing
Connection MethodEthernet via a wired/wireless Network Interface Card (NIC).
Not supplied by UCSD
Cable modem or DSL
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) UCSD ResNet
Cost included in housing fees
High Speed Services
Cox High Speed Internet
AT&T High Speed DSL
Time Warner
Note:
Remote access to UCSD Library resources (including the electronic reserve system used in the core curriculum) requires that users be authenticated as official UCSD students, faculty, or staff. Use of UCSD's ResNet or UCSD's wireless access on campus (UCSD Protected network) automatically authenticates the user. If you select a non-UCSD entity as your ISP, a free VPN client must also be installed on your computer in order to enable library access from off campus.

Frequently Asked Questions