Laptop Requirement

April 5, 2016 Josh Neidish

Courtesy of University of Kentucky School of Medicine

What Computer Should I Buy?

Laptop Computer Requirement

Incoming students to the UK College of Medicine (UKCOM) are required to own or have reliable access to a laptop computer meeting basic minimum performance standards. Students planning to use their current laptops must ensure their equipment meets these requirements (outlined below) to ensure adequate functionality in the College of Medicine curriculum.

Required Uses for Laptop Computers 

  • Computer-based examinations using ExamSoft®
  • Digital microscopy
  • Faculty/peer communications
  • Accessing course materials via Blackboard Virtual labs

Supplemental Uses for Laptop Computers 

  • (Re)view captured lectures (Echo 360)
  • Exam/Board preparation
  • E-mail
  • Online resources/reference materials

Minimum Requirements

  • Students can use either a Mac [MAC OS X 10.9.1 Mavericks recommended, minimum 10.8 Mountain Lion] or a Windows-based laptop (Windows 7 or higher). With minor exceptions, equivalent services are available to students using either platform. NOTE: As of October 2014, Microsoft Surface Pro (1,2, and 3) are all supported by ExamSoft.
  • Major releases to operating systems are often released in the fall. To ensure compatability with the software used in our curriculum, you should avoid upgrading until it has been determined that all software will work correctly.
  • Approved laptops must have a CPU that runs at 2.4 GHz or faster [Intel dual core i5 or higher]. Most modern processors are adequate; however, CPUs slower than 2.4 GHz should be avoided.
  • If you are running a standard 32-bit Windows or Mac Operating System (OS), machines should have a minimum of 4 GB of RAM.
  • Please consider the screen size carefully. Smaller screens (such as those found in lower-end netbooks) may not be optimal for examinations; remember, you will be taking course examinations (many with images) on this screen and should feel comfortable using it.
  • Wireless networking capability (standard on most newer units).
  • Required Software o Anti-virus must be installed (PC's).
    • Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, and Word) must be installed.
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader (downloadable free of charge from must also be installed to accommodate course materials in PDF format.
    • All computers will have a web browser installed. Depending on the application, you may be required to install additional browsers (e.g., Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, etc.). 888.792.3926 2 Courtesy of University of Kentucky School of Medicine November, 2015
  • Students are responsible for all e-mail and patient-related information sent via the campus email system to their assigned e-mail accounts. Supplemental e-mail accounts (e.g. Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) are not considered primary contact points for official communications.
  • Students are responsible for the ensuring the functionality of their laptops.

Convertible Notebooks

Some students have found convertible notebooks to be useful for note-taking. These platforms are a combination of notebook and “tablet” computer running the Windows operating system – and typically have both a keyboard and a “stylus” (pen) to allow handwriting on the screen. Dell and Lenovo both offer convertible notebooks. Again, however, screen size should be carefully considered if going this route.


Some students find it convenient to own a printer; however, this is not required.

Financial Impact on Students

  • The Higher Education Act, as amended in 1998, recognizes computers as an educational expense. Thus, students may request up to $3,000 for inclusion of a computer in their cost of attendance. This is a one-time increase during medical school; all adjustments will be for Fall/Spring.
  • Students are free to choose whichever laptop they desire (Mac or PC) – provided it meets the specified minimum requirements outlined above). Tablets or other mobile devices are not required, and are completely at the discretion of each student.
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