it.ucsf.edu

Technology Requirements for Students

Introduction

This document specifies campuswide technology requirements for students which consist of hardware, software, security, and internet requirements.

Additionally, your school or program might elsewhere specify additional or more specific requirements.

Questions about these requirements? Contact your program’s administration office.

Only for students entering in 2016

  • These requirements are for students entering in 2016.
  • Students entering in 2017: your requirements are expected to be available at this page in July 2017.
  • For the fall 2015 version of this document, see Technology Requirements for Students Fall 2015.

In this document

Related

Technology Introduction for Students

Before orientation

Before you arrive on campus, we expect that:

  1. You own a computer that meets our hardware requirement.
  2. Your computer has an operating system that meets our operating system requirement.
  3. You have legally obtained a version of Microsoft Office that meets our Microsoft Office requirement.
  4. You have successfully installed all the software in our security software requirement.
  5. You have successfully installed all the software in our additional software requirement.
  6. You have already set up or are in the process of setting up your internet connection with an internet service provider.
  7. You are able to send and receive messages with your UCSF e-mail account.

Hardware requirement

All students must own a computer that meets either Configuration A or Configuration B below.

How do I choose between configurations A & B?

Configuration A

Configuration B

lists the specifications we require if you have purchased a new computer within the past 2 years and do not plan on buying a new computer. This configuration will likely not provide adequate performance through the end of your program.

lists the specifications we require if you need to purchase a new computer. This configuration will likely provide adequate performance for 3 to 4 years.

Regardless of when you purchase your computer, plan on upgrading or purchasing a new computer 3 to 4 years later.

Computer requirements

If something is not listed as required, we offer no specific recommendations and suggest that you make purchase decisions based on your budget or your desire for particular features or convenience.

 

Configuration A
required if not buying a new computer

Configuration B
required if buying a new computer

Notes

memory (RAM)

8 GB or more

8 GB or more

hard drive SSD or HDD SSD SSD is also known as flash storage. Hybrid drives do not meet our requirements; see below.

graphics hardware

No specific requirement

Select a graphics hardware option upgrade if available

 

printer

Yes

Yes

 

security cable

Required only for portable computers that include a locking mechanism (e.g., Kensington security slot)

 

warranty

Not required

3 years parts and labor with on-site or in-store support

 

encrypted USB drive

Yes, 8 GB minimum (see below)

Yes, 8 GB minimum (see below)

 

If something is not listed as required, we offer no specific recommendations and suggest that you make purchase decisions based on your budget or your desire for particular features or convenience.

Sorry, no Apple MacBooks

Apple MacBooks new in 2015 and 2016 have notably underpowered main processors and do not meet our technology requirements. If you have one of these devices, we recommend that you do not use it for anything involving your UCSF business, research, or studies. (MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are fine.)

Sorry, no hybrid drives

Computers with hybrid drives such as Apple Fusion Drive are not supported by encryption software that we require. If you have one of these devices, we recommend that you do not use it for anything involving your UCSF business, research, or studies.

Why do you require a security cable for computers that have a locking mechanism?

The UCSF Police Department regularly receives reports of laptop thefts, especially those left unattended and unlocked in the library. See Tip: The 5 most common ways laptops are stolen (and how to avoid them).

What is an encrypted USB drive and why do you require it?

An encrypted USB drive is a data storage device that encrypts data stored on it so that it cannot be accessed by unauthorized persons. We require this because you will need an easy way to store legally protected data while also protecting that data from harm. This is so important to UCSF that our policy requires you to use only encrypted USB drives and other devices for UCSF business, research, and studies. See Buy Recommended Security Products?

What about netbooks and tablets? (e.g., Apple iPad, Google Chromebook)

Netbooks and iPads are optional

Netbooks and tablets are small, lightweight, and relatively inexpensive computing devices that can be a wonderful alternative to a laptop computer. However, because these devices typically have less processing power and lack certain capabilities of a laptop, you should not use a netbook or iPad in place of a laptop. However, it's fine as a companion to your laptop.

iPad with external keyboard may be used for ExamSoft exams

For schools that deliver ExamSoft exams, you may take your exam on an iPad, but we require an external keyboard because responding to essay questions does not work well with the onscreen keyboard.

Sorry, no Chromebooks

Unfortunately, Chromebooks aren’t ideal for several reasons, especially when security and privacy concerns are present (and carry significant financial penalties for breaches). Furthermore, Google apps and Gmail are not HIPAA-compliant for normal personal accounts, so you cannot use your Google/Gmail account for protected health information (PHI) or restricted data. UCSF does not have a business relationship with Google that would allow faculty, staff, or students to use their services in a HIPAA-compliant way. Generally speaking, most “cloud” services are not HIPAA-compliant and you should not use them for restricted information. If you have a Chromebook, we recommend that you do not use it for anything involving your UCSF business, research, or studies.

Sorry, no older models of Microsoft Surface

Older models of Microsoft Surface—specifically Surface and Surface 2—do not meet our requirements because they run Windows RT, which is a special version of Windows 8 for devices with ARM processors. Software we require will not run on this version of Windows. If you have one of these devices, we recommend that you do not use it for anything involving your UCSF business, research, or studies.

What about smartphones?

A smartphone is not required. If you plan to buy a smartphone, we recommend iPhone because it is easier for our support teams to support. If you do not already have an iPhone or smartphone, we do not require one.

You have unlimited file storage in UCSF Box

As a member of the UCSF community, you'll have access to Box, a web-based file storage and file sharing service. If you're familiar with the popular service called Dropbox, Box works similarly, enabling you to store files and share files or folders with individuals or groups. Details: UCSF Box.

Do not use Box for legally protected data

Currently Box may not be used for legally protected or policy-protected confidential information such as patient records, social security numbers, or credit card numbers. For this kind of data, use your encrypted USB drive.

Where do I buy computer and technology stuff? Discounts?

You may purchase from any vendor. UCSF does not have a campus computer store. Many vendors will verify eligibility of student discounts by way of your ucsf.edu email address. If you are still affiliated with an undergrad institution, check its computer store for discount options.

Is Mac or Windows better?

With the exception of Apple QuickTime (see below), the curriculum does not require any software that is available only on Mac or only on Windows. There are some compatibility issues with exchanging Microsoft Office documents between Mac and Windows and among newer and older versions, but essentially all of these issues have workarounds or solutions. Also, you'll have access to computer labs that have both Mac and Windows computers.

Need financial help?

If you need financial assistance to pay for a computer and internet service, UCSF Student Financial Aid may be able to help. The funding source is an additional student loan, usually a Federal Stafford Loan. The loan will not be disbursed in a single check but will be divided equally by the number of quarters enrolled during the academic year.

To receive a loan to cover computer costs, you must:

  1. Purchase the computer and/or related equipment on or after Friday, July 1, 2016.
  2. Make the purchases in your own name.
  3. Charge the purchases to a credit card, or if you cannot or prefer not to charge, obtain an itemized estimate, including taxes.
  4. You'll need to provide electronic copies of your paid receipts or written estimates. If you have more than one document, combine them into a single PDF file or ZIP file.

Details: See Computer Purchases on Student Budget Increases.

If you have questions about financial assistance, contact Student Financial Aid at finaid@ucsf.edu or 415-476-4181 before you purchase the computer.

Related services

Borrow a laptop or iPad in the library

If your laptop is temporarily unavailable (e.g., in the repair shop), use a computer in one of our computer labs. Or, Kalmanovitz Library offers a Loaner Laptop Service and a Loaner iPad Service, which enable you to borrow a laptop or iPad.

Charge your laptop in the library

Kalmanovitz Library also offers a Laptop Charging Service in Room 240, which enables you to charge your laptop unattended in a secure locker. Details: Laptop Charging Stations.

Access to internet and power

Location

Wireless Access
using 802.11a, b, g, or n

Wired Access
using an Ethernet cable

Power Access

Classrooms

All

Some

Many

UCSF Library

Yes

No

Yes

Housing Services

Some student housing apartments have wired and wireless connections to the UCSF network, but others do not. To determine which ones do and do not, contact Housing Services. For student housing that does not include wired or wireless internet, use DSL, cable, or other internet service. Details: see Internet Requirement.

Yes

About wireless

Wireless is available in all locations where people reasonably expect it. Access points support the following protocols:

  • 802.11a (54 Mbit/s)
  • 802.11b (11 Mbit/s)
  • 802.11g (54 Mbit/s)
  • 802.11n (600 Mbit/s)

These access points have separate band coverage for each of the four protocols. However, some access points are connected to the network through older network hardware that is limited to 100 Mbit/s. Consequently, in some locations wireless is restricted to slower speeds even if your device supports a faster speed. UCSF is addressing these limitations, but it is not yet known when all locations will have 802.11n speeds. UCSF does not yet support the 802.11ac protocol.

How to connect to the internet

For wired connections, simply connect using an Ethernet cable. For wireless connections, see Wireless.

Operating system requirement

 

Configuration A
required if not buying a new computer

Configuration B
required if buying a new computer

Windows

Either of the following:

  • Windows 10 (Home, Pro, or Enterprise)
  • Windows 8.1 (Core, Pro, or Enterprise)

Either of the following:

  • Windows 10 (Home, Pro, or Enterprise)
  • Windows 8.1 (Core, Pro, or Enterprise)

Mac

Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks or later

Whatever Apple gives you by default

Always wait to upgrade to new major versions of operating systems

At UCSF we have many computer systems, and it's impossible for all of our systems to be compatible with new major versions of operating systems on the day they become available. Consequently:

  • we strongly discourage you from upgrading until UCSF Information Technology has sent an all-clear message to the community.

If you forget to wait to upgrade, UCSF IT will support you as best it can, but until a permanent solution is in place, you might lose certain functionality.

About Microsoft’s Windows 10 free upgrade offer

Until July 29, 2016, Microsoft is offering eligible users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge.

About Windows 10

Previously this page recommended that for those who did not already have Windows 10 that you wait to upgrade to Windows 10. As of July 1, 2016, students may now upgrade to Windows 10. If your computer does not yet have the UCSF-required encryption software called DDPE, you may proceed with your upgrade. If your computer already has DDPE installed, contact your program’s administration or the UCSF Information Technology team for special Windows 10 upgrade instructions. If your computer has DDPE and you upgrade it to Windows 10 without following these instructions, your computer might be rendered inoperable because of how the encryption software works.

Windows 8.1 Pro for Students

As of June 23, 2015, Microsoft is offering Windows 8.1 Pro for Students for $69.99.

Where do I buy computer and technology stuff? Discounts?

You may purchase from any vendor. UCSF does not have a campus computer store. Many vendors will verify eligibility of student discounts by way of your ucsf.edu email address. If you are still affiliated with an undergrad institution, check its computer store for discount options.

Older operating systems

If you have a Windows or Mac operating system that is older than those listed as required, you must upgrade to meet the requirement.

Operating system software not provided

Unfortunately, we do not provide operating system software for you, so you are responsible for purchasing it.

Microsoft Office requirement

Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are required.

 

Configuration A
required if not buying a new computer

Configuration B
required if buying a new computer

Windows

Office 2013 (any edition)

Office 2016 (any edition)

Mac

Office 2016 (any edition)

Office 2016 (any edition)

More details: Choose your Office

Always wait to upgrade to new major versions of Microsoft Office

At UCSF we have many computer systems, and it's impossible for all of our systems to be compatible with new major versions of Microsoft Office on the day it becomes available. Consequently:

  • we strongly discourage you from upgrading until UCSF Information Technology has sent an all-clear message to the community.

If you forget to wait to upgrade, UCSF IT will support you as best it can, but until a permanent solution is in place, you might lose certain functionality.

Microsoft Office 365 is currently unsupported

Microsoft Office 365 is the latest version of Office. We do not require this version of Office, and we want you to be aware that as of May 4, 2016 UCSF has not yet committed to supporting Office 365. This doesn't affect you directly, but you might need to implement workarounds as a result. UCSF might be unable to support your use of Office 365 should you require help.

About buying Office 365

If you plan to purchase Microsoft Office 365, the table below outlines the differences to help you choose. This information is current as of May 4, 2016 and is subject to change.

 

Office 365 Home

Office 365 University

Office 365 Personal

Price

$99.99

$79.99

$69.99

# of years

1

4

1

# of devices

5

2

1

Eligibility requirements?

no

yes

no

More details:

Microsoft Office not provided

Unfortunately, we do not provide Microsoft Office for you, so you are responsible for purchasing it. Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are required.

Older versions of Microsoft Office

If you have a version of Microsoft Office older than our specifications, you must upgrade to meet the requirement.

Security requirement

Because UCSF is a health sciences campus, we require you to take actions to protect data from harm.

Back up your data

If you don’t have a regular backup of your data, what will you do if your computer is somehow infected with ransomware, and your computer is the only one holding the data? UCSF offers a discount on the online backup service called CrashPlan. For Macs, we also recommend Time Machine and Time Capsule. You must have a backup of your data before installing DDPE below.

Install UCSF-provided security software

UCSF provides the following security software so that we can consistently and reliably protect devices connecting to our network. UCSF may prevent your device from connecting without them.

Software application

What does it do?

Notes

Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP)
(UCSF site license version)

Protects your computer from computer viruses, spyware, malware, and other threats. It also provides a robust firewall.

  • SEP updates automatically in the background, and you don't need to renew the license for it each year (which also saves you money).
  • If you already have anti-virus, anti-spyware, or firewall software on your computer, uninstall it and restart your computer before installing SEP. SEP handles all three of these functions, and having more than one application doing these things can cause conflicts.

To download SEP:

  1. Set up your MyAccess account using the information provided in your welcome letter from the Office of the Registrar.
  2. Confirm that your MyAccess credentials work correctly by logging in to MyAccess.
  3. Log in to UCSF VPN using your MyAccess credentials.
  4. On the page that appears after you log in, select the link to download antivirus software.

Having trouble? Call 415-514-4100 (available 24/7).

Dell Data Protection Encryption (DDPE) with BigFix (also known as IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager and TriggerClientUI)

(UCSF site license version)

DDPE encrypts your computer’s data to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing legally protected information.

BigFix collects system information and associates your device with you so that we can contact you if a security problem is found.

  • UCSF policy requires this for all student-owned devices used for UCSF business, research, or studies. Details: Device Encryption.
  • Installation instructions for Mac and Windows: How to Encrypt Your Computer.
  • When you install DDPE, BigFix installs automatically. If you are installing DDPE, you do not need to install the separate BigFix installer.
  • For help with this, call the UCSF IT Service Desk (415-514-4100).
  • Help is also available in person on campus.
  • Industry-standard encryption solutions such as Apple FileVault and Microsoft BitLocker are good, but they do not meet the University’s requirements because they don’t have a way for devices to regularly report to the University confirmation that the device is encrypted, which usually simplifies the legal process in the event that a device is lost or stolen. You’ll learn more about this requirement and our encryption clinics at orientation.
Junos Pulse
  • Connects your computer to the UCSF network so that you may access certain resources. For example, if you use desktop applications like Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail, you’ll need to log in to Junos Pulse in order to send or receive your UCSF email.
  • Improves the security of your data when using a public wifi connection.
Download available at software.ucsf.edu

Additional software requirement

Use the links below to download and install the additional software we require. All these downloads are free except Flip4Mac.

Software application

What does it do?

Notes

Windows users must have the latest versions of both of the following browsers:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox

Mac users must have the latest versions of both of the following browsers:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox

Enables you to view and print web pages.

Some of our required software or web sites may be incompatible with your preferred web browser. When this happens, you'll need to install a compatible browser and use it only when you need to use that particular software or website.

We encourage you to become comfortable using more than one web browser.

The latest versions of both of the following:

  • Adobe Flash
  • Adobe Shockwave

Enables you to view and interact with multimedia creations.

  • Download Flash
  • Download Shockwave
  • Do not include any optional software with your download or installation. e.g., do not install McAfee Security Scan Plus.
  • Windows users only: Since Flash has separate installers for Firefox and Internet Explorer, you need to visit Download Flash in each browser to complete both installations. (You don't need to do this for Shockwave; just install Shockwave once from either browser.)

The latest version of:

Oracle Java

Enables you to run applications created for the Java software platform. Also enables you to use the Java Secure Application Manager feature of our VPN system.

Check if you have the latest version: Check Java. If not:

The latest versions of both of the following:

  • QuickTime
  • Windows Media Player (Windows) or Flip4Mac (Mac)

Enables you to play music, video, and other media files.

QuickTime

If QuickTime for Windows does not install properly

QuickTime might or might not install properly in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. If QuickTime does not install properly, you’ll need to view that media on a Mac with QuickTime. Macs are available to you in computer labs on campus.

QuickTime for Windows known vulnerabilities

As of April 14, 2016, Apple QuickTime for Windows has known vulnerabilities that Apple has stated it will not fix. Apple QuickTime for Windows is now considered by leading information security authorities to be unsafe to have installed. Unfortunately, UCSF has not yet confirmed that all curriculum materials no longer require QuickTime.

If QuickTime for Windows is working on your computer, be aware that your computer is more likely to be compromised if you download and open a video or other media file that opens in QuickTime and exploits the vulnerability. You can mitigate this risk somewhat by (a) downloading and opening only those files created by persons known to you and whom you trust and (b) ensuring that QuickTime is not a default player for any filetype.

Our requirements regarding QuickTime may change; your program’s administration or the UCSF Information Technology team will notify you of updated info.

These security issues apply to QuickTime for Windows; as of May 4, 2016, there is no similar known risk with QuickTime for Mac.

Windows Media Player

Windows 10 and Windows 8.1: You already have Windows Media Player 12—no further action is required.

Flip4Mac

Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks and later: Download Flip4Mac Player. Unfortunately, we do not provide this software for you, so you are responsible for purchasing it. Note: Telestream has another product called Flip Player which is free but which does not play WMV or WMA files. Flip Player does not meet our requirement; we require Flip4Mac Player.

Internet requirement

We require that you have a home internet connection.

Need financial help?

For students using financial aid, the student budget allows $40 per month to contribute to the cost of internet service. If you expect that your monthly cost will be greater than this and/or if you need assistance in funding installation or setup costs, contact the Financial Aid office once you receive your award letter to see if your budget can be increased to cover this expense.

Internet service choices

If internet service is included with your student housing, your apartment includes a direct connection to the UCSF network, and this meets your internet requirement. All other students are responsible for selecting an internet service provider (ISP) and purchasing service.

DSL and cable are the most common internet service technologies available in San Francisco. You are responsible for the cost of this service, which averages about $60 per month. The availability of these services can depend on where you live. Speed and pricing varies.

Student housing

Mission Bay, Avenue houses, and 145 Irving Street

Wireless internet service is included in your rent. Your computer connects directly to the University high-speed network. At Mission Bay and 145 Irving Street, bedrooms and living rooms also have hard-wired data ports. Routers, hubs, and personal wireless networks are not permitted in order to ensure security of the University network. To report problems with your internet connection, contact Housing Services.

Aldea San Miguel

You can receive internet service from any internet provider. To report problems with your internet connection, contact your internet service provider.

Questions?

Contact Housing Services with any questions you might have about student housing.

Access to restricted servers

To access resources that are restricted to members of the UCSF community, use UCSF Virtual Private Network (VPN) or EZproxy.

Related

Technology Introduction for Students

Questions?

Contact your program’s administration office.