This page specifies campus wide technology requirements for students who are new to UCSF or purchasing a new computer. These requirements are for entering students.
Students should also review the Technology Introduction for Students which provides an overview of technology at UCSF.
- Computer Requirements
- Software Requirements
- Secondary Device for Two-Factor Authentication
- Set up UCSF Email
- Internet Requirement
- Additional School Specific Requirements
UCSF is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) campus and requires all students to own a personal device for UCSF-related activities. The purpose of these requirements is to ensure that devices meet or exceed a set of standards that will allow students to participate effectively in the UCSF technology ecosystem. Technology will be an integral component of your UCSF education. Having adequate hardware is worth the investment--your focus should be on your education, not dealing with technical issues caused by dated or underpowered devices.
These requirements also ensure that incoming students have installed all security software required by the UCSF Minimum Security Standards. UCSF students have a legal and ethical responsibility to preserve and protect the privacy, confidentiality, and security of all confidential information, both patient and non-patient related. Security regulations are dictated by the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), other Federal and California privacy laws, as well as UCOP and UCSF Policies, and Medical Center Administrative Policies and Procedures.
1. Computer Requirements
You must own a computer that meets the following minimum specifications. If something is not listed as required, we offer no specific recommendations and suggest that you make purchase decisions based on your budget, features, and preference for Mac or PC.
||This configuration will likely provide adequate performance for 3 to 4 years.
||This computer will likely not provide adequate performance through the end of your program.
||Must have been purchased within the past 2 years.
||Windows 10 (Pro, Education, or Enterprise)
macOS Catalina 10.15
NOTE: macOS Big Sur 10.16 is not recommended at this time!
|Windows 10 (Education)
macOS Mojave 10.14
||Intel Core i7 quad-core processor (9th or 10th Generation)
NOTE: Apple M1 processors are not recommended at this time!
|Intel Core i5 dual-core processor (7th Generation)
||16 GB or more
||256 GB or larger Solid State Drive (SSD)
||Must have functioning webcam either built-in to laptop or external
|Headphones with Microphone
||Must have a headset comprised of headphones and microphone. Can be USB, 3.5mm jack, or wireless/bluetooth depending on computer configuration.
||3 years parts and labor with on-site or in-store support.
||No specific requirement.
No ultra-low-power or budget-class processors
These processors are found in some ultrabooks, 2-in-1, fanless, and budget laptops. Computers with these processors do not meet our requirements.
- No Intel: Y-series i5/i7 (e.g. i7-7Y75), i3, Core M, Celeron, Pentium Silver, Pentium Gold
- No AMD: Ryzen 3, A-series, E-Series, FX, Athlon
No MacBooks or MacBook Airs
The MacBook (Retina 12") and MacBook Air have notably underpowered Y-Series processors and do not meet our requirements. The 2018, 2019, and 2020 MacBook Pro with 256 GB or larger SSD and 8 GB or more RAM meet our requirements.
Macs with Apple M1 Chip Not Currently Supported
Newly released MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini will feature the new M1 chip and ships with macOS Big Sur, which currently is not compatible with some UCSF-required security software. We want you to be aware that if you get a new computer from Apple, you will not be able to connect to the UCSF network with that device. UCSF IT will announce the support for the new Apple M1 chip in the latest Macs at a later time, once sufficient compatibility is confirmed.
No tablets or Chromebooks
An iPad or Android Tablet alone does not meet our requirements; the use of a tablet as a companion device is acceptable. The use of Chromebooks at UCSF raises significant security concerns; if you have one, we recommend that you do not use it for anything involving UCSF business, research, or studies.
Important Information for International Students
UCSF highly recommends that international students wait until arriving in the United States before purchasing hardware and software. There are several important reasons based on prior experience, including:
- Newest hardware is more readily available in the United States.
- Costs are typically lower.
- Warranty may not cover service in the United States.
- Certain software does not work with foreign versions of operating systems.
Always wait to upgrade to new major versions of operating systems
UCSF has 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 upgrade before the all-clear, UCSF IT will support you as best it can, but until a permanent solution is in place, you might lose certain functionality.
2. Computer Software Requirements
You must have the following software installed on your computer. You may be prevented from connecting to the UCSF network without having all the required security software installed.
||Description and downloads
Mac Users: please upgrade to MacOS 10.15 Catalina.
Windows Users: Please upgrade to Windows 10, version 1909. If you have Windows 10 Home edition, you will need to upgrade to Windows 10 Education.
Students can obtain a free license for Windows 10 Education from UCSF OnTheHub. Be sure to keep a copy of the product key as it is only available online for a short period of time. To change your version of Windows, search for "Activation" from the Start menu and click the Activation shortcut. Click Change product key, enter your new product key, and follow the on-screen instructions.
UCSF requires the use of the following file-based encryption applications that prevent unauthorized persons from accessing legally protected information. Please read and follow the instructions before installing or you may encounter issues: https://software.ucsf.edu/content/file-encryption
Mac Users: Download and install DDPE - Macintosh OSX
Windows Users: Download and install Dell Encryption Enterprise BitLocker Manager - Windows 64-bit (x64). Do not use DDPE as it has compatibility issues with some versions of Windows.
Bigfix is used for inventory, software and patch management.
BigFix is included with Device Encryption installers.
||Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP)
SEP includes anti-virus, anti-malware, host intrusion prevention system, and client firewall (PC only).
SEP is provided free of charge to students. Uninstall all other antivirus software and Disable Windows Defender. No need to run multiple programs or purchase a separate license.
SecureConnector is a Network Access Control (NAC) agent used to determine if your system meets the minimum security requirements before connecting your device to the network.
Do not select the dissolvable version. Installation is rapid, taskbar icon will be visible upon completion.
Pulse Secure is Virtual Private Network (VPN) client. When off campus, Pulse Secure connects your computer to the UCSF network in order to protect the transfer of all data. VPN connection is required for access to certain library resources and needed to send or receive your UCSF email when using desktop applications such as Outlook and Apple Mail.
||CipherCloud for Box
CipherCloud scans UCSF Box and automatically encrypts all file formats that contain matches to UCSF PHI. You will know a file is encrypted when it is renamed with a.ccsecure extension. The CipherCloud agent is required to open these encrypted files.
||Office 365 ProPlus
UCSF provides Office 365 ProPlus for Mac and PC users which includes desktop versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher (PC only), and Access (PC only). You can install Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs, 5 tablets, and 5 smartphones. The Office installer can be accessed by following the instructions below:
- Login to your UCSF Email: https://email.ucsf.edu
- Select your profile icon from the upper-right menu
- Click My account
- Select Apps & Devices from the left menu
- Click Install Office
- Follow on-screen prompts to download and install Office
Some of our required software or websites may be incompatible with your preferred web browser. If this happens, you will need to use an alternative browser to access that particular resource. We encourage you to become comfortable using more than one browser.
||VLC Media Player
VLC programs enable you to view and listen to a variety of media files.
UCSF utilizes Zoom as it's web conferencing solution and it is an integral part of delivering remote education.
3. Secondary Device for Two-Factor Authentication
UCSF requires the use of Duo Security, a two-factor authentication platform for all faculty, staff, and students when logging into certain online applications and systems including VPN, Outlook Web, Keeper, and Apex.
Students are required to own a secondary device that is compatible with the Duo Security platform.
Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security by requiring a user to log in with a username/password combo plus a second method of verifying the user's identity. The second method is something the user has physical access to, like a cell phone or tablet. This ensures that even if a hacker manages to obtain a user's login credentials, the information is useless without access to the user's secondary device.
The first time you access https://email.ucsf.edu outside of the UCSF network, you will be prompted to enroll in Duo. Follow the on-screen prompts to enroll.
The use of the Duo Mobile App is recommended and is available on the following devices:
Alternatively, if you do not own a compatible smartphone or tablet, a cell phone capable of receiving SMS text messages will also meet the secondary device requirement. Standard text message rates apply. See additional information about Duo Authentication Methods.
In addition to the Duo Mobile App, if you have a smartphone or tablet, please install and setup the Hitachi ID Mobile Access App. The web-based password managment tool where you would usually manage passwords is not available when off campus. The Hitachi App allows you to change forgotten passwords and reset your account if you are locked out due to multiple failed login attempts. When setting this up the first time, you will need to access the Password Management Tool via https://remote-vpn01.ucsf.edu.
4. Set Up UCSF Email
Before arriving at campus, you must be able to send/receive messages from your UCSF Email. Use of this email account is required for all communications involving UCSF business, research, and studies. You are expected to check this account periodically to stay apprised of all program and campus messages. In addition to being able to send/receive messages, you are required to enroll in the UCSF Password Management Tool and change your original password that was distributed by the Registrar. Please see First Time Login instructions on the Student Accounts.
Your use of UCSF Email is governed by the University of California Electronic Communications Policy. Additionally:
- The use of third-party email systems is not approved by UCSF. This includes the forwarding of email to an outside services (e.g. Gmail and Yahoo).
- Do not share your own or other people's email account or password.
- Don’t share our mailing list email addresses with people who are not affiliated with UCSF.
- Do not use your email account for unlawful activities, commercial purposes, personal financial gain, chain letters, unsolicited marketing, or letter bombs.
- When you send a confidential email, use Secure Email. Regular email is not encrypted by default.
5. Internet Requirement
You are required to have a home internet connection. Your connection speeds must be sufficient for high quality group video calling on Zoom: 1.5 Mbps upload and 1.5 Mbps download.
To test your connection go to: https://www.google.com/search?q=speedtest
If internet service is included with your student housing, this meets your internet requirement. All other students are responsible for selecting an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and purchasing service. You are responsible for the cost of this service, which averages about $60 per month. The largest providers in San Francisco are Sonic, AT&T, and XFINITY. Availability, speed, and pricing can vary depending on where you live and level of service you prefer.
If you’re not in campus housing and you’re using wireless at home, you must configure your wireless network with WPA encryption to comply with UCSF policy. If you’re uncertain about how to do this or how to confirm it, ask a knowledgeable friend or contact your internet service provider or the vendor of your wireless access point.
6. Meet School Specific Requirements
Your school or program may have additional or more specific requirements. Programs will notify students prior to orientation about these specifics. Please contact your program's administration office regarding these requirements.
- Graduate Division - contact your program administration office.
- School of Dentistry - no additional requirements.
- School of Medicine - no additional requirements.
- School of Nursing - see Computer Requirements under Admitted Students Resources.
- School of Pharmacy - see Technology Requirements.