Technology Requirements for Students

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This page specifies campus wide technology requirements for students who are new to UCSF or purchasing a new computer.

Students should also review the Technology Introduction for Students which provides an overview of technology at UCSF.


  1. Computer Requirements
  2. Software Requirements
  3. Set up UCSF email
  4. Internet Requirement
  5. Meet 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.

Only for students entering in 2019
  • These requirements are for students entering in 2019.
  • Students entering in 2020: your requirements are expected to be available at this page in March 2020.
  • For previous versions of this document, see the Technology Requirements for Students Archive.

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.

  Recommended Minimum
Description 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.
Purchase Date Must have been purchased within the past 2 years.
Operating System Windows 10 (Pro, Education, or Enterprise)
macOS Mojave 10.14
Windows 10 (Home)
macOS High Sierra 10.13
Processor Intel Core i7 quad-core processor (8th Generation) Intel Core i5 dual-core processor (7th Generation)
Memory (RAM) 8 GB or more
Hard Drive 256 GB or larger Solid State Drive (SSD)
Warranty 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 2017 and 2018 MacBook Pro with 256 GB or larger SSD and 8 GB or more RAM meet our requirements.

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. 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.

# Software Description and downloads
1 Duo Mobile

Duo is a two-factor authentication application. VPN and online email access requires a second verification on another device to authenticate your identity. Duo provides several authentication options, but the most convenient is through the Duo Mobile smartphone app.

If you are accessing your email for the first time and you are not at UCSF, you will be prompted to enroll in Duo when you log in at Follow the on-screen prompts to enroll.

Android App
iOS App

2 Hitachi ID Mobile Access App

The Password Management Tool is not available when off campus. The Hitachi App allows you access these functions including changing forgotten passwords and resetting 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

Android App
iOS App

3 Device Encryption

Mac Users: Dell Data Protection Encryption (DDPE) is a file-based encryption application that prevents unauthorized persons from accessing legally protected information. Dell Data Protection Encryption. Please read and follow the instructions before installing or you may encounter issues:


Windows Users: DDPE has compatibility issues with some versions of Windows. Please use the Microsoft's Bitlocker and complete a Encryption Variance Request.

  1. Bitlocker is only available on Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education. If you do not have one of these, Windows 10 Education is available to students for free at UCSF OnTheHub. Be sure to keep a copy of the product key as it is only available online for a short period of time.
  2. 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.
  3. To enable BitLocker, search for "Bitlocker" from the Start menu and click the Manage Bitlocker shortcut. Click Turn on BitLocker to encrypt your device.
  4. Next, from the Bitlocker settings, select Back up your recovery key and follow the prompts for your preferred backup method. It's important to keep a copy in a safe place that you can access from another device. You will also provide this key to UCSF in the next step.
  5. Go to the UCSF IT's Encryption Variance Request and complete a form. You will need to confirm your email for Docusign and include information such as computer model, serial number, and encryption key.
4 IBM BigFix

Bigfix is used for inventory, software and patch management.

BigFix is included with DDPE installers.

5 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.

6 ForeScout SecureConnect

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.

7 Pulse Secure

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.

8 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.

9 Microsoft Office 2016

UCSF provides Office 365 ProPlus for Mac and PC users which includes Office 2016 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 2016 installer can be accessed by following the instructions below:


  1. Login to your UCSF Email:
  2. Select the settings icon from the upper-right menu
  3. Scroll down to Your app settings and select Office 365
  4. Select Install status from the left menu
  5. Click Install desktop applications
  6. Follow on-screen prompts to download and install Office 2016
10 Google Chrome

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.

11 Mozilla Firefox
12 VLC Media Player

VLC programs enable you to view and listen to a variety of media files.

13 Adobe Flash

Flash enables you to view and interact with Adobe multimedia.

Windows users only: Flash has separate installers for Firefox and Internet Explorer, you need to visit the download page in each browser to complete both installations. (Do Not Install Optional Offers)

14 Oracle Java Runtime Environment (JRE)

JRE enables you to run applications created for the Java software platform.

3. 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 Technology Introduction for Students.

Your use of UCSF Email is governed by the University of California Electronic Communications Policy. Additionally:

  • The use of third-party email services is not approved by UCSF--including the forwarding of email to an outside service (e.g., Yahoo and Gmail).
  • 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.

4. Internet Requirement

We require that you have a home internet connection. 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.

5. 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.