University of Illinois College of Medicine

AY 2022-2023

Computer Requirements (Chicago Students)

All students entering the University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOM) at Chicago are required to have a laptop computer at the time of matriculation. There are not, however, requirements in terms of model, manufacturer or technical specifications.

Please note that we will provide tech support service only to currently enrolled Medical, SPP, and PostBac students whose laptops meet the minimum recommendations listed below.

These are the minimum and recommended hardware specifications for your laptop. In most cases newly or recently purchased laptops will meet or exceed the minimum specifications. The recommended specs are what we feel will be a more optimal configuration for your laptop. The minimum specs are what we feel will be the bare minimum configuration for your laptop. Feel free to exceed the recommended list if you are able. You will be a student for the next four years (or more for MD/PhD students) and combining this need with our years of experience as a support office we have created these recommendations.

Processor 8th Gen Core i7 or better (or the AMD equivalent). Apple M chip. 5th Gen Core i5 or better (or the AMD equivalent). Apple M chip.
Operating System  Windows 10, Mac OS 10.15 or later
Hard Drive 500 GB or more SSD 250 GB
Memory (RAM) 8 GB or more 4 GB
Screen Size 17” or larger color monitor (desktops); 13” screen or larger (laptops) Minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 with 32-bit color setting
Video output Digital video output, such as an HDMI or Thunderbolt/Mini DisplayPort

Suggestion: if you can add a secondary screen, it might help your workflow. For example, Apple has introduced Sidecar which means you can use your iPad as an extension of your laptop screen.

Outputs You must have the appropriate connector dongle to connect to HDMI if your laptop does not have an HDMI port.
Webcam You must have a functional webcam, either in your laptop or if your laptop does not have a webcam, an external one. 
Web Browser Most recent versions of Chrome, Firefox and/or Safari. Do not use beta versions of software as you may encounter unintended issues.
Browser Settings
  • JavaScript enabled
  • Cookies enabled
  • CSS enabled
  • Pop-ups enabled
Warranty 3-4 Years parts and labor + Accidental Protection 3 Years parts and labor
Wireless ** See information on UIC wireless, including requirements. Read the specifications carefully, your computer must meet the requirements to access campus wireless! See information on UIC wireless, including requirements. Read the specifications carefully, your computer must meet the requirements to access campus wireless!
Region Manufactured for U.S. distribution Manufactured for U.S. only

**UIC-WiFi uses WPA2 Enterprise Security. WPA2 Enterprise implements the 802.11i security standard, which includes government-grade AES encryption and 802.1x authentication. The specific authentication method that we use is PEAPMSCHAPv2
Optional Considerations – almost always, your tradeoffs are size, weight, and price.

  • We highly recommend you purchase headphones at your discretion and financial ability; even better is to purchase a headphone with microphone set. They range widely in price so keep that in mind. Some brands to check out: Beats, Apple AirPods, Skullcandy, & Sennheiser. For testing, you may also want to invest in some good ear plugs if you take exams remotely and your location is noisy. While wireless / bluetooth options are great, you might want to ensure you also have headphones that can be hardwired into the headphone jack to your laptop in case the wireless connection stops working for some reason.
  • All of the instruction materials you are required to use will run under either the Macintosh or the Windows platform. The decision whether to purchase a Macintosh or Windows-based computer must be made by each student.
  • Upgrade to Solid State Drive (SSD) on laptops offering SSD to improve performance, especially during startup. Upgrade to larger, high-speed (7200 rpm vs. 5400 rpm) hard drive for improved performance by allowing faster access to applications and documents. SSDs generally do not store as much as you can on a traditional HD, but are lighter and faster. Consider an external drive for storing more data.
  • Upgrade to a larger battery if weight is not a concern to increase the amount of time the laptop can be used without having to plug into a power outlet for recharge. Be aware that batteries degrade over time and must be replaced when run time is no longer sufficient.
  • Purchase screen size approximately 12″ to 13″. A larger screen generally provides higher resolution and therefore more information on the screen at one time. If scrolling is a problem, then consider a computer with a larger screen. A full size keyboard is suggested, but going beyond a 15″ screen is not recommended due to added weight, and finding a 17″ laptop is becoming rare. This is your call, however, you have to look at it and you have to carry it around. Students are expected to bring their laptop to class for use in classroom activities, unless informed otherwise.
  • Zoom, the web meeting software, is used extensively for content delivery. Make sure you have the latest version of the Zoom client on your laptop and/or mobile devices. You can download it from the following location Once it is downloaded you should use your NETID and university password to log in for meetings and class sessions.
  • Webcam: As we reference above, a webcam is required and you should have your webcam turned on during online activities unless you are in an environment where the Internet connection is unstable. Your instructors will let you know when it is not necessary to have your camera turned on. There are virtual backgrounds in Zoom, including a way to simply blur your background.

Tablets (Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, Motorola’s Zoom, Windows Surface etc.) and Netbooks (super small laptops with limited memory and processing power) do not meet the minimum hardware requirements for UICOM. That being said, a tablet can make studying portable, and certain activities are easier on a tablet or smartphone than on a laptop.

In general, our students think that laptops are necessary, and that use of a smartphone and/or a tablet can be of (considerable) additional utility. Desktops are considered not necessary. We can not recommend a tablet as your ONLY computing device. There are still certain educational programs that will not operate optimally and/or the workflow of the learner does not support using a tablet completely. There are times when using a laptop is easier, and our current web slides for Histology and Pathology courses will not work correctly on iPad – we are working to address tablet compatibility for these applications.

Some students find it useful to own a printer, others find they can be “paperless” with the use of a tablet computer. There are b/w and color printers available for “pay-to-print” in Edelstone Student Lounge (basement of College of Medicine West Tower (CMWT) as well as near the elevators on each floor in the Learning Center. You can print to these from your laptop – see for more information on UIC Campus Printing.

We recommend installing anti-virus protection on your devices. Here are two alternatives:

The webstore also has reduced software pricing for other student Microsoft purchases (not all Microsoft products are free, but the ones that are not are much cheaper for you).

Read the small print to make sure you are purchasing the right version for your status as UICOM students (it’s different for faculty and for UIS, UIUC, etc).

Most teaching and learning locations in the College of Medicine, as well as in the dorms, cafeteria and the Library of the Health Sciences (LHS) have wireless network access. For more information on UIC wireless, including requirements, please see Read the specifications carefully, your computer must meet the requirements to access campus wireless! You will also find it useful to have high-speed Internet access at home, if you intend to study there.

The Chicago campus computer store has Windows and MacOS laptops that should meet the minimum recommended standard. You must make your purchases directly through them to receive the discount, either in person or via phone (312) 413-5513. NOTE – you will want to purchase your Microsoft Office software via the Webstore, not at the campus computer store, as the campus provides preferred pricing online only.

Contact the Office of Financial Aid to see if you qualify for an adjustment to cover the cost of devices:

Finally, we strongly discourage you from purchasing a service contract or warranty from anyone other than the original equipment manufacturer (Sony, Dell, Apple, HP, etc). We have experienced significant difficulties in dealing with 3rd party support vendors. Unfortunately we are not able to provide loaner laptops to students, but do provide 24/7 access to a small number of computers in the Edelstone Student Lounge.

Feel free to contact our Help Desk at [email protected] if you have questions about your purchase decision.

last updated June 29, 2022