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Hardware and Software Requirements and Recommendations

All on-campus students at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SSPPS) are required to own a computer that meets or exceeds the specifications given below. For the best user experience, however, we strongly recommend that any computer system meet or exceed the specifications given in the "Optional but Recommended" section.

Students in the Distance Degrees programs should consult the DDP office for computer requirements.

Hardware requirements are enforced only for students' computers, but we recommend that all faculty and staff observe these minimums as well.

General Requirements

  1. Equipment must be owned or leased for the exclusive use of the student.
  2. Computer must be a laptop or "convertible" laptop/tablet computer running an approved operating system.
  3. Equipment acquisition, maintenance and security are the responsibility of the student.
  4. All computers on campus must have an approved antivirus and antispyware utility installed and regularly updated.
  5. Class-related data must be backed up regularly. See the Data Backup Policy below.
Hardware and Software Minimum Requirements

    Laptop Specifications

    • 1.7 GHz Intel Pentium or Core processor (other Intel or AMD Athlon processors of equivalent performance are acceptable)
    • 256 GB Hard Drive
    • 4 GB RAM
    • Audio (via motherboard or SoundBlaster 16 equivalent)
    • 802.11ac wireless network interface (NIC)
    • Inkjet or laser printer for home use (a portable printer is not required)
    • Webcam and microphone

    NOTE: Chromebooks, iPads, Android tablets, "netbooks" and other devices that cannot run the full version of Windows or Mac OS X may be useful but are not at the present time considered to be acceptable substitutes for a laptop computer meeting the above specifications. 

    Internet Access Specifications

    Many examinations are conducted online.  As such, when taking an online examination, students are required to have access to an internet connection that provides minimum upload speeds of 1 Mbps. 


    Operating system:

    • Windows: Windows 10 or later
    • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.11 or later

         Productivity Software:

    • Windows: Microsoft Office 2016 or later **
    • Macintosh:  Microsoft Microsoft Office 2016 or later **

    Internet web browser:

    Google Chrome is required for the Proctorio exam proctoring system. You may also run other current web browsers, such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Microsoft Edge, etc, for other uses.

    Adobe Acrobat Reader (may be downloaded at no charge from Adobe)

    Current Antivirus and Antispyware Software

    **   The university offers Microsoft's Office 365 Pro Plus subscriptions to all enrolled students.  As part of that subscription, students may download Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook on up to five devices at no charge and may use those applications while they are enrolled in good standing at the university. Students who wish to purchase permanent licenses for Microsoft Office may do so when they graduate or otherwise leave the university.  For instructions on installing the Office applications, click here.  You will not be able to connect and download the applications until your UCD account has been activated and you have claimed it.

    Note:  Some SSPPS programs and some SSPPS faculty may have additional requirements for software or document formats.  It is strongly recommended that you consult with your department or program to confirm before you purchase any new computer or software. 

    Hardware/Software Optional but Recommended

    • 2.0GHz or faster Intel Core 2 Duo or equivalent AMD processor
    • 8GB RAM or more
    • Hard drive larger than 500GB
    • 802.11n or 802.11ac wireless networking  

    Data Backup Policy

    Beginning even prior to the first day of school, all students in educational programs in the SSPPS are required to make regular backups of documents and data related to their program and courses; cloud based* is highly preferred.  When a computer is stolen, malfunctions or becomes damaged, data loss can be a huge set-back.  Students are strongly advised against relying on a separate hard drive, thumb drive or local sources as backup.  For assignments requiring submission via E*Value, students are encouraged to load information into E*Value as soon as possible, not allowing it to accumulate for uploading at a later date.  Loss of data due to computer difficulties will not be considered a valid excuse for failure to meet requirements such as completing an assignment, meeting a deadline or performing on an exam. 

    Backup options:

    Software options can be used to backup data locally: 


         Windows Backup (included with your computer)



    Your computer may come with other backup software.  Consult your documentation or computer vendor.


         Time Machine (included with Mac OS X)

         Carbon Copy Cloner


    *Cloud-based services:

    These services store your data remotely in the service provider’s servers, keeping it safe in the event of an unforeseen event, such as fire or theft.  Many such services allow you to access your data from other computers anywhere in the world and automatically backup your computer at regular intervals (e.g. every 10 minutes).  These include:



         Norton Online Backup 

    Microsoft OneDrive can also be used for backup but it lacks the automated features a dedicated backup service (such as those listed above) may provide.

    The SSPPS does not endorse any particular service or software.  Evaluate the services and costs and select the one that best fits your needs.  If you have any questions, please contact the SSPPS IT Office.


Hardware/Software Optional but Recommended
Where to purchase
E-mail Required Usage
Data Backup Policy
Important Notes