Student Technology Recommendations

Student Technology Standards for the College of Pharmacy

The following technology standards are based on the Desktop and Laptop recommendations from the ITS support website found here:

New Computer Purchases

When College of Pharmacy students are purchasing a new computer, they should consider the following frequently asked questions:

What is your price range?
Most new desktop and laptop computers will have more than enough computing power for your average computing needs. Typically students will need to do basic word-processing, internet browsing and run other basic applications. Depending on what you plan to do with the computer, it may not be necessary to spend thousands of dollars on the most powerful computer technology available. Computers used for intense research applications such as Matlab, SAS or other powerful research software will need more expensive hardware capabilities for performance. Most students will not need a computer necessary to run these kinds of applications.

Should I buy a desktop or laptop computer?
Laptops offer portability but are more expensive than desktop computers. If you plan on using your computer on campus, in class or with a study group frequently, a laptop will be more appropriate.

Should I go with Apple or Windows?
Either an Apple Macintosh computer or a Microsoft Windows computer will work well for nearly every application that you will need as a student at the College of Pharmacy. It’s really a matter of personal preference as to which to use. Apple Macintosh computers frequently have more software limitations when compared to Windows Computers, but both have Microsoft Office available. Research software is almost exclusively the realm of Microsoft Windows computers and Apple computers will fall short in their ability to run those sorts of applications.

What are your suggestions for hardware for a new computer purchase?
Here are our suggestions for new computer specifications (again these are based on the suggestions found on the ITS website):

  • Operating System: Windows 8 or Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion
  • Memory: minimum of 4 GB RAM
  • Processor Speed: minimum of Intel Core i5 or equivalent
  • Hard Drive: 320 GB or larger
  • DVD Drive*: DVD +/- RW Dual Layer Burner or Mac Super Drive
  • Wireless: Any card that supports 802.11 g/n protocols and WPA2 Enterprise
  • Ethernet**: 10/100/1000 (gigabit)
  • Monitor (Desktop): 19" Monitor or larger
  • Screen Size (Laptop): 14" (screen size can impact cost and weight)

*As more software titles become available as downloads from the Internet instead of on DVD and other storage options have become popular (USB drives, cloud storage), the importance of an optical (CD/DVDdrive) has diminished. Some light weight laptops no longer include DVD drives at all.

**As wireless network access has become more prevalent, some laptop manufacturers have stopped installing Ethernet cards for network cable access in certain models of laptops.  We recommend having a USB Ethernet adapter, if you purchase a laptop without an Ethernet card, as a backup method of accessing the Internet, should wireless not be available.

Bringing a computer with you to campus

What do you recommend if I bring my own computer to campus?
Besides the specifications below, be sure to have a decent amount of free hard drive space available on your computer for any applications you might need to add later. Some research applications require a significant amount of hard drive space to install and for accessing large data sets. Here are our suggestions for existing computer specifications (again these are based on the suggestions found on the ITS website):

Recommended Minimum Configuration for Computers

  • Operating System: Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion)
  • Processor: Intel i3 or equivalent
  • Memory: minimum 4 GB RAM
  • Hard drive: at least 30% to 50% free disk space of your system drive's total capacity
  • Network: Wireless or Ethernet capable of supporting high-speed Internet access
  • Audio: Speakers for listening to lectures and other media and/or USB or Bluetooth for headphones
  • Video: Monitor/screen resolution of 1024x768 or greater

In addition, Information Technology Services requires all those using the University's network to have the most recent critical updates for your computer's operating system. The best way to ensure the latest updates are installed on a computer you bring to campus is to turn on automatic software updates. See for more information.

Furthermore, it would be best to have an external USB flash drive for moving data between computing devices. A simple USB flash drive with at least 4GB of space should be sufficient for most applications. For large research data sets, licensed application downloads and computer backup we recommend an external USB hard drive with at least 300 GB of storage.

Mobile devices (Tablets) and Smart Phones

What kind of mobile device (tablet) or smart phone do you support?
We currently support both Apple iOS mobile devices and Google Android mobile devices. Most modern smart phones and tablets run either of these two operating systems. Both are supported for use with campus ITS services such as the campus wireless network and Hawkmail.

Which do you recommend, iOS or Android?
Many medical and pharmaceutical applications and research library databases are available on iOS and the Apple App Store. The Pharmacy Practice Lab uses Apple iPads to teach a number of these applications. For this reason we currently recommend Apple iOS devices over Android. Any currently and previously available iOS device is supported, including first generation iPads and iPhones.

Where can I purchase an iOS device? Is there a student discount available?
New iOS devices such as the Apple iPad are available through the Univeristy Book Store Tech Connection in the Old Capital Center. There is a student discount available but it varies. Please contact the UBS Tech Connection for student and education pricing on these devices and accessories.

Further questions or concerns

If you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Pharmacy Helpdesk at 319-335-8649 or e-mail at