Technology Requirements 2021 (Archive)

Please see recent M1 chip status update below (as of May 18, 2021).

The requirements below are for PharmD students entering in Summer 2021. Past requirements are available in the archive section below.

macOS M1 Device Status Update (as of May 18, 2021):

  • If incoming students purchase M1 Macs, you will need to be made aware of the following:
  • You must meet the University’s anti-virus requirements as follows:
    • Anti-virus software must be active with current anti-virus signatures on computing devices connected to the network including laptop computers, desktop computers, and servers, except where there are significant compensating controls that would prevent virus infiltration. 
  • This does not have to be Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) if you buy and run your own anti-virus software that meets the University's minimum security requirement.
  • At this time, you must file your own proof of encryption with IT Security by submitting a FileVault encryption key as proof. Instructions to do this can be found at

PharmD technology requirements extend and/or supersede campus requirements:

  • All PharmD students are required to meet the UCSF campus Technology Requirements for Students.
  • The requirements defined on this page are inclusive of campus requirements. Please use this document as the PharmD technology requirements extend and/or supersede campus requirements.

Deadlines to complete requirements:

  • Students are required to make device purchases by June 14, 2021.
  • Students are required to complete all requirements including the installation of all software by June 14, 2021.
  • Technology Readiness Device Checks will be scheduled before online orientation to verify hardware specifications and installation of software. If you had issues with any software, assistance can be provided during this time.


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. Laptop requirements
  2. iPad and keyboard requirement
  3. Software requirements
  4. Set up UCSF email
  5. Internet requirement

1. Laptop requirements

You must own a laptop 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 laptop will likely not provide adequate performance through the end of your program.
Purchase Date Purchased within the past 2-3 years.
Operating System

Windows 10 (Pro, Education, or Enterprise)
macOS Catalina 10.15 or
macOS Big Sur 10.16 (see note below)

NOTE: macOS Big Sur 10.16 is not recommended at this time.  However, if your laptop was already pre-installed with Big Sur, you can retain this version. No downgrade is necessary. 

Windows 10 (Education)
macOS Mojave 10.14

Intel Core i7 quad-core processor (9th or 10th Generation)

Apple M1 processor (see exception below)

NOTE: Students can still purchase M1 devices as long as you file your own proof of encryption using FileVault (see status update above for instructions)

Intel Core i5 dual-core processor (7th Generation)
Memory (RAM) 16 GB or more 8 GB
Hard Drive 256 GB or larger Solid State Drive (SSD)
Webcam 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.
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 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 (Exception)

Newly released MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini will feature the new M1 chip and  ships with macOS Big Sur,  which is  currently is not compatible with UCSF's Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP).  However, you may still purchase or use a M1 device if you follow the exception instructions above (see status update at the top of the page). UCSF IT will announce support for the new Apple M1 chip in the latest Macs once a new SEP version has been released and 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. iPad and keyboard (recommended) 

A. Apple iPad or iPad Pro

  1. 9.7-inch display or larger
  2. 2 GB of memory or more
  3. 64 GB of storage or larger
  4. Supports iOS 14

The following models meet this criteria:

  • iPad Air 4 (2020) | 10.9-inch | 64 or 256 GB
  • iPad Air 3 (2019) | 10.5-inch | 64 or 256 GB
  • iPad 2020 (8th-generation) | 10.2-inch | 128 GB
  • iPad 2019 (7th-generation) | 9.7-inch | 128 GB
  • iPad 2018 (6th-generation) | 9.7-inch | 128 GB
  • iPad 2017 (5th-generation) | 9.7-inch | 128 GB
  • iPad Pro 4 | 11 or 12.9-inch | 128, 256, 512 GB, or 1 TB
  • iPad Pro 3 | 11 or 12.9-inch | 64, 256, 512 GB, or 1 TB
  • iPad Pro 2 | 10.5 or 12.9-inch | 64, 128, 256, or 512 GB
  • iPad Pro | 9.7 or 12.9-inch |128 GB

If you do not already own an iPad that meets these criteria, we recommend you buy the most recently released version of the iPad. We offer no other recommendation from this list and suggest that you make purchase decisions based on your budget, features, and preferences. If you plan on using your iPad as your primary device for taking notes, you may want to consider getting an iPad with larger screen and if you want the ability to use an Apple Pencil, please check for compatibility at

B. iPad keyboard

  • There is a large variety of keyboard manufacturers and designs; we offer no specific recommendation and suggest that you make purchase decisions based on your budget, features, and preferences.
  • You should expect to pay $100 to $200 for a quality keyboard and should consider the following features:
    • Folio-style or clamshell: a clamshell case that firmly holds your iPad in place will allow you to work more easily when desk space is limited. Folio cases tend to be lighter and cheaper but typically rely on a groove or magnet to hold you iPad in place and offer only a single propped-up angle to view the display.
    • Always-on or removable: Some cases make it difficult to use your iPad as just a tablet. If you plan on using the keyboard infrequently, you may want to consider a case that can be easily removed.
    • Bluetooth or Smart Keyboard: Certain iPads support Smart Keyboards, unlike Bluetooth keyboards, you don't need to pair or turn on your Smart Keyboard.
    • Typing experience: To varying degrees, all iPad keyboards offer smaller-than normal keys in a compact layout. You will need to be comfortable typing short answer and essay questions on your keyboard and we emphasize that you take this into consideration and use your keyboard often enough that you are comfortable using it during exams.

3. 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 Operating System

Mac Users: recommended version is MacOS 10.15 Catalina. If your laptop was already pre-installed with Big Sur, you can retain this version. No downgrade is necessary.

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.

2 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

3 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

4 Device Encryption

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:

  • ALL 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.
5 IBM BigFix

BigFix is used for inventory, software and patch management.

BigFix is included with Device Encryption installers.

6 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.

SEP is not compatible with M1 devices (refer to alternative FileVault encryption process above for instructions). 

ALL Mac Users (with Intel or M1 processor) - DO NOT download SEP.

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

10 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:

  1. Login to your UCSF Email:
  2. Select your profile icon from the upper-right menu
  3. Click My account
  4. Select Apps & Devices from the left menu
  5. Click Install Office
  6. Follow on-screen prompts to download and install Office
11 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.

12 Mozilla Firefox
13 VLC Media Player

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

14 UCSF ChimeraX

UCSF ChimeraX is the next-generation visualization program from the Resource for Biocomputing, Visualization, and Informatics at UC San Francisco. Will be used as part of your coursework.

ChimeraX can be downloaded free of charge for academic use. Please download version 0.6

Version 0.6 for macOS

Mac Note:  Users on Big Sur, download version 1.1. 

Version 0.6 for Windows

Windows Note: To run ChimeraX, you need to have a recent Microsoft Visual C++ runtime installed from Microsoft. In particular, you should install vc_redist.x64.exe. Typically, it is already present on computers with up-to-date patches. And in the future, it will be included as part of the installer.

15 ExamSoft Examplify App

You are required to install ExamSoft Examplify on your iPad and laptop and use this software for all computer-based exams.

Login information for ExamSoft will be provided during Orientation.

iOS App

macOS and Windows

16 Citrix Workspace

Citrix is used to access our electronic medical record system called APeX.

17 Zoom Client

UCSF utilizes Zoom as it's web conferencing solution and it is an integral part of delivering remote education.

18 Lexicomp

Clinical drug information system that can be accessed online or using an app.

UCSF School of Pharmacy will provide you with a license during orientation.

Android App
iOS App

19 Berkeley Madonna

Berkeley Madonna is a mathematical modeling software package.

UCSF School of Pharmacy will provide you with a license during orientation.

Version 10 for macOS or Windows

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 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.

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:

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.


Technology requirements for student pharmacists entering in: