School of Medicine Laptop Information

The Laptop Requirement

All incoming UNC medical students must bring a laptop to the program. This year, for the first time, the school is allowing incoming students in the Class of 2017 to choose which devices they want to use for their course work and online testing. Whatever you choose, the device must meet some minimum requirements to be compatible with the online testing system. If you find that your device is not compatible, you will need to provide one that is.

Minimum requirements:

  • The operating system must be one of the following:
    • Windows (Vista, 7, 8)
    • Mac (10.7, 10.8)
    • iOS devices (iPad, etc.) do not appear to be compatible at this time
  • The device must be able to run one of the following browsers:
    • Internet Explorer
    • Firefox
    • Safari
    • Chrome
  • The device must have a physical keyboard and mouse or similar pointing device (e.g., touch pad on the keyboard). Software keyboards on a touch screen have been problematic in the testing system, and they cannot be used.
  • The device must have the ability to connect to a wired Ethernet network. Therefore it either must natively have an Ethernet port or must be able to use an Ethernet port adapter to connect, and you will be required to bring this adapter to all exams.
  • You are required to provide your own Ethernet cable for taking online tests.

Other related notes:

  • Students will be required to download and install a system monitoring agent, which will be used to monitor activity on your machine during online tests. The software displays on the testing room proctor's screen a thumbnail of each examinee's desktop, which provides visual proof that students are not consulting any other website during an exam. The monitoring system software is installed only on the local machines in the testing rooms, and it only works when it is launched at the time of each test. It is only used to ensure the integrity of our testing environment and is never used for any other purpose or at any other time. Students cannot take examinations without this software.
  • Several other pieces of software must also be installed, and this will be done during orientation week with the assistance of staff from the Office of Information Systems (OIS).
  • All machines connecting to the School of Medicine network will be automatically monitored by the Network Access Control (NAC) system. A NAC agent will automatically be installed on your machine and will report back to the network whether you have required network configurations, such as proper antivirus protection and the latest software security patches. Improperly configured machines will be blocked from network access until corrected.
  • Much course material is delivered in PowerPoint format. To gain the most from your coursework, your machine should be able to display PowerPoint presentations.
  • Your student fees pay for a Microsoft Office site license. Prior to arriving on campus, you will be sent instructions on how to download and install the latest version of Office Professional (for Windows and Macs).
  • You must bring your laptop to every exam. A few loaner laptops are available, but students are not permitted to borrow a loaner or Ethernet cable more than once.

Carolina Computing Initiative

Students are free to purchase any device they want, from any source. However, we would like to make you aware of the Carolina Computing Initiative (CCI), which provides high quality laptops at competitive prices.  There are several benefits to participating in the CCI Program:

  • CCI machines come preconfigured with a fully loaded software package that is ready to attach to the campus wired and wireless networks.
  • Laptops purchased through CCI come with a full 4 year warranty and insurance and are fully supported by the Office of Information Systems in the School of Medicine.
  • They meet all of the minimum requirements listed above.
  • If your CCI machine ever requires hardware repair, there is a factory authorized repair facility on campus that can turn machines around in minimal time. Loaner laptops are available for checkout while the laptop is being repaired.

For more information and to order a CCI machine, please see the 2013 SOM CCI Brochure.

The deadline for CCI purchases to be available in time for orientation is July 19, 2013.

Note: Many students from previous years found a tablet with pen capability combined with Microsoft Office and OneNote to be very effective in their coursework. Models of interest in the brochure include the Thinkpad X230t and the Thinkpad Helix Ultrabook. The X230t runs on Windows 7. All others run on Windows 8.

Online CCI Order Form

Computer Support Options

When making the decision to purchase your device, there are several items to consider when selecting the right device for you.  The most significant difference between the CCI or non-CCI device is the level of support that you will receive.  Below is a matrix detailing the variance in support.

SupportCCI DeviceNon-CCI Device
Network Registration X X
Email Configuration X X
Standard Software Install & Troubleshooting X X
Machine Reimaging X
On Campus Hardware Warranty Repair X

Standard Supported Software

  • Microsoft Office (Windows, Mac)
  • Internet Explorer
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Safari
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Cisco VPN
  • Microsoft Forefront EndPoint Proection (Antivirus software)


Please use this form to contact us for more information.