Laptop Requirements for SOM Students

VCU School of Medicine requires incoming medical students to own a laptop computer. Our goal is to provide an educational environment that promotes the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in technologically advanced clinical and research workplaces.

Students are required to bring a Windows-based laptop for ALL exams. Students may use an Apple laptop for day-to-day classwork, but MUST bring a Windows laptop for exams. Apple laptops are NOT allowed for exams in the School of Medicine due to incompatibility with certain required standardized exams (such as NBME.) Apple laptops running virtualized environments (such as Bootcamp, Parallels, VMWare, etc.) are NOT allowed for exam sessions.

Laptop computers must meet the VCU Student Computer Initiative (SCI) minimum requirements. In addition, School of Medicine student laptops are required to have digital video output and any necessary adapters to convert it to HDMI. This ensures a proper HDMI connection to the collaboration tables in the Learning Studios.

Students are expected to bring their laptop to class every day for use in classroom activities, self-paced learning materials, case studies, exams, quizzes, conferences, presentations and evaluations.

Students are expected to bring the peripherals necessary to use the laptop in the classroom and for exams, such as power supply, mouse, MiniDisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter, Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adapter, Ethernet adapter, etc.

Standardized tests (such as NBME) are incompatible with the Apple operating system. Incoming students are free to use Apple laptops for day-to-day class sessions, but a Windows-based laptop is REQUIRED for ALL exams.

Minimum requirements

RAM 8GB minimum
CPU Intel i3 or greater/equivalent
Operating System Windows 10
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 g/n (or greater)
Ethernet port and/or adaptor
2 USB ports
13" screen
Video out Digital output
(HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, or USB-C)
*see Additional hardware requirements


RAM 8GB or greater
CPU Intel i5 or greater/equivalent
Operating System Windows 10 Pro
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 g/n (or greater)
Ethernet port or adaptor
3+ USB 3.0 ports
15" screen
Video out Digital output
(HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, or USB-C
*see Additional hardware requirements

iPads, Android and other tablets, netbooks, Chromebooks, smart phones, eReaders and similar devices are not suitable replacements for a laptop computer. Windows tablets running Windows 8.1/10 PRO are suitable (Note: Windows 8.x RT Tablets are not suitable), though it is recommended you purchase a keyboard attachment.

If you have any questions please email

*Additional hardware requirements

  1. Students are required to provide their own Ethernet cable (plus any necessary adapter) to connect to Ethernet ports during exam sessions.
  2. Students are required to provide their own video adapters in order to attach to HDMI connections on the collaboration tables in the Learning Studios. For example, Mac laptop users will need to provide their own Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI or Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adapter.
  3. We strongly suggest that your laptop have at least 250 GB of free space available on the internal hard drive in order to download and run some of the School of Medicine eCurriculum applications. Also, we suggest a laptop with a 15” screen in order to better view diagrams and charts during exams.

Microsoft Software

VCU students may download Microsoft Windows and Office for both PCs and Macs at no cost as part of their Student Technology Fee. Click here for more information and to download the software.


Laptops obtained through VCU's RamTech program are academically priced, meet VCU and School of Medicine laptop requirements and include on-campus warranty service with next business day turn-around and free loaners in the event of a delayed repair. Find out more here.

Frequently Asked Questions