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Computer Requirements

College of Medicine Rule on Use of COM-Issued MacBook Computers

  • Students should use COM-issued laptops when connecting to the HSC network from home or on campus
    • This generally means when a student connects to any services provided by Texas A&M University (TAMU) or Texas A&M Health Sciences Center (TAMHSC) (e.g. eCampus, Medical Sciences Library, media server (i.e. recorded lectures), virtual microscope)
    • When connecting from home students must use a virtual personal network (VPN) connection
      • VPN software has been downloaded on the MacBook and instructions for creating the VPN connection can be found here:
    • COM-issued laptops MUST be used for classroom examinations using Examplify or the NBME browser as these require connecting to the TAMHSC network to upload the exam (Examplify) or take the exam (NBME)
    • Students MUST use their COM-issued MacBooks for note taking when on in-home patient care visits
    • Training in using the MacOS for Windows users is provided here (
    • Gross Anatomy lab practical exams will be taken on an iPad that will be provided by COM at the anatomy lab at the time of the exam
    • Affiliate hospital networks may not be secured. Encryption on your COM-issued laptop will reduce the risk of access to personal health information (PHI) that may have inadvertently been downloaded to the computer when it was connected the affiliate hospital network should the computer be lost or stolen.
    • The computer may not be purchased at the end of the lease per the College of Medicine lease agreement with Apple.

HSC-Related Rules on COM-Leased Computers


Laptop Policy 2018 Update

Dear Member of the COM Class of 2022:

The standard computing device first-year medical students will receive in July has the following specifications:

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro - Space Gray color
  • 2.5 Ghz Dual-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.0 GHz
  • Inter Iris Plus Graphics 640
  • 8GB 2133 Mhz LPDDR3 SDRAM
  • 256 GB PCle-based SSD
  • Force Touch Trackpad
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Backlit Keyboard (English)
  • User's Guide (English)

If you have questions about the computer, please contact us.

Paul Brandt
Associate Dean for Academic Technology and Curriculum Innovation

Laptop Policy

The Texas A&M College of Medicine requires that all students have a functional laptop at all times. This policy exists for two reasons:

  1. Our curriculum is paperless.
  • All notes are provided as PDF files. We will not prepare anything on paper, nor prepare materials in a printable form unless it is a requirement that they be printed.
  • We strongly encourage our students to learn to use computer-based formats and tools for study. The medical world has embraced paperless processes for all aspects of the practice of medicine. Once you are in practice, it is unlikely you will ever work with paper.
  1. All written examinations are currently given using computer-based testing programs. Some testing programs only work on Windows and OS X operating systems.


Windows-based Computer Minimum Requirements

  • Windows 10
  • Intel i5 or i7 processor
  • 250 gigabyte hard drive or 256 Gbyte solid state drive
  • 8 Gbytes of RAM
  • Wireless: 802.11ac
  • Ethernet cable, Cat-5E or greater
  • Ethernet-to-USB adaptor, if necessary


Macbook or Macbook Air Minimum Requirements

  • macOS 10.13 or later
  • Intel i5 or i7 processor
  • 250 Gbyte hard drive or 256 Gbyte solid state drive
  • 8 Gbytes of RAM
  • Wireless: 802.11ac
  • Ethernet cable, Cat-5E or greater
  • Ethernet-to-USB (or Thunderbolt) adaptor (Macbook Air and newer MacBooks)


Additional Technology Requirements & Recommendations

  • Microsoft Office Professional 2016 (see SELL program before purchasing) (required)
  • Access to high-speed internet service (required)
  • Data backup system ( HIGHLY recommended)
    • 4 Terabyte or larger external backup drive
    • Auto backup software
      • Time Machine for Mac
      • There are many good back-up programs for Windows. Acronis True Image 2017 is well regarded. Rebit and NovaBackup Professional are also popular and generally well reviewed. While we recommend having a program to auto-backup your hard drive or solid state drive in the background. We do not formally provide support for any of them.
    • OR
      • Cloud-based automatic backup



We encourage the use of tablets. Many students use them with success in all aspects of medical school. The Office of Academic Technology offers a list of suggested apps for your iPad to aid with learning and for general medical knowledge.

iPads can be used for ExamSoft and Blackboard Exams (the minimum required iOS for the iPad is 11.3). A Windows or MacOS laptop is required for in class NBME exams.

None of our examination programs work on Android tablets.