IT Essentials

IT Essentials

The IT equipment you need to study with us...

Personal computer

To access online course materials, undertake assessments, ask questions and engage with your peers, you will need a laptop computer.

Recommended specifications

  • Windows 10 or later
  • Mac OS 10.15 (Catalina) or later
  • Intel i5/i7 CPU (or equivalent)
  • 8/16GB RAM
  • 512GB hard drive
  • 13”/15” screen

Other considerations

  • Processing power is less important than weight (light) and battery life (long).
  • The more RAM you have the better.
  • An SSD hard drive can speed up some processes, but is not essential.
  • A touch screen can be useful for annotating notes, but is not essential.
  • Some schools or disciplines in the area of Engineering, Geosciences and Computing will expect you to run software on the device to complement the course. Due to this requirement, iPads & Chromebooks may be unsuitable. If this affects you, it is worth checking with your school if there are further specifications you need to consider.

We do not make official recommendations on the specific make of laptops, but it is worth noting that many of the major PC vendors offer discount schemes for students.

Reliable internet access

On campus and in University Halls, you can use the eduroam wireless network.

Off campus, you need a reasonable download speed. We broadly estimate at least 2MBps so that you can take part fully in live sessions. See Tips for choosing a Broadband deal.

Speakers, headphones, webcam

Most of our online courses feature audio so you’ll need your laptop’s built-in speakers.

You may also need a microphone to participate in online tutorials and group activities. Your laptop may feature a built-in microphone, but a headset with built-in microphone and earphones can also be useful.

In addition, a webcam is useful for some interactive sessions.


Microsoft 365

All registered students can download a copy of Microsoft 365 at no charge. This means you can use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other Microsoft 365 apps for free.

Other Software

The Software Download Service allows you to download and install some of the software packages for which the University holds a site licence onto your personal PC, at no cost.

IT Issues

If you have any IT issues while studying with us, our IT Service Desk is here to help. Log in to, where you can:

  • Chat with us during working hours
  • View self-help solutions
  • Report an IT issue

Or email us at

Find out more about IT Services for students

You'll find more about other IT Services for students on these web pages and on Toolkit – your digital companion for the University of Aberdeen.