New Students – IT Requirements and Support
It is important that new students are aware of technology requirements, as well as how we can help you.
We feel a laptop computer is the most important piece of IT hardware that a students needs for their studies, and as such we would recommend all students have access to one.
It is important to note that different disciplines will have different requirements. Recommendations need to be geared towards the right tool for the job. Your School will contact you directly if there are any requirements for your programme of study that are different to those set out here.
The university has no preference on whether students make use of a Windows or Apple laptop, but students should ensure their laptop is running Windows 10 or Mac OS Catalina (10.15). You should avoid using Chromebook laptops; we have often found these devices cannot run software that is required for some degree programmes.
Recommended Equipment Specifications
Windows and Mac laptops come in a multitude of specifications, we would recommend that at a minimum newly purchased laptops meet these specifications:
- Processor: Intel i5 (10th Gen + ) or AMD Ryzen 5 3500U
- Ram: 8Gb DDR4 2400
- HDD: 256GB SSD
- Battery: 3 Cell 50 WHr Long Life
- Display: 14 inch FHD (1920x1080)
A built-in webcam and microphone so you can participate in live synchronous digital teaching
A good capacity battery that will give you ideally a whole day’s usage
Ideally, a warranty that covers the full time you are studying at the University. Then you can be certain that any problems later can be fixed by the manufacturer without further expense.
The advice above is based on recommendations to students looking to buy new devices, rather than the level of technology we expect a student to have access to. You may well find ways of being able to engage with our University services with lower cost devices – so please don’t feel obliged to purchase new appliances as it is likely that your current device will be sufficient.
We believe this will fully support your studies, as well as being suitably future-proofed for your years with us, avoiding any requirement to upgrade or secure another replacement device.
Our estimated cost of such a device is approximately £550.00, although we would encourage you to look for the best prices and deals. Having a look at this list of sites may help you find some of the best available deals Unidays, HP store, HP students, Lenovo deals, Dell advantage (students).
We have recommended an i5 processor to ensure future proofing, it is also a minimum requirement to run some programmes utilised by many of the science subjects . However, outside of this you may find an i3 processor is suitable for your course.
Make sure you bring all the adapters and power supplies you need and make sure you have plenty of chargers and phone cables. Here’s a short checklist:
- Mobile phone cables and chargers
- Some electrical adapters if you are travelling from outside the UK
- An electrical extension cable which are handier than you might imagine
- A long, wired network (ethernet) cable as a more reliable alternative to wireless if your laptop has an Ethernet port
- Some electrical adapters if you are travelling from outside the UK. The University accommodation services provides advice on suitable electrical adapters
Given the reliance upon technology, we have significantly increased the available loan provision of laptops to our students, both Under Graduate and Post Graduate.
Short-Term Laptop Loans (up to 7 days with three possibilities for renewal totalling 28 days) for occasional use, or your primary laptop is unavailable or not working, or isn’t able to support a particular task. These laptops are available from all IS Libraries (Library Locations) with the largest stockpile at the Main Library EdHelp desk.
Long-Term Laptop Loans (for students in hardship) are also available. Eligibility criteria and further information can be found on the Medium & Long Term Laptop Loans webpage.
Mi-Fi Units (for students in hardship) provide Wi-Fi to all wireless devices via SIM and should ensure you have a reliable internet connection wherever you are. You can apply for these by contacting EdHelp who will also be able to answer any questions you have about this service. Units can be collected from the Main Library or posted, whichever is most suitable.
Webcams are available to all students, please visit the EdHelp desk in the Main Library if you would like to collect one.
Headsets are available to all students at University libraries on request. These are available to help students with participating in online lectures, seminars etc.
The University will attempt to provide all students with the necessary software for their studies - free of charge. The following list of software is available to all students and should cover most general learning activities.
- Office software: You do not need to purchase any Office software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc) before you arrive at the University. Instead, you can download the latest version of Microsoft Office for free at https://www.ed.ac.uk/is/get-office
- Cloud storage: You will also have access to a Microsoft OneDrive account with one terabyte of free cloud storage.
- Password software: As a student of the University the software "LastPass", which functions as a useful way to manage multiple passwords, is also available free of charge.
For more specialist software, provision is delivered through our central open-access PC labs (rooms of PCs freely-accessible to University members) and school-specific processes.
For all campus-based students there is reliable and free WiFi available across the University estate, including the halls of residence.
For step by step instructions on how to connect to the University WiFi, please watch this short video on getting connected.
- Video: How-To: Connect to eduroam
- A how to guide for connecting to eduroam at the University of Edinburgh.
If you are studying in a location that doesn't have an internet connection, 4G and 5G mobile data will provide minimum suitable connectivity, although service provision will vary by time and location. Your available data usage will depend upon the contract you have with your broadband or mobile data provider. To help guide you on what will be required, 2.5GB of data would tend to allow you to watch 3 hours of standard definition video in a day, and so 75GB per month. Your individual requirements will therefore depend upon the number of lectures, videos and content you need to access throughout the month.
Further information on getting connected to our WiFi can be found on our configuring devices pages. Alternatively, if you would like to download our WiFi setup app right now, it is available directly.
If you need help connecting to Resnet or eduroam via wired connection, please visit the relevant EdHelp page.
What if I am struggling with connectivity, or need an Ethernet cable? The EdHelp desks at both King's building and the Main Library are giving each student in need a free Ethernet cable, the main receptions at Halls of Residence should also have them available. As well as this, if a student is struggling with connectivity they are invited to ask a member of staff at either of these desks for advice. Adapters (Ethernet to USB C/3.0) are also available at the EdHelp desks. If you need help connecting to Resnet or Eduroam via wired connection, please visit the relevant EdHelp page.
eduroam WiFi is available across the entire University campus (including halls of residence). It is the WiFi service used across most education institutions around the world.
The ResNet service (for devices that cannot accept a username and password to connect to WiFi, e.g. Alex, PlayStation etc) is additionally made available in halls.
If you are having issues connecting your device to eduroam, please visit eduroam connection issues
If you experience a slow WiFi connection or poor signal we recommend for the best speed and stability try connecting to the network port at or close to the desk in your bedroom. To do this you’ll need a network cable which we can provide to you. Please ask at your house or site office, or at either of the EdHelp desks in the Main Library or the Noreen and Kenneth Murray library in Kings Building. In order for these devices to connect to wired network (ResNet) they must first be registered in the Device Portal.
Open-access PC labs (freely-accessible rooms of PCs) are available across campus, the University also provides mechanisms to remotely run the software applications you need for your course. This allows you to run the software you need from your own device, from any location. For a guide to this, please visit our guide to accessing remote software. A full list of applications now accessible at home is also available.