Computer Recommendations

All Harvard Medical School MD and DMD programs students are required to own a laptop computer for classwork and exams.

The following are the minimum hardware requirements for laptop computers:

  • MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with 13” display, macOS 10.13 or later, Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB storage.
  • Windows compatible laptop with 13” display, Windows 10, Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM, 256GB storage.
  • Built-in or external microphone
  • Built-in or external webcam
  • Broadband internet access (Cable or DSL) over wired or wireless network with a minimum 600kbps upload and download speeds. You can check your internet speed by visiting: https://www.speedtest.net

HMS IT strongly recommends the following system configuration for an optimal computing experience:

  • MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with macOS 10.15 or later, 13” or 16” Display, Intel Core i7 or better processor, 16 GB or more RAM, 512 GB or larger SSD.
    • Important: Apple MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers are not upgradeable after purchase.  Please plan your purchase based on potential future needs, even if it means spending more now.
  • Windows compatible laptop with Windows 10, 13"-15" High Definition display, Intel Core i7 or better processor, 16GB or more RAM, 512GB or larger SSD.
  • An extended service plan that covers accidental damage.
  • A second AC adapter (power supply) is handy if the original is lost or damaged.
  • Built-in or external microphone
  • Built-in or external webcam
  • Broadband internet access (Cable or DSL) over wired or wireless network with a minimum 600kbps upload and download speeds. You can check your internet speed by visiting: https://www.speedtest.net

Software Recommendations

HMS IT requires that all computers used on campus have basic security software installed.  Harvard Medical School uses ESET Antivirus and CrowdStrike Anti-malware. Please email itservicedesk@hms.harvard.edu or stop by the HMS IT Computer Resource Center located in TMEC 225.

HMS and HSDM use Zoom web meeting software for virtual classes and meetings. You can download the latest version at https://zoom.us/download.

HMS Strongly recommends the use of backup software.  When used correctly, backup software can create a backup of the important files and personal data stored on your computer in case of hardware failure or other loss.

All HMS and HSDM students are issued an @hms.harvard.edu or @hsdm.harvard.edu email address.  To access your email, you will need a mobile device with Duo installed.

Exam Software 

Students are expected to use their personal laptops for all exams.  In the event your laptop is unavailable due to loss, damage or repair see the Student Loaner Computer Service section below.

Examplify
  • Requirements for PCMac, and iPad.
  • Download Examplify here.

Note: Operating systems prior to Windows 10, Mac OSX 10.13, and iOS 11 are no longer supported.

NBME SHELF Exams

Student Loaner Computer Service

The Computer Resource Center located in TMEC 225 offers the Student Loaner Computer Service to HMS and HSDM students under the following circumstances:

  • Exam loaners: When a student's personal computer is unable to pass the necessary exam qualifications or is otherwise unsuitable to run the exam software, we can offer a loaner computer during the exam.  Exam loaners are issued during the certification period just before the exam and are returned at the end of the exam.
    • Exam loaners are offered to students taking HMS sponsored exams using Examplify or NBME SHELF exam software.
  • Repair loaners:  HMS MD and HSDM DMD students are eligible for loaner computer when their personal computer is undergoing repairs at a repair facility.  This computer is returned within 7 days or when the repair has been completed, whichever occurs first.
    • Repair Loaners are limited to HMS MD and HSDM DMD Students only.  Faculty, staff, FAS/HST and other program students are not eligible for repair loaners through this service.  Please check with your individual school or department.

For more information about the Student Loaner Computer Service, please email itservicedesk@hms.harvard.edu or stop by the HMS IT Computer Resource Center located in TMEC 225.