Buying a Computer

General Information

This information is meant only as a general guide for students in purchasing a computer for classes at the School of Nursing. In many of your courses, you will be required to access and complete your class assignments online.  Each course may have different requirements and it is your responsibility to arrange access to a compatible computer and understand the requirements for your classes.

Using an Older Computer

If your computer is a Mac or PC capable of accessing the Internet and is two years old or newer, it may be sufficient for downloading course materials, doing your homework, and participating in online courses. If your computer is more than two years old, you should check the table below to be sure your system meets recommended requirements.

Purchasing Guidelines

It is recommended students purchase a laptop instead of a desktop, though a desktop is acceptable. With a laptop you have the flexibility to bring your computer to class for note-taking, to the library for studying, and to any campus location for working on group projects. Additionally, it is important to make sure you have a long-lasting laptop battery as power outlets are not always available.

Look for Recognized Brands

School of Nursing's IT does not recommend particular vendors or models, but rather recommends specifications, features, and functionality. It is recommended that you choose a nationally recognized brand when selecting computer systems and components as they tend to produce good, reliable products.

Shop Around

To get the best deal on a computer,  compare prices online and in stores. Look at reviews too, as these can warn you of potential problems with the computer model you are considering.  Be sure to include the U-M Computer Showcase in your search, as it offers very good hardware and software prices for registered students.

Recommended Configuration for New Computers

Memory (RAM)
4 GB or higher. The more memory you purchase, the more programs you are able to run simultaneously.
Hard Drive
120 GB or higher. If you are storing a lot of photos, music, and videos you should consider purchasing a larger hard drive.
Battery Life
At least 5 hours is recommended.
Removable Storage
USB drive - 4GB or higher
Often called a flash drive, jump drive, pen drive, keychain drive, or thumb drive
Built in wireless is essential (802.11 g/n). Built in Ethernet may be required for your course.
Antivirus Protection
A free Microsoft Security Essentials download is available to U-M students.
Purchase a warranty for the duration of your program, especially for laptops.
Optional Accessories
  • Headset with built-in microphone
  • Printer
  • Additional battery
  • VGA adapter for connecting to a projector
Microsoft Office