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BUSM Laptop and Tablet Requirement

Boston University School of Medicine requires incoming MD students to have a laptop and tablet computer to access course content and to use for examinations. While all of the instruction materials will run under either the Macintosh or the Windows platform, the decision whether to purchase a Macintosh or a Windows-based computer must be made by each student.

Many students find the use of a tablet (Android, IOS, Chrome) facilitates note-taking, highlighting and indexing of content using the available tablet applications.  Please see details in the next section for minimum requirements since some required software (such as ExamSoft’s Examplify and NBME’s Secure Browser) is not fully supported on many types of tablets.

Laptops are required for the BUSM I Histology course (virtual microscopy), course examinations, and testing by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). Wireless internet connections, and some power outlets support laptop use in the Alumni Medical Library, large lecture halls, and common spaces and study spaces throughout the medical campus. Wireless and mobile (smartphones, tablets etc.) printing is available in the Library and in the L-Basement.

Student laptops must meet the minimum requirements listed below. Additional suggested options for consideration are likewise included below. Please visit the BU Sourcing & Procurement website for recommendations. You may also visit BU Information Services & Technology (IS&T) Shop Online site for links to Lenovo BU, Dell BU, and Apple BU (Apple requires BU login) as well as Adobe and Microsoft software.

Students can have their laptops registered with the Boston University Police Department to aid in theft deterrent and enable return of stolen or lost laptops. Registration for students is free of charge.

Once students have obtained a BU login name and Kerberos password, they can download and install McAfee anti-virus software free of charge. This includes the spyware portion and all future updates. Other anti-virus software must be removed before installing McAfee. Also, Microsoft Office for BU Students is available for a free download, with permission to download only one copy of EACH version of Office (Mac OS and Windows) offered (BU login required).

Minimum Requirements for BUSM Tablet and Laptop Computers

ExamSoft’s Examplify Requirements:

NBME Requirements:

(See NBME Best Practices for Web-based Testing on Wireless Networks)

Both ExamSoft’s Examplify and NBME requires an External Keyboard, either USB or Bluetooth. Bluetooth keyboards must be paired prior to launching exam. An external mouse might be easier to use compared to a built-in touchpad mouse but it’s not a must.

Both ExamSoft’s Examplify and NBME’s web based tests cannot be used on virtual operating systems such as Microsoft's Virtual Machine, Parallels, VMware, VMware Fusion or any other virtual environments.

ExamSoft’s Examplify & NBME PC (Windows) and Mac (OS X & macOS) Requirements:

(See PC requirements, Mac requirements)

Optional Considerations Prior to Laptop Purchase

The Alumni Medical Library's Computing Services Help Desk staff, based in L-1109, will provide assistance with student laptops after matriculation, including providing a laptop loaner service for students whose computers are being serviced by BU or outside repair shops. For more information about school or department related software, please contact your school's administrator. Please contact Jason Yee, Head of Library Computing Services, by email at or telephone (617) 638-4279, or Selim Hascelik, Assistant Director of Library Computing & Systems by e-mail at or telephone (617) 638-6696 for additional information.