Student Hardware & Software Guidelines

The University of Kentucky strongly recommends that each student purchase a personal laptop or equivalent device. A student's program requirements, budget, and preference should be the primary factors in choosing a device. Most devices on the market will meet basic needs; however, UK offers a few guidelines. We have also included some Frequently Asked Questions to help guide you in your decision.

College/Program Specific Requirements


Students should consider the major they will be pursuing, as some areas of study may have more stringent requirements than the minimum recommendations. For more information, please contact a representative from your college in the contact list below.


Minimum suggested hardware



  • Processor:
    • Intel: Core i3 minimum, i5 preferred, i7 optional, i9 optional
    • AMD: Ryzen 3 Quad Core Minimum, Ryzen 5 preferred, Ryzen 7 optional, Threadripper optional
  • Memory: 8 GB minimum (16 GB preferred)
  • Storage Capacity: 250 GB minimum (500 GB or larger preferred)
  • Wireless card: 802.11n minimum/Wi-Fi 4, 802.11ac/WiFi 5 preferred, 802.11ax/Wi-Fi 6 optional
  • Operating system must have the latest security updates installed and Windows Defender or Macintosh Gatekeeper enabled, both of which will be on by default.
  • Webcam (many laptops come with an integrated webcam and will not require an external device)
  • USB headset or headphones with microphone
  • Other helpful options: 8 GB or larger USB Flash Drive, external hard drive (for data backup/extra storage), 1920X1080 or better external monitor for desktop use, wired or wireless external mouse, video adapters (dvi/hdmi), and Kensington Security Slot laptop security cable


Tablets and other devices:

  • Recommended Tablet Platform: Major Brand Android Dual Core 1.3 Ghz or higher | Apple A9 or higher
  • Minimum Memory (RAM): 2 GB for Apple devices, 4GB for Android
  • Storage capacity: 32 GB or larger
  • Operating system: Most recent version for your hardware (Please check with your College/Program Contact for any specific OS requirements)
  • Other Devices: Chromebook
  • RAM: 4GB recommended, 8GB optional
  • CPU: 1GHZ Celeron minimum, Pentium/M3 recommended, core i3/i5/i7 optional
  • Storage Capacity: 32GB recommended, 64GB+ optional
  • Check with your college about software requirements first because Chromebooks will not run traditional desktop apps
Note: Because tablets and other devices (such as Chromebooks) have less storage than laptops and some software will not run on the OS, users with these devices and high-speed Internet connectivity can use UK's virtual desktop and virtual application environment, (Virtual Den), to expand the number of applications available to them. See further below in this document about the software this service provides. Also, many tablets have HDMI or USB ports for connecting external monitors, keyboards, mouse, headset, and other devices.


Distance Learning

Distance learning students are also encouraged to consider the following hardware, software, and Internet connection to ensure that all systems used by distance learning courses will function properly.

Note: For security purposes, it is recommended that Adobe Flash and Acrobat/PDF content be opened with Google Chrome browser and to install the Adobe Flash Plugin and Acrobat Reader if needed.


Other Considerations

Other considerations when purchasing include warranty, accidental damage plans, display size and resolution, weight of the hardware, battery life, and charging options. A warranty may help if the laptop/tablet experiences problems in the first years of ownership. The student should consider the most appropriate warranty for his or her needs and whether an accidental damage plan would be beneficial. Each student should also consider where and how he or she will carry and use the laptop/tablet and how to keep it charged. It is also recommended to bring a USB drive or have access to cloud storage when using computer labs on campus.



Visit to learn about software available free of charge or at a reduced rate. You may also visit UK's official OnTheHub by Kivuto store from the portal for additional software discounts.
In addition to downloadable software, students with high-speed Internet connectivity can access Virtual Den (Virtual Desktop and Virtual Application Environment), which provides access to general student lab software on any UK student's personal device (desktop, laptop, tablet). This allows anywhere, anytime access to a number of Windows applications, including SAS, SPSS, and Microsoft Office. See for more information. Mac users can access Virtual Den software just as easily as PC users.

Note: Through the use of additional software, Apple laptops with Intel-based architecture (all new Mac laptops) can run the Windows operating system either natively or as an emulated device; however, there is no supported way to run Mac OS X software on non-Apple hardware.




Last Updated: 1/2/19