Recommended Computer Specifications

To Whom Does This Policy Apply?

These recommendations apply to all current and incoming students at Jefferson College of Health Sciences.


Jefferson College recommends that every student preparing to enter the school own or have access to a computer that meets the minimum specifications outlined below. This will allow you to participate in all required educational activities at the college. If you already own a computer, please review the recommendations to see how well your computer matches up. If you are planning to purchase a new computer prior to beginning your studies, the recommendations below should help you in selecting one that will serve you well throughout your time at Jefferson College.

If you do not own or have access to a computer that meets these specifications, we cannot guarantee your success in your academic endeavors.

Note for Students Enrolled in Online Programs

If you are enrolled in one of our online programs, then you are REQUIRED to have a computer that meets the minimum specifications outlined below. Our online programs make heavy use of current online learning technologies to deliver content, manage student work, and provide interactivity between students and faculty. You will need to be adequately prepared to interact with these technologies.

No student will be denied admission to Jefferson College based on an inability to purchase a computer. Financial aid funding may be available to assist students with their computer purchases.

Computer Specifications

The following table outlines the specific Jefferson College computer specifications.




Intel i-Series processor

Operating System

PC: Windows 8 or Windows 10
Mac: OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) or above


4 GB or higher (if you are purchasing a new computer, shoot for 8 GB)

Hard Drive Size

500 GB or higher standard drive or 256 GB or higher solid state drive

Additional Drives

  • External hard drive for backups
  • USB/flash drive for moving files between computers


  • 100/1000 Mbps Ethernet port
  • Wi-Fi capability (for laptops): Dual-band 802.11ac or dual-band 802.11n capable
  • Note: High speed internet connection recommended


Most laptops have built-in webcams, but if yours does not or if you are using a desktop machine, you will need to purchase an external webcam. While every student’s computer setup is different, in general Logitech webcams seem to work well with Blackboard Collaborate and other video-based applications. Visit the Logitech website to view their current webcam offerings. After selecting a model, be sure to visit other sites (e.g., Amazon, Best Buy) to find the best price.

Headset or Headphones

While every student’s computer setup is different, in general Logitech headsets seem to work well with Blackboard Collaborate other audio-based applications. Visit the Logitech website to view their current headset offerings. After selecting a model, be sure to visit other sites (e.g., Amazon, Best Buy) to find the best price. Note: If you use headphones or earbuds that do not have a built-in microphone, you will need to obtain a separate microphone. Many external webcams also include a built-in microphone.

Antivirus protection

  • Windows 8 or later: Windows Defender is included.
  • Mac users: Sophos or Avast

See below for additional information on virus protection.


  • Microsoft Office 2010 or higher
  • Mozilla Firefox web browser – latest version
    • This is the preferred browser for Blackboard use.
    • Additional recommended security add-ons are described later in this document.
    • Google Chrome is also acceptable. In fact, it is best to have more than one browser available.
  • The latest version of the Flash Player for your browsers. Note: Be sure to UNCHECK any “Optional offers” that appear when downloading this program.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Note: Be sure to UNCHECK any “Optional offers” that appear when downloading this program.
  • VLC Media Player for playing media files.


You may want to consider adding an extended warranty and accidental damage/theft protection to your computer. Accidental damage/theft protection can usually be purchased through your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy.

Note on Tablet Computers
Although iPads and other tablet devices provide enhanced portability and functionality, they may not be able to meet all of the computing needs of a student. If you choose to purchase one of these devices, it should be viewed as a supplemental device to your desktop or laptop computer. We do not guarantee that a tablet will be sufficient to allow you to complete all of your required coursework.

Virus Protection and Security

You are REQUIRED to have current antivirus protection installed and running on your computer. This is particularly important if you have a laptop that you will be connecting to the college’s Wi-Fi network. For antivirus protection on Windows computers, we recommend using Windows Defender, which is already installed on computers running Windows 8 or later. It is free, works reasonably well, and does not require you to pay yearly licensing fees. Note: If you are still running Windows 7, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials for free, which is the same thing as Windows Defender.

For Mac users, Sophos and Avast are two highly regarded free antivirus programs.

We also recommend that you download and install the free Malwarebytes Anti-Malware program (click on the Free Download, NOT the Premium or Free Trial). It detects and removes malware like worms, Trojans, rootkits, rogues, spyware, and more. It does not run in the background, so you have to initiate a scan on a regular basis (e.g., monthly) or if you suspect that your computer is infected. We recommend that you run a scan at least every two weeks.

Browser Add-ons
Here are some additional recommended security add-ons for your web browser. These add-ons work with the Firefox web browser, which is the recommended browser for use with Jefferson College’s Blackboard system. Other browsers have add-ons that perform similar functions.

AdBlock Plus: The AdBlock Plus add-on prevents annoying and potentially-malicious advertisements from appearing on the webpages you visit, including Flash-based ads and popup ads. It can also be configured to block domains known to spread malware, protecting your computer against viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, and adware.

NoScript: The NoScript add-on blocks all scripts from running on a web page unless you specifically allow them. Many kinds of malware are launched via scripts on webpages you visit. These scripts can run in the background, and you may not know that you are infected until your computer and its data have been compromised. NoScript may require an extra click here and there to set the permissions for various web pages, but it will serve as another line of defense to prevent your computer from becoming infected.

Data Backups

It is your responsibility to maintain the integrity of your data to prevent loss that could lead to academic penalties. You are therefore expected to back up your data on a continual basis. There are many free and low-cost options available for backing up your data, ranging from external hard drives to online backup and storage services.

Students who experience problems with their computers that lead to data loss within 24 hours of an assignment being due should contact their course instructor(s) immediately in order to document that the loss of data prevented them from completing an assignment. Students who do not backup their data or consult with their instructors will be liable for any academic penalty associated with incomplete or missing assignments.

Support and Service

Carilion Clinic Technology Services Group provides support for issues related to network connectivity, Blackboard, Jefferson College email, Citrix, and EPIC. They DO NOT provide support for students’ personal devices. This includes the installation or repair of hardware, installation or configuration of operating systems or third-party software, and the removal of viruses and other malware.

Note: This policy is reviewed annually in October to ensure that the specifications remain current.

Updated 11/7/2017