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Mandatory Student Computer Ownership Policy

The School of Law requires that each first-year student have a notebook computer sufficiently equipped to be used to support essential research, classroom, and communications tasks. Upon arrival in the fall, students will be assisted in setting up their computers to access the law school’s wireless network and will later be shown how to make their computer eligible for use in computer-based exams. The law school is convinced that requiring all students to own portable computers will increase their productivity and efficiency, improve institutional communications, and prepare students to effectively use this essential business tool.

Options for Satisfying the Computer Ownership Requirement

  1. Use a Mac OS Sonoma, Ventura, or Monterey, or Windows 10/11 computer you already own (if it meets our minimum specifications, below). 
  2. Please note that Chromebooks, HP Chromebooks and Windows 11 SE Surfaces are not supported by Examplify for their exam software. Only PCs and Macs that satisfy the minimum specifications below are supported by Examplify.  We also do not support iPads for our version of Examplify.
  3. For students who prefer PCs, visit the USC Dell membership page.
  4. For students who prefer a Mac, you can order online at the USC Apple Education Store or visit the Gamecock iHub store on campus.
  5. Visit the University Division of Information Technology's Information for Students page to learn more about recommended computer requirements.

For Clinic students: You are required to have your laptops encrypted. Mac users already have access to FileVault. Windows 10 users can acquire a free copy of Windows 10 Education to enable BitLocker; follow instructions in this knowledge base article to get started.

You are welcome to use a computer that you already have, but it is important that it meet (and preferably exceed) the minimum requirements listed below to ensure that it will provide you with the type of service that you will need throughout your law school career.

Feature Minimum Specifications
Computer type PC (Windows Based)


  1. Minimum 2 GHz Intel Core Duo i3 Processor or equivalent. ARM based processors are NOT supported by Examplify.
  2. 8 GB RAM
  3. 250 GB hard drive
  4. Windows 10 22H2, Windows 11 22H2, and Windows 11 23H2 (64 bit)
  5. 802.11 Wireless Network Card — Standard with all computers.
  6. If laptop – built in webcam and microphone. If desktop, you may need to add a webcam and microphone depending on model.


  • Students interested in a Microsoft Surface should note that ONLY Surface models that support the full version of Windows 10 are supported by the Examplify examination software. Those models include the Surface Pro, the Surface Laptop and the Surface Book. Those using a Surface Pro/Surface Laptop/Surface Book or another supported Surface device should pair it with an external keyboard (USB or Bluetooth).
  • Netbooks/Chromebooks/iPads  are not supported hardware for Examplify.

Apple Macintosh

  1. Intel Core Duo Processor (or better) or M1 or M2 Processors
  2. 8 GB RAM
  3. 250 GB Hard Drive
  4. Mac OS Sonoma, Ventura, or Monterey
  5. 802.11 Wireless Network Card — Standard with all computers.
  6. Built in webcam and microphone – standard with all Macs.
Display 14.1” or larger XGA/TFT display — Smaller display is OK.
Video Card 32 MB, or greater
PC Card Slots 1 or 2 Type II slots
USB Ports For PC (Windows Based) — 1 or 2 USB 1.X or 3.x ports.
For Apple Macintosh — 1 or 2 USB 1.X, 3.x or USB-C ports.
Operating System Windows 10 22H2, Windows 11 22H2, and Windows 11 23H2 (for PCs) or Mac OS Sonoma, Ventura or  Monterey (for Macs) are required.  Chromebooks, and Windows 11 SE are not supported by Examplify. We also do not support iPads for Examplify as well. 
Word Processing Software Microsoft Office 2016/Office 365. Microsoft Office 365 is installed on all Commons Area computers.
Warranty 3 Year, On-Site Warranty (strongly recommended)
Wireless Network Card (required to access the School of Law’s wireless network throughout the Law Building) Laptops come standard with a built-in wireless card.
Standard Ethernet Network Card (optional) Typically built-in gigabit ethernet on most but not all notebooks (ideal if you plan to connect to high-speed cable connections at home)
Printer (optional) Recommended laser jet printer. Avoid ink jet printers if possible.
Headset Microphone  (optional) Either headset microphone or earbuds to use with built in computer microphone.
Second Monitor  (optional) Second monitor for use with laptop or desktop.
USB Flash Drive (aka — Pen Drive, Memory Key, Thumb Drive) (optional) Small, portable USB device (with varying storage capacities) useful for backing up data and moving data between computers.
Carrying Case (technically optional, but functionally essential) If your computer does not come with a padded case with sufficient room for your computer and supplies, you will need one for safely transporting it around the building.
Insurance (again, optional, but a very wise, and surprising inexpensive way to protect your investment) If you computer is not covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s policy against theft or damage, you should consider purchasing a computer insurance policy. Several companies write this type of insurance which can cover repairs or complete replacement of damaged or lost/stolen computers. Several companies worth considering are:


Additional Resources

Commons Area

There is a Commons Area located on the first floor adjacent to the Law Library. Twelve networked desktop computers are available for law student use. At present, the Commons Area computer labs are equipped with Windows-based computers, all of which are connected to our network and the Internet and loaded with a full complement of word processing, web browsing, and other useful software programs. There are seven public workstations located throughout the Law Library for public use.

Laser printing is managed through the University's Sprints Student Printing System.  There are two Sprints Kiosk Stations in the Commons where students can print via credit card or Carolina Card cash.  Instructions can be found here.  You may add Carolina Cash to your account through Self Service Carolina. You are well-advised to supplement the School of Law’s printing facilities with your own printer at home.

Laptop Support

The law school technology staff is prepared to help you get your computer connected to the wireless network and prepare it for use with Examplify, our online examination software. There are some services we are not equipped to provide, however.  Services NOT provided by School of Law technology staff:

  • Internal or external hardware repair
  • Computer partitioning and reformatting
  • Operating system installation and restores
  • Backing up and restoring personal data, including photos, videos and music files
  • Support for operating systems other than Windows 10, Windows 11, Macintosh OS X, iOS and Android

Please check with your software/hardware vendor or outside ISP provider if you experience any of these problems. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Financial Aid Implications

Students who wish to add the cost of a personal computer to their loan funds should schedule an appointment with a counselor in the University’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, 1244 Blossom Street, Columbia, SC 29208, by calling 803-777-8134. Bring the invoice or receipts for your computer purchase with you to the appointment.

Need Help with Computer Questions?

If selecting a computer is causing you any worries, please don’t hesitate to contact Kendall Harkless, Director of Academic Technology  for the USC Rice School of Law Academic Technology Department, at 803-777-5247 or via email at

Student technology support is available at the Academic Technology Suite, Room 202.  Visit our Knowledge Base for answers to your most common questions. Need further help? Open a help desk ticket. (be sure to select “Joseph F. Rice School of Law” in the field “From whom are you seeking assistance?”) 


(Updated 8 May 2024)

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