Technical requirements for students FAQs

Will I need to bring in a laptop when studying at LSHTM?

When you are studying onsite at LSHTM, it is expected that you will need to bring in a laptop to view recorded lectures, participate in group calls and to carry out most of your computer based work. If you do not currently have a laptop and need some advice around what to look for, please see the FAQ below titled ‘What should I look for when buying a new laptop?

What should I look for when buying a new laptop?

When purchasing a laptop there are a few factors to consider:

Windows or macOS?

Most people will be more familiar with using a traditional laptop from manufacturers such as Dell, HP and Lenovo which run the Windows operating system (either Windows 10 or Windows 11). If you are familiar and experienced with using macOS then a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro may be your preferred choice.

Please be advised that we do not recommend the use of Chromebook as this does not allow access to some software applications and offer little storage as they are mainly web browser or cloud-based.


As well as taking in to account your preferences around the look, weight and size of your laptop, there are some technical features you should also note when considering buying a new device:

RAM: This is used to juggle multiple functions and applications at once. 8GB of RAM is fairly standard, but for more powerful or resource intensive work you may want to consider 16GB or 32GB of RAM.

Processor: The better the processor, the faster and more powerful your computer will run. Whenever you open an application, load a file or carry out any tasks, it is the processor that makes it happen. For Intel processors, the i3 range is at the lower end of the scale but we would recommend an i5 or i7 if possible. There are laptops that come with other processors such as AMD Ryzen which have a similar spectrum and offering.

Storage: Many modern laptops come with a SSD (Solid State Drive) storage rather than the traditional HDD or hard drive. Whilst a SSD is preferable, a lot quicker and more reliable than a HDD, they are generally more expensive and for the equivalent price of a SSD you will usually get more storage space with a standard HDD. For a SSD, 128GB is the minimum but we would advise getting a 256GB (or higher) SSD. For a HDD, a 500GB or 1TB storage space is ideal.

Other things to consider when purchasing a laptop are battery life, the ports and connections available e.g. HDMI, USB, USB-C etc and the sound and video quality.

Is a tablet such as an iPad sufficient as my primary device?

Modern Android or iOS tablets have many benefits including being easy to carry and store and generally being lower cost than a laptop. They are great for web browsing, checking emails, notetaking and watching videos. However they are less powerful than traditional laptops and have other limitations which will restrict what software you can install and run on these devices.

What services and support are available for me when using my own laptop at LSHTM?

There are a whole range of services and systems available for you to access on your device. This includes downloading Microsoft Office, connecting to the Eduroam wireless network, Horizon Remote Desktop and self-service printing via any of our multifunctional print devices. 

You can also access or download a whole range of statistical and specialist applications from our intranet and Service Desk.

Our IT Service Desk offers lots of guides and instructions on accessing the above mentioned services and there are also training material and sessions available to you. If you run into any difficulties with installing or using any of these systems, our Service Desk team will assist you with getting you up and running.

What happens if my personal laptop stops working or isn’t working as it should?

If you encounter any issues installing or running any of our school software, our Service Desk can assist with troubleshooting or guiding you through this process. We also have lots of knowledge items and help guides available on our self-service portal.

If there are other issues with the device itself, such as hardware problems, you may need to go through your warranty process (if applicable) or to visit a repair shop or the Apple store for macOS devices. Whilst our Service Desk may not be able to carry out repairs or extensive work on your personal device we will offer advice and suggest some solutions to you.

Will I need a Webcam and Headset?

In today’s world we are increasingly watching more videos, listening to more audio and participating in virtual meetings. Almost all smartphones, tablets and laptops will have a built-in webcam, but we also strongly recommend you carry and use a set of Headphones or Earphones. If you intend to use LSHTM study space, please note that headphones will be required.

This will ensure you have better quality audio, more privacy and less sound interference when doing the above activities and it will also help minimize noise levels to those around you.