IT essentials for online study

The IT equipment you need to study online with us:

Computer essentials

You’ll need a computer – a PC, laptop or Mac, operating on:

  • Windows 8 or later
  • Mac OS 10.12 (Sierra) or later.

All our teaching materials are mobile, smartphone and tablet friendly. However, you’re likely to need a proper keyboard for completing assignments.

It’s best to have access to your own computer. Sometimes we may ask you to download software for your course, which may be an issue if you’re on a shared device like a work computer.

Reliable internet access

With reasonable download speed. We broadly estimate at least 2Mbps so that you can take part fully in live sessions.

Speakers or headphones

Most of our courses feature audio, whether it’s video lectures, audio clips or podcasts.

For some courses, you may also need a microphone to participate in online tutorials and other group activities. Your laptop or computer may feature a built-in microphone – but a headset with built-in microphone and earphones is useful if you’re likely to study in an environment with background noise.

A webcam may also be useful for some interactive sessions.

A browser

Our online courses are compatible with all current internet browsers except Internet Explorer. Recommended browsers include:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Safari.

We recommend using the latest version of these browsers.


We’ll give you access to Office365 applications, both online and on up to five personal devices.

This means you can use online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for free.

If your course requires any specialist software, then we’ll provide you with copies of this and a licence that lasts throughout your studies.

We offer a Software Download Service, with useful software for all our registered students. Some software, eg MiniTab, may be Windows-only, not for Mac.

PDF reader

Some of the resources on your course will be provided in PDF format, so you’ll need access to a PDF reader like Adobe Acrobat Reader.

As a University of Aberdeen student, you can download and use the full Adobe Acrobat software, which allows you to create, edit and view PDF documents. Once you register with us, we can make Adobe Acrobat available to you via our Software Download Service.

Virus protection

We recommend downloading virus protection software.

See our handy Toolkit guide for more information and guidance on anti-virus software.

IT support

When you study with us online you’ll have access to the same IT support as our on-campus students. This includes:

  • a University of Aberdeen email address
  • personal file space on the University network that you can access remotely
  • our Remote VPN, giving you secure, authenticated access to your personal file space
  • access to Toolkit, our award-winning IT support resource
  • access to our expert IT Service Desk.

After you pay for and enrol on a course, you’ll create a username and password for your personal IT account.

You’ll use this username and password to access your course via MyAberdeen, our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

You’ll also use this to access your University email account, where all your course-related emails will be sent.

What is Toolkit?

Toolkit is our award-winning resource for students, full of free apps, tutorials and guides to make study life easier.

It features lots of free digital skills training, with guides to common programs you’re likely to use when studying online.

Basic IT skills

If computers are new to you, take a look at the Toolkit guide to Basic IT Skills. It features easy-to-use guides to computer basics.

Toolkit features lots of free digital skills training, so you can learn how to use common programs, including:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint.

Toolkit features a really useful IT Induction for New Students too.

As an On-demand Learning student, you’ll also have free access to Percipio – simple online training in a range of software, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop and more.

IT issues

If you have any IT issues while studying with us, our IT Service Desk is here to help. For assistance, you can:

Their normal operating hours are 8am-5pm GMT (BST). An out-of-hours helpline operates from 5pm to 8am GMT (BST) weekdays and provides 24-hour cover over weekends and public holidays.

The IT Service Desk can assist with problems accessing course material or downloading software that we offer. Some technical issues encounter may be caused by the equipment (PC, laptop) you have, but if we can help, we will.