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Computer Policy

All students admitted to the master’s degree program are required to have their own personal computer, printer, and Internet service provider before they begin classes. A high-speed Internet access (through cable or a phone company) is preferred instead of dial-up service. Use of a Blackberry or similar handheld device as a sole means of accessing the Internet is insufficient, especially if you are a Distance Education student.

The program does not endorse any specific equipment or software or minimum processing speeds, hard drive space, or other specifications. However, it is safe to say that your computer should be “relatively new” and be able to run several programs simultaneously (e.g. be on the Internet and have Word documents open) and allow you to view videos clips. New and improved hardware and software are rapidly becoming available, which is why no specific recommendations can be made.
With regard to computer literacy, students must be comfortable using major programs, such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. As a USC student, knowledge of VIP and Blackboard are required. Additionally, students should be proficient using e-mail (including attachments), Internet search engines, and saving documents on portable storage devices (such as “flash” or “thumb” drives). Being able to install/uninstall and download software is necessary to participate in the distance education activities.
The counseling-related classes require that you have access to digital recording equipment. If you can borrow from someone, there is no need to invest in equipment. Early in the program, most ordinary hand-held digital cameras are sufficient (if they have a recording function). In later classes, a recording camera (such as you would use in making home movies or recording sporting events) will be more useful. Also, if you live close to the Columbia campus or can make a trip to campus, the MRC program has built-in recording equipment in two counseling rooms. Students are welcome to use this equipment. Graduate assistants are available to provide assistance in scheduling the rooms and using the equipment.

If you have specific questions about the computer hardware and software requirements, contact John Holcomb at