Guide to Technology at UCSC for Students

icon of student cap and booksWelcome to UC Santa Cruz (UCSC), home of the banana slugs! This guide will help you navigate everything you need to know about technology as a new student at UCSC. Can't find what you're looking for or need further assistance? Don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • Tip: Bookmark this guide for quick reference.

How we can help

Information Technology Services (ITS) is the campus’s main information technology department. We are here to help with just about every technology need you might have–from laptop recommendations to free software to technical support where and when you need it. Learn more about ITS.

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Before you arrive on campus

Set up your campus accounts and passwords

Your UCSC account
You may not have realized it but you were assigned a CruzID when you submitted your application to UCSC. Your CruzID (or username), along with a strong password, is what you will use to log in securely to many campus services. You will use your CruzID throughout your time on campus. Your CruzID is also part of your UCSC email address, such as, where the "bslug" is the CruzID. Learn about your CruzID.

There are two primary passwords for your CruzID called Gold and Blue. The majority of campus systems use the Gold password authentication. Once you have submitted your application you will receive an email from Undergraduate Admissions with a link to set up your Gold password.
Learn about passwords and how to keep them safe.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Protect your CruzID account and Gold password with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for extra security. MFA, also known as two-step or 2-factor authentication, adds a second layer of protection. Once you're admitted to UCSC, you'll get instructions on how to set it up. Stay secure and get ready for a safer online experience. Set up MFA.

Update your lived name and identity

Take control of your identity! Update your preferred name and personal info to ensure it’s correctly used and displayed across all campus systems. Manage your name and identity.

Set up your campus email

Google Gmail is the campus email system. After you accept your admissions offer, you will receive instructions on how to set up your UCSC email account. Learn about UCSC email

  • Tip: Once you are an active student, all official campus correspondence will be sent to your UCSC email account, so remember to check it regularly. 

Become familiar with MyUCSC

MyUCSC is the online academic portal for students. You will use it to view your admission status, complete to-do items, enroll in classes, check grades, view financial aid and billing accounts, update your personal information, and more. Learn how to use MyUCSC.

Start using Zoom

Zoom is the primary tool for video conferencing at UCSC. You may already use Zoom before you arrive on campus and most definitely will once you arrive for things like meeting with instructors during office hours or attending online classes. Learn how to use Zoom and UCSC Zoom Quick Guide

  • Tip: All incoming and active students have automatic access to UCSC Zoom, so once you sign in with your CruzID and Gold password, you’re all set! 

Get your computer ready

Whether you’ll be using a computer you already have, purchasing a new one, or using a campus loaner laptop, here are a few recommendations that will help you get started.

Computer recommendations
Having a modern or updated computer not only helps you make the most of campus networks but also keeps you safe from malware and information security threats. Recommended computer specifications.

Purchasing a computer
Many computer manufacturers and retailers offer discounts to eligible students. Here are a few options:

Security requirements for all laptops and wifi-connected devices
The University of California requires all devices connecting to UC wireless networks to meet certain security standards. If your device doesn't measure up, it could get booted from the campus network. Stay connected by keeping your device secure by meeting the requirements.

Accidents happen, and you may lose or break your computer. UCSC encourages you to have an external hard drive for your computer and perform regular backups.

Forgot your laptop?
No problem! Once you arrive on campus, you may check out Dell Windows laptop computers and chargers from the self-service laptop kiosks or use one of the many computer labs located across campus.

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Your first few weeks on campus

Get connected

WiFi access
Wireless (WiFi) access is available throughout most buildings, classrooms, residence and dining halls, and even some outdoor spaces. There are encrypted, secure and guest network options as well as dorm/residential WiFi services devoted to on-campus residents. Learn about UCSC WiFi.

  • Tip: Use the encrypted wireless services eduroam on campus and ResWifi in the residential housing for the most secure connection.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)
To securely access UCSC resources while off-campus, you should use the VPN. It encrypts your internet traffic, ensuring it appears as if you're browsing from UCSC, even when you're not. This is essential for all students, faculty, and staff to maintain a safe and secure connection on any network. Stay connected and protected by using the VPN at all times. Install VPN on your computer.

Download software

You have access to a variety of free and fee-based software. Your college major or department may require specific software to be installed on your computer, so please consult them for requirements. Learn about student software.

Antivirus and malware software
Protect your computer, identity, privacy, and data. Download free antivirus software.

Stay cyber secure

Cyber threats are everywhere, but here's the good news: most of them are avoidable! Stay savvy and protect yourself online. By staying informed about potential cyber threats and vulnerabilities and adopting good cybersecurity practices, you can contribute to safeguarding UCSC and yourself. Protect yourself and stay safe online.

Get accessible technology

UCSC values the contributions of every student and respects the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, and abilities enrich the university community. Connect with the UCSC Disability Resource Center (DRC) to learn more about services for students.

Learn more about Accessibility for Students at UCSC, and report any barriers you encounter via the “Report an accessibility barrier” form located in the footer of UCSC websites.

Update your campus emergency notifications and contacts

The campus notification system, CruzAlert, provides critical information to the campus community during power outages, emergencies, and other situations that impact the campus. Update your CruzAlert notifications and emergency contact information.

Update your campus directory profile

Two weeks into the start of a new quarter, you will be automatically added to the Campus Directory with your name, campus email address, and affiliation, (undergraduate or graduate) unless you have requested a Non-Release of Information (NRI). Update your directory information or opt out of the directory.

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Throughout your time on campus

Online tools to help with learning and collaboration

Get ready to use MyUCSC, your go-to student portal. Enroll in classes, check your grades and transcripts, pay fees and tuition, manage your financial aid, update your personal info, and more—all in one place. Just log in with your CruzID and Gold password to get started. Start using MyUCSC.

  • Tip: When preparing your quarterly schedule, you can use MyScheduler in MyUCSC to create your plans.

Canvas is used to check your grades, submit assignments, contact your instructor, and take exams. You access Canvas with your CruzID and Gold password. Start using Canvas.

Virtually meet with instructors during office hours or attend online classes using Zoom. All students have automatic access to UCSC Zoom, so once you sign in with your CruzID and Gold password, you’re all set! Start using Zoom and UCSC Zoom Quick Guide.

Use UCSC Gmail to send and receive campus email. You’ll also have access to other UCSC Google services including Drive, Calendar, Sites, Groups, Classroom, and more. Start using UCSC Google services and access your campus email with your CruzID and Gold password.

Watch recordings of lectures, and create, store, and share media content and videos in Yuja. You access Yuja with your CruzID and Gold password. Start using YuJa.

View your grades, exam scores and feedback from your instructors on your assignments in Gradescope. This tool isn’t used for every major or class, as determined by your instructor. You access Gradescope with your CruzID and Gold password. Start using Gradescope.

Engage more deeply with texts and readings in Hypothesis. It's like writing notes in the margins of a text digitally, and your classmates can read and respond to posted annotations. This tool isn’t used for every major or class, as determined by your instructor. You access Hypothesis with your CruzID and Gold password. Start using Hypothesis.

Student Experience of Teaching Surveys (SETS)
Your feedback matters! You’ll use SETS to provide instructors with feedback that can help them better understand and make informed decisions about teaching and learning at UCSC. You access SETS with your CruzID and Gold password. Learn more about SETS.

Visit a computer lab

There are twelve computer labs across campus used for classes and general drop-in/open-use. There are also computer workstations and printing options available in McHenry and Science & Engineering libraries. Learn about computer labs.

Need to print?

All computer labs offer cloud-based, wireless printing. Your student account is automatically enabled to print, and charges are processed via the student portal MyUCSC. No cash/print cards are needed. Learn about printing.

Check out a laptop

You may check out Dell Windows laptop computers and chargers from the self-service laptop kiosks located at McHenry and Science & Engineering libraries. Check out a laptop.

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Get technical help

The ITS Support Center is here to help with all your technology needs at UCSC! Contact us for assistance.

Or if you live on campus in one of the residential halls or family student housing, direct support is available:

  • EMAIL:
  • CALL: (831) 459-4NET (4638)
  • VISIT: Rachel Carson College, Room 258 or Stevenson Casa 11, Room 125