It is recommended that all incoming freshmen and transfer students have a laptop. A laptop is an essential tool, used for everything from simply checking email and registering for classes to creating design work, recording sound, editing video, crafting short stories, screenplays and poems, and completing writing assignments in Critical Studies coursework.

Students entering their first year are welcome to bring in a laptop they already own as long as it meets minimum requirements specific to the area of study the student is entering. For some students this will be all they need. Students who are entering a design intensive program should consider purchasing a laptop as recommended below at the time they enter that program.

It is the sole responsibility of the student to make sure that they have access to the tools needed to complete their coursework. A laptop is no exception. There are computer labs available but the University does not provide laptops to students. For more information please see the Laptop FAQ.

About Bundles

We have online stores set up with Apple and Dell respectively to make purchasing easier. Each bundle consists of a laptop and an extended warranty. If you should choose to purchase a new laptop that is not one of the recommended bundles we strongly encourage you to also purchase an extended warranty. Students have free access to Google Drive but may also want to consider purchasing an external hard drive or a cloud backup solution to backup their work. Please note that Apple store bundles are subject to change based on manufacturer changes to product availability. Every effort is made to keep these recommendations up-to-date.

About Software

Software is provided for free on laptops meeting the minimum requirements. A complete list of available software can be found on our Software page. Please note that, although Microsoft Office is not provided by the university, an online version is available from Microsoft for free for students. Our Help Desk can help you access it!

Minimum Recommendations:

  • Acting
  • Art Education (MAT)
  • Composition
  • Creative Writing
  • Devised Performance (MFA, GC)
  • Directing, Playwriting & Production
  • Instrumental Performance
  • Jazz Studies (MM & GD)
  • Music Education (MM & MAT)
  • Musical Theater
  • Vocal Performance
  • Writing for Film & Television

There is no minimum recommendation. A working laptop which can support a reasonably recent operating system - OSX 10.11 (El Capitan) or Windows 10 64bit - should be fine. Be advised that if taking classes in other areas some software requires a more recent operating system and/or a more powerful laptop. 

  • Book Arts & Printmaking (MFA)
  • Craft & Material Studies (lower tech track)
  • Dance
  • Film & Media Studies
  • Museum Exhibition Planning & Design (MFA)
  • Studio Art (MFA)

Any laptop that has:
Processor: Intel® Intel 6thGen or newer CPU 
RAM: 8 GB of RAM or more
OSX 10.11 (El Capitan) or Windows 10 64bit

  • Craft & Material Studies (higher tech track)
  • Design for Social Impact
  • Film Design
  • Fine Arts
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Industrial Design
  • Music Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology*
  • Museum Communication (MA)
  • Museum Education (MA)
  • Photography
  • Product Design (MDes)
  • Theater Design & Technology 

Apple Bundle One
13-inch MacBook Pro
2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
512GB SSD storage
AppleCare Protection Plan
Or equivalent Windows laptop
OR
Apple Bundle Two
15-inch MacBook Pro
2.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz
16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory
512GB PCIe-based SSD
AppleCare Protection Plan
Or equivalent Windows laptop
*OSX is preferred over Windows. Some software will not run on Windows.

  • Film & Animation
  • Film & Video
  • Photo & Film Media

Apple Bundle Three
15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID
2.9GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i9 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz
16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory
512GB PCIe-based SSD
Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
AppleCare Protection Plan
Or equivalent Windows laptop

Windows Recommendation

  • Animation
  • Game Art

Students who plan on entering Animation or Game Art will have lab computers available but may also want a laptop.

64-bit Windows 10 Professional
CPU: 64-bit Intel or AMD multi-core processor with SSE4.2 instruction set
GPU: Graphics card with DX9 (shader model 3.0) or DX11 with feature level 9.3 capabilities; examples include nVidia GTX or Quadro series RAM: 8 GB min, 16GB or more recommended
Disk Space: 500 GB min, 1 TB or more recommended
Pointing Device: 3-button mouse

More info about minimum requirements can be found on these pages:
Unity system requirements
Maya system requirements