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Computer Buying Guide

The WVU Reed College of Media requires its entering freshmen and transfer students to have their own laptops for use in media classes and projects.

Students will also be expected to have access to a smartphone with a photo resolution of at least 5 megapixels for work they will create in class. It must be able to capture both still photographs and video. This decision was made to help address the growing need for digital skills in the media professions and for our students’ need for continuous access to software for individual and collaborative work.

Students may use a Mac-based or PC (Windows) laptop, as long as they have the minimum specifications noted below. Chromebooks are NOT acceptable for classwork, as they do not meet the specifications listed.

Mac Operating System Requirements

Advertising and Public Relations, non-Broadcast Journalism, Sports and Adventure Media, Multidisciplinary Media Studies

Macbook Air 13"
$1,27 (includes AppleCare)

  • Apple M2 chip with 8 core CPU, 8 core GPU, 16 core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 256GB SSD storage
  • 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone
  • 1080p FaceTime HD camera
  • MagSafe 3 charging port
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
  • 30W USB-C Power Adapter
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID - US English

Broadcast Journalism, Game Design and Interactive Media

14" Macbook Pro
$2,029 (includes AppleCare)

  • Apple M1 Pro with 8-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • 67W USB-C Power Adapter
  • 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI port, SDXC card slot, MagSafe 3 port
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID - US English GDIM and Broadcast/Multimedia

* Prices current as of Spring 2023 from the online Apple Education Store.


Minimum Windows Operating System Requirements

Dell computer purchases can be made at a discounted price for students at dell.com/wvu

Dell XPS 15"
Approximate cost w/ Dell support and tax $1,449

  • Processor: 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-12700H (24 MB cache, 14 cores, 20 threads, up to 4.70 GHz Turbo)
  • Operating System: (Dell Technologies recommends Windows 11 Pro for business) Windows 11 Pro, English
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3050, 4 GB GDDR6, 40 W
  • Display: 15.6", FHD+ 1920 x 1200, 60Hz, Non-Touch, Anti-Glare, 500 nit, InfinityEdge
  • Memory: 16 GB, 2 x 8 GB, DDR5, 4800 MHz, dual-channel
  • Hard Drive: 512 GB, M.2, PCIe NVMe, SSD

Software Requirements

Microsoft Office and Sophos anti virus software are free for WVU students. Visit it.wvu.edu/it-services/students for download and installation instructions.

Many College of Media courses also use Adobe Creative Cloud. This software is available in computer labs in Martin Hall and the WVU downtown library. Adobe offers a discounted rate of $19.99/month or $239.88/year for students at adobe.com/creativecloud/plans.html.

Students receive unlimited Google Drive cloud storage with their MIX email address.

Anti-virus software is available at no cost at freeav.wvu.edu and Microsoft Office and other software is available through WVU Information Technology.

Students are encouraged to purchase a 2TB external hard drive for backup and storage.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Will financial aid be available to help pay for the laptop or other equipment?
If you qualify for financial aid through the federal FAFSA process, it is possible that some of the cost of the computer - because it is required - could be included in your expected expenses. It is suggested you visit or contact the Mountaineer Hub to discuss whether this is an option for you. The Mountaineer Hub is located on the 2nd floor of the Evansdale Crossing and can be reached via email at wvuhub@mail.wvu.edu or by phone, 304-293-1988, Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Eastern Time.

Q. What happens if I have problems with my laptop?
We strongly suggest students purchase insurance and warranties for their computers. (Students may want to check with their family insurance agents about renter’s insurance and/or with a vendor such as Safeware: http://www.safeware.com/.) WV doesn’t provide computer repair services. Contact a local private shop for your repair needs. The College continues to maintain desktop computers that are available to students during open lab hours as well.

Q: Can I print wirelessly from my laptop?
Yes. Printing wirelessly to College printers is possible once you have downloaded the correct printer drivers (Pharos version) for the College of Media. College of Media staff will be available to assist students with this process during the first week of class. If problems arise during the school year, students should contact the College of Media support staff at Brett.Collins@mail.wvu.edu. Students can also access myprinting.wvu.edu and email print jobs to the printers in Martin Hall as well as most dorms and libraries.

Q: What if I am not yet a major in the College?
If students are interested in pursuing a journalism or strategic communications major, it is recommended they go ahead and purchase a laptop that conforms to the minimal specifications noted above, so they may use them in these courses. Even if they do not ultimately enter one of these majors, it is likely they will still make good use of the computer.


For more information regarding the College’s laptop requirement, contact the College of Media’s technical support staff at Brett.Collins@mail.wvu.edu.