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Computer Buying Guide

The WVU Reed College of Media requires its entering freshmen and transfer students (journalism or advertising/public relations majors) to have their own laptops for use in journalism and strategic communications 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.

The College is a Mac-based environment, but students may also use PC (Windows) laptops, as long as they have the minimum specifications, which are noted below for both operating systems.

Mac Operating System Requirements

16” Macbook Pro | Approx Cost $2,502

  • 2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
  • AMD Radeon Pro5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 16 GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • 512GB of SSD storage
  • 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Plus Applecare

13” Macbook Pro | $1,794

  • 1.4GHz quad‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard - US
  • English Accessory Kit
  • And Apple Care

* Prices current as of Spring 2020 from the online Apple Education Store.

Minimum Windows Operating System Requirements**

  • Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU or AMD equivalent
  • 8-16GB RAM (or more highly recommended)
  • 500GB ATA 100/7,200 RPM hard drive is preferred
  • A graphics card supporting higher resolution than 1920x1080. (2 GB dedicated, non-shared, memory for card is recommended)
  • Windows 10 Professional

Dell computer purchases can be made at a discounted price for students at

Software Requirements

College of Media students are encouraged to have Adobe Creative Cloud. The software is available to students at a discounted rate at

Anti-virus software is available at no cost at 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 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: 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 Students can also access 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