If you already own a laptop, there’s no need to go buy a new one if yours meets the minimum specifications listed below. If you are buying a new laptop, we strongly suggest you buy one with the recommended specifications. The goal is to make sure this laptop will last you your entire time at UW.
|Minimum Specifications||Recommended Specifications|
|Processor||Intel i5, i7 or i9, 7th generation or higher; AMD Ryzen||Intel i5, i7 or i9, 9th generation or higher; AMD Ryzen 5 series or higher|
|Memory||8GB RAM||16GB RAM or more|
|Storage||256GB Solid State Drive||512GB or more Solid State Drive|
|Graphics||AMD or Intel Integrated Graphics||Discrete Nvidia or AMD graphics processor|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home or macOS||Windows 10 Professional or Education or macOS|
Frequently asked questions
Who is required to have a laptop?
All students admitted directly into the College of Engineering starting in autumn 2020 and beyond.
When did the laptop requirement begin?
Is having a laptop really required?
Your laptop will be a tool you will use for almost every class you take in the College. Students without a laptop that do not meet the minimum requirements will not be prohibited from enrolling in courses, but their ability to participate in classroom activities and complete assignments may be severely diminished.
What if I don’t have a laptop that meets the above recommendations and can’t afford to buy a laptop?
Will my financial aid cover the cost of a laptop?
Every student’s financial aid package will vary. Please email the Office of Financial Aid.
Do I need to bring my laptop to class every day?
Each instructor has different expectations about technology usage in class. You may want to take your laptop with you on your first day of classes, but then it will be important to review your syllabi for your professors’ specific guidelines.
What do I do if I’m not able to purchase a laptop by the first day of classes?
Financial aid is generally disbursed at the beginning of each quarter. It’s ok if you need more time to purchase a laptop and do not have one on the first day of class. If you need a laptop in the interim, you can utilize the Student Technology Loan Program.
Do I need to buy a specific brand or model of laptop?
The brand and model is your choice, as long as the laptop specifications listed are met. Popular options are Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo.
If I already have a laptop that meets the recommended specifications, do I need to buy another computer? Or other hardware?
No other hardware is required. A 1TB external drive for backup and additional storage would be recommended. As you get further along in your coursework, you may find other peripherals like an external monitor to be beneficial.
Can I use a tablet or smartphone instead of a laptop?
No, smartphones and tablets are not able to run the software needed at this time.
Can I use a Mac?
Yes. Some departments use software that only runs on Windows so you may need to purchase and/or install additional software (e.g. “virtualization software”, such as VMware Fusion (free for UW students), BootCamp (free and included with all Macs), or Parallels ($80 one time fee for students) that enable you to run Windows software on your Mac.
Can I use a Chromebook?
No. Chromebooks do not have the ability to run the software needed.
Can I use this laptop for other uses outside of the College of Engineering?
Definitely. This is your own personal laptop. You will find you need a laptop for classes outside of the College of Engineering as well.
What support is available on campus if I have issues with my computer?
UW-IT offers the Computer Vet service you can take your laptop to if it is experiencing software issues. If it is experiencing hardware issues, you will need to have it repaired through the manufacturer warranty or a local computer store.
Software and accessories
Will I need a printer?
Do I need to purchase Microsoft Office?
The UW provides Microsoft Office through Office 365 which can be installed on up to 5 of your own devices. More information about that can be found on the IT Connect page.