Laptop Requirement

Laptop Requirement

*for students entering in Fall 2014 or later

Beginning in Fall 2014, the WVU Reed College of Media will require its entering freshmen and transfer students (journalism or strategic communications majors) to have their own laptops for use in journalism classes and projects.

Students will also be expected to have access to either a digital camera or 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 photography and video. This decision was made to help address the growing need for digital skills in the communication 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

15” Macbook Pro Retina $2,778* (minimum specifications recommended for Journalism majors with interests in Visual and/or Television Journalism)

  • 2.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz
  • 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
  • 512GB Flash Storage
  • Apple USB SuperDrive
  • Backlit Keyboard (English) & User’s Guide

13” Macbook Pro Retina display $1,999* (minimum specifications for all others)

  • 2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
  • 512GB Flash Storage
  • Backlit Keyboard (English) & User’s Guide

* Prices current as of Fall 2013 from the online Apple Education Store.

Minimum Windows Operating System Requirements**

  • Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU or AMD equivalent
  • 8GB RAM (or more highly recommended)
  • 500GB ATA 100/7,200 RPM hard drive is preferred Students should also consider a 1TB external HD for backup and storage
  • A graphics card supporting higher resolution than 1024768 (32-bit). (1 GB dedicated, non-shared, memory for card is recommended)
  • DVD-ROM Drive would be helpful for some courses

**Expected cost for this system is approximately $1600.

Software Requirements

Microsoft Office

Adobe Creative Cloud

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Will financial aid be available to help pay for the laptop?

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 make an appointment with the WVU Financial Aid office to discuss whether this is an option for you. The WVU Financial Aid Office is located in the Mountainlair on the Downtown Campus; they may be reached via email at or by phone, 304-293-5242, 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: For warranty information, see the WVU Technology Support Center webpage at West Virginia University offers PC/MAC repair services on campus for all computer brands. For Apple and Dell computers that are under warranty, repairs are given priority and provided at a nominal cost. (See for a list of repair policies and prices.) If a student is without his or her computer for an extended period of time because of a repair issue, the College of Media will provide a loaner laptop that can be used during each College of Media class, but that must be returned to the College at the end of each class period. 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

Q: What if I am not yet a major in the College of Media?

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