Buy/Bring a Laptop

Disclaimer about Chromebooks, Tablets, and Smart Phones

While some coursework may be completed using a Chromebook, Tablet, or may even call for the use of a Smart Phone such as an iPhone or Android device for certain apps for classroom engagement, these devices are not sufficient for completion of most coursework you will need to complete during your time as a student at VCU and therefore we cannot recommend these devices.

Computer Requirements

Below you will find our annually-updated baseline requirements and additional recommendations for personally-owned laptops. All currently-enrolled VCU students are required to own a personal computer that meets the baseline requirements and is in good working order before beginning classes.

It is essential that each VCU student personally own a functioning computer for the duration of their time as a currently-enrolled student. We strongly recommend a laptop to ensure portability, and require that laptops be capable of running either the Apple macOS or Microsoft Windows operating system (not necessarily both).  

You'll also find several sections for schools/colleges/departments that have their own unique requirements/recommendations based on the software used within their courses and programs. If you are a student of one these schools/colleges/departments, please be sure to review the information provided. 

College/School/Department Requirements

In addition to the general requirements listed above, you'll need to evaluate if your college/school or department (your major determines this) has additional requirements and/or guidance for incoming students to specific programs. The list below provides links to the webpages hosted by many VCU college/schools but we are currently unable to link do the varied number of departmental webpages with requirements. 

We recommend that all students who intend to declare a major OR minor within any of the schools listed below, review these pages for additional requirements and guidance that may pertain to specific academic programs, courses, and activities. 

How much should you budget/plan to spend?

If you're considering purchasing a new laptop before you begin classes at VCU, you'll want to think about not just the cost of the computer but also some additional things as well such as an extended warranty (we recommend accidental damage coverage as well), and any accessories you may need. 

While your budget and/or personal preference for either Apple macOS or Microsoft Windows may be your first hunches for what laptop to buy/bring, please don't assume these are the only criteria you need to think about and please don't rush into buying a laptop or assume that your current laptop will be the right fit. You need to evaluate several different criteria (not just budget and personal preference) to determine what laptop to purchase or if your current laptop will meet the baseline requirements (or exceed them). 

Generally, you should budget/plan to spend between $1,000 and $1,500 for a laptop that meets our baseline requirements and includes an extended warranty with accidental damage coverage as well as any accessories you may need.

If you are planning to purchase a laptop that exceeds our baseline requirements (more storage space/memory, bigger screen, or additional features), you should budget/plan to spend between $1,600 to $2,000 or more in total. 

Need Help?

If you need help understanding these requirements and recommendations, please reach out to us! We're here to help!

There are two consultation options listed below for that any VCU student may use at any time. Click on each one below for more information. 

Additional Recommendations

In addition to the baseline requirements for buying/bring a laptop, we also strongly urge students review and implement the following recommendations. These recommendations highlight several important factors outlined in our new student technology checklist. Click on each item dropdown to review.