Computer Requirements

The University Requirement

All undergraduate students are required to have a laptop computer. The computer must have an Ethernet connection and a modern Web browser. You should consider having a machine that is equipped not only with Ethernet, but also with wireless capabilities so that you can communicate wirelessly with the MSU network. The MSU wireless network supports all current wireless communication protocols (802.11a, b, g, and n. The 802.11n standard operates in both the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies).

Michigan State University does not recommend students rely on tablet devices (e.g., iPad), mobile phones, or netbook computers (e.g., Chromebooks) as their primary computer due to software limitations.

If you already own a computer that meets these requirements, you are welcome to bring it with you. However, we understand that many of you will need or want to purchase a new computer for your studies at MSU. While you are free to buy or lease a computer from any source you choose, the MSU Computer Store ( offers educationally discounted prices.  The MSU Computer Store also has greatly reduced academic pricing (up to 75% off) on software from Adobe, Apple and Microsoft.

More information on the University Computer Requirement, including details on financial aid support, is available at:

The College of Communication Arts & Sciences Recommendations

For all students that are interested in entering the integrated media arts program (Media Sandbox) as an Advertising, Media and Information, or Journalism major, you are strongly suggested to have a laptop computer with the following minimum specifications to adequately participate in your ComArtSci coursework and upper-level major courses:

Recommended Laptop Computer Minimum Specifications

  • 16-inch MacBook Pro (Apple M1 Pro comes with: 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine)
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 1TB SSD storage
  • 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID

Required Software

  • Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium (currently Adobe Creative Cloud)
  • Microsoft Office, Apple iWorks, Open Office, Google Docs, or equivalent office suite (word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software) - available for free via MS 365.
  • Apple iMovie or equivalent entry-level video editing software

Students are also required to have a graphics tablet and an external hard drive.

Graphics Tablet Options

There are a variety of drawing tablets with surfaces you can draw directly onto the glass with a stylus, like the iPad, or tablets that plug externally into your laptop or computer like a mouse. Either of these are fine, and there are a variety of price options. Please do the research on your tablet before purchasing. Below are some we recommend:

  • XP-PEN Star03 12" Graphics Drawing Pen Tablet Drawing Tablet Battery-free Stylus Passive Pen Signature Board with 8 Hot Keys (Black)
  • Huion H420 USB Graphics Drawing Tablet Board Kit
  • Wacom Intuos Draw CTL490DW Digital Drawing and Graphics Tablet
  • Huion H610 Pro Graphic Drawing Tablet with Carrying Bag and Glove

Hard Drive Options

  • External, 2 TB hard drive (recommended) or
  • 1TB HD (Required)

*** Note all the Media Sandbox courses and instructors use the Apple Macintosh platform. If you purchase a Windows laptop, you are responsible for completing the assignments according to the class requirements. You may need to go to the ComArtSci Mac labs during available open hours to complete some of your required assignments.