All undergraduate students at Michigan State are required to have a computer that can connect to the Internet using a high-speed connection.
We list recommendations for students in our majors specifically below, but other helpful resources include:
- University computer recommendations
- College of Communication Arts & Sciences computer recommendations
- Frequently Asked Questions about computer requirements by the CAS InfoTech Office
- Information on financial aid for computer purchases
CAS Online Apple Store
- offers education/student discounts on apple computers
MSU Computer Store (located on-campus)
- offers education/student discounts on computers and software
- recommends the purchase of Apple or Dell computers, which are available in-stock for walk-in purchases
If you are purchasing a new computer, the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media have generated a list of suggestions to assist you in your purchasing decision. Past experience with our students, as well as industry trends, are the basis for these suggestions. They should not be viewed as requirements.
General College Hardware Recommendations
- 4GB RAM or better
- 200 GB hard drive or better
- USB interface
General College Software Recommendations
- Microsoft Office or compatible (available at the MSU computer store)
- FTP software (available for free download)
Additional hardware suggestions for creative and design disciplines
- A DVD-RW drive and a USB Flash drive is recommended for storage, backup, and transfer of files between the labs and your computer.
- A Firewire (IEEE1394) interface is recommended for interfacing with the Digital Video cameras that are available for checkout in the College.
Most of the computing facilities within the College for these creative disciplines are based on the modern Macintosh platform (Mac OS X). The Macintosh platform was chosen primarily to reflect its strong adoption and use within the creative and design industries. Further, the modern Macintosh computers are standard-equipped to support the digital creation and design tasks taught in the College. If you do choose the Macintosh platform, Apple offers good student discounts available through the MSU Computer Store (http://cstore.msu.edu).
Software suggestions for creative and design disciplines
However, software parity is more important than hardware parity when trying to configure a computer to interface well with the College’s computing facilities. Below is the common suite of software applications used in the creative and design courses and available in the College’s computing facilities. We do not expect you to purchase and have this software installed on your computers. It is primarily listed here for your reference. In the past, some students have acquired some of these applications. However, we suggest that you wait until you take a course that makes use of them, as software applications are frequently updated and may change.
- Image Creation and Manipulation - Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator
- Digital Video Editing - Apple Final Cut Pro and Apple DVD Studio Pro
- Compositing and Special Effects - Adobe After Effects
- Web Design - Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Dreamweaver and any text editor
- Page Design and Layout - Adobe InDesign
- Interactive Multimedia - Adobe Flash
- Sound Editing - Apple SoundTrack Pro and ProTools
- 3D Modeling and Rendering - AutoDesk Maya and Blender
- Game Development - Unity3D Game Engine
If you have questions about the software used in a specific course, you should contact the course instructor.