Laptop Requirement

The UMBC Department of Visual Arts requires all incoming freshmen to have a laptop computer with the following minimum specs in order to complete required assignments and tasks. The minimum recommended laptop is a MacBook Pro. The processor speed and RAM may change periodically, you are advised to view the Apple Store for current models and educational discount prices;

The minimum specs recommend for the Visual Arts Department Animation, Cinematic Arts, Graphic Design, and Photography majors for academic year 2023 are:

  • Apple M1 or M2 processor
  • Minimum 16 GB unified memory (32 GB recommended for Animation, Cinematic Arts, Graphic Design, and Photography majors)
  • Minimum 512 GB SSD storage (1TB or more recommended)
  • AppleCare Protection Plan strongly recommended

Students interested in purchasing an Apple computer can consult with knowledgeable DoIT staff in the Technology Support Center (TSC) located on the 1st floor of the AOK Library, next to the Retriever Learning Center (RLC). Individuals may make their own purchases through the UMBC Apple Store, and DoIT staff can give pre-sales advice on the configurations. The educational discount pricing is only available through the online store, or in person at any Apple store.

All students are expected to buy the online Adobe Creative Cloud to get the latest Adobe software. See Adobe Student Discount Software to sign up for the online service.

If you have any further questions, you may contact Jason Duncan at

For student financial aid eligibility, let the financial aid office know you plan to be in the art program. The laptop requirement can be calculated into the total Financial Aid need calculations when applying; contact the UMBC Financial Aid Office for details.


May I buy/bring/use a Windows PC for my Visual Arts classes?

We highly recommend using a MacBook Pro since all the faculty are familiar, and will give class demos, using Macintosh. Apple products take less maintenance, are generally more robust, and are less prone to viruses and spyware than Windows. While a similarly powered Windows PC will be sufficient for classes, it is not ideal. Faculty and staff may not be able to provide support for Windows PC.


May I buy/bring/use a tablet device or ChromeBook for my Visual Arts classes?

While tablets have rapidly become more capable in the past few years and can run complex applications, they are not yet suitable for the day to day workflow necessary for most Visual Arts Students. Industry standard software such as the Adobe Creative Cloud and others such as Maya only run on macOS or Windows computers. Some assignments may be able to be completed on a tablet, but a laptop that falls within department specs is also required. Faculty and staff may not be able to provide support for tablet devices or ChromeBooks.