Student Computer Information
Students majoring in advertising/public relations, film production, journalism and telecommunications and media industries are required to have a laptop when they officially enter their major. For most students, this is the spring semester of their sophomore year or fall semester of their junior year.
Because of their flexibility, we recommend that students purchase a current generation of the Apple Macbook Pro. Laptops that run Windows operating system are acceptable. However, iPads, Netbooks, Chromebooks, iOS or Android devices are not.
Purchasing Your Computer
The minimum specifications on this page will be updated at least once a year during June or July. We recommend that students do not buy any new computer hardware or software until a month before the start of classes. This is to maximize the warranty and longevity of the purchase(s).
- Note: The Apple M1 processor may not be fully compatible with some software. This may change in the future. We have not found a software used in our labs that is not capable of running on the M1 processor. We do think the M1 systems are extremely capable.
Our recommendation leans in favor of the 16" MacBook Pro line is because of the following:
1. Additional external connectivity ports 4 vs 2 on the MacBook Air
2. Larger 16" screen vs 13"
3. Additional Storage and Ram configurations
- Use the table below to determine what type of laptop is needed for your curriculum.
- If you're interested in taking classes in multiple area of study, you may wish to aim for higher specifications to cover multiple uses.
- Depending on the manufacture and/or laptop model, some components are not upgradable after the purchase.
- A faster processor will shorten processing/rendering times
- Generally, the more memory (RAM) your system has the faster your programs will run.
- More storage will allow for more applications and data to be installed and located locally on the laptop.
- Dedicated graphic cards will aid in performance when working with multi-media files. To learn more please visit: https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/system-requirements.html
Using an Existing Laptop
If you own a laptop that meets the following specifications, you may be able to use it at the school. The minimum specifications are:
- Fewer than three years old
- Processor: Quad-core Intel Core i7 or better
- Memory: At least 8GB RAM
- Storage: At least 256GB SSD or more preferred
All students get FREE access to Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office 365 and it can be installed on many different devices. To learn more:
Other software requirements vary by major, and some software can be downloaded for free or at a discount. Visit software.psu.edu for more information.
Additional Software by Major
Optional (Free): Arc Studio Pro, Celtx, DaVinci Resolve
Optional (For a fee): Avid Media Composer, Final Draft
An external hard drive is required to store your projects and move them between your laptop and other workstations.
Solid State Drive
Minimum 1TB storage capacity
USB 3.1 (or faster) connection
- Penn State Information Technology Services
- Penn State Wireless
- Residential Computing (ResCom), an organization that has information about computing in residence halls.
Please contact BellisarioIT@psu.edu if you have any questions about the information on this page.