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2020 Computer Recommendations for Incoming Students

We’ve worked with JMU IT and the JMU Academic Departments to offer you computers that meet the recommendations and requirements for your major. We’ve listed the computers which have been approved by most of the academic programs below under General Recommendations.

The academic programs with more specific recommendations and requirements are listed separately under Specific Recommendations. Please contact the Madison CyberZone directly if you have additional questions.


General Recommendations

MacBook Air® with Retina® Display with 256GB SSD

MacBook Pro with TouchBarTM 13”

MacBook Pro with TouchBar 16”

Dell® Latitude® 3400 series

Latitude 5400 series

Latitude 5300 2-in-1

Dell Precision® 5500 series

Dell XPS® 13 9300 series


Specific Recommendations

College of Science and Mathematics

*Some software titles for the Physics concentration are taught using the Windows version. While a Mac version may be available, interface and features differ from the Windows version. Windows based labs are available with needed software for students to complete assignments.

Latitude 5400 series

Precision 5500 series

MacBook Pro 13” or 16” with a minimum of 16GB memory and 512GB Flash Storage*


College of Integrated Science and Engineering

*School of Integrated Sciences students may be required to use virtualization software such as VirtualBox, VMware or Parallels. Students should consider higher end systems that can adequately support this software.

Recommended: 16GB Memory, 512GB SSD

Latitude 5400 series | Precision 5500 series

MacBook Pro 13” or 16”

Minimum: 8GB Memory, 256GB SSD

Latitude 3400 series | Latitude 5300 2-in-1

MacBook Air with Retina Display

MacBook Pro 13” or 16”

Geographic Science Program

*GS Majors who purchase Apple computers will need to run Windows using Boot Camp or virtualization software. The college will provide a free version of Windows and CISE-IT staff can assist with the installation. We encourage GS majors to consider Windows based computers. Some of the software taught is graphics intensive and Windows based.

Precision 5500 series

MacBook Pro 13” or 16”*

School of Engineering

*Engineering Majors who purchase Apple computers will need to run Windows using Boot Camp or virtualization software. The college will provide a free version of Windows and CISE staff can assist with the installation.

Precision 5500 series

MacBook Pro 16”*

College of Business*

*College of Business requires a laptop that meets their minimum recommendations. Mac® users will need to run Windows using Boot Camp® or virtualization software. If you are a Mac user COB will provide a Windows license as well as support for Windows installation on your Mac. Your Mac will need 150 GB free disk space to install Windows. If you are unsure we recommend getting a Windows laptop.

For more information on COB laptop requirements and recommendations please visit:

COB Laptop Requirements

Recommended: 16GB Memory, 512GB SSD, 4-Year Accidental Damage Warranty

Latitude 5400 series | Precision 5500 series

Minimum: 8GB Memory, 256GB SSD

Latitude 3400 series | Latitude 5300 2-in-1

MacBook Air with Retina Display

MacBook Pro 13” or 16”


School of Art, Design, and Art History*

*Architectural Design and Industrial Design recommend students postpone purchasing a computer until they are accepted into Upper Division classes. The Studio Center offers a computer lab for all Architectural Design and Industrial Design students. If you must purchase a computer for your first year:

Architectural Design

Precision 5500 series

Industrial Design

Precision 5500 series

MacBook Pro 16”

Graphic Design Majors

MacBook Pro 16”


School of Media Arts and Design

*SMAD recommends students postpone purchasing a computer until they are accepted into the program. SMAD provides a full featured iMac lab for prospective SMAD students.

If you must purchase a computer for your first year, SMAD’s custom recommendations are available here:

SMAD 2020 Computer Recommendations

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