Computer Requirements

All Students in the School of Architecture are required to bring their own personal laptop computer.

Use of digital tools and technology in the School of Architecture is significant, especially for students of design (Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and increasingly Urban Planning), and as early as the first year of study for both undergraduate and graduate students.  Computer use is far more intense than basic office and productivity work and will include significant use of graphics tools like the Adobe suite, CAD, 3D modeling, GIS, and more.  To be effective and not frustrated with your computer's working performance, this requires a higher specification, and higher cost, than what would be required of some other academic areas.  All incoming students should read through the information on this page and look to purchase a computer according to this expectation.

Approximate costs to expect for a computer capable of the work that you will need to do, plus costs for software that you will need to buy, are as follows:

  Computer Software Total
Design and Planning students: ~$2,300 - $3,300 ~$255 [see note] $2,555 - $3,555
Non-design students: ~$1,200 - $1,400 ~$160 [see note] $1,360 - $1,475

Note that these are rough averages based on current offerings and are intended to give a general picture of the price.  These only include the most common hardware and required software. Individual needs may differ.

[note] The prices shown above indicate only first-time purchase costs.  Some software, are subscription-based and require a yearly cost.  Adobe CC, for instance, costs $159 per year.  Most other software is a one-time purchase.

The good news is that while the School of Architecture does require software purchases, we require very few large textbooks.  The money that you would be spending on expensive textbooks in other disciplines can be applied to software costs here.

Specific requirements and specifications for hardware and software are given below, under Selecting the Right Computer.


The CAV Program

We strongly encourage students to purchase your computer and software through the CAV Program at Cavalier Computers.  CAV Program computers are pre-configured to the specifications and software for the School of Architecture and include additional installation and support services.  See the bottom of this page for more detail on the CAV Program.

If you purchase your computer from somewhere other than Cavalier Computers, please make sure your computer meets the specification for your group, listed below.


Resources beyond your laptop

Additional resources, including computer labs, virtual desktop computers, some software, scanners, and printing facilities are available in the school for all students to use.  You should not need to purchase any of these peripherals on your own unless you have a very specific need or desire to have them outside of the school.

Got it!

This website uses anonymous cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our use of analytical and performance tracking.
We do not sell or share any personally identifying information. More info