students working in classroom with laptop

Laptop & Software Recommendations

The Department of Art and Art History no longer requires (but still recommends) that incoming students in Studio Art, Art History, and Art Education (UTeach Art) have a laptop computer and a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

Recommended Laptop Specs

  • 13", 15", or 16" Apple MacBook Pro
  • minimum i5 processor
  • minimum 16GB memory
  • minimum 512GB SSD storage

Laptops can be purchased with educational pricing through Apple’s Education Store or UT Austin’s Campus Computer Store.

Subscriptions to Adobe Creative Cloud are available to students at a discounted rate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a laptop? Can’t I just have a desktop in my room instead?

Many courses at UT require students to use online course management systems such as Canvas in the classroom to submit assignments, check grades, take in-class quizzes, and so on.

Why do you recommend Apple products? What’s wrong with Windows, Linux, and Chromebook machines?

We recommend Apple’s MacBook Pro because it is the industry standard in the arts. Most art and design software (with the exception of some 3D modeling programs) is optimized for Apple operating systems.

Do I have to buy the recommended laptop? What if I already have a different kind of laptop?

If you already own a MacBook Air or a Windows or Linux laptop, it will probably suffice for at least the first couple of years of your program, and depending on your major and interests, it may serve you perfectly well for all four years. However, the recommended laptop has sufficient memory and speed to run industry-standard software (and handle large image, video, and animation files), whereas older and slower machines tend to crash more frequently. The point is to avoid having your hardware limit the kinds of work you can create.

Financial Aid for Laptop Purchase

Do you qualify for financial aid? You may be able to apply aid to the purchase of your laptop.

  1. Contact the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) and request a budget adjustment for the required laptop.
  2. You will need to indicate that you are a Department of Art and Art History student majoring in Art History, Studio Art, or UTeach Art (Visual Art Studies).

  3. An escalation will be created and an OFA counselor will complete the aid revision.

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