Student Computer Initiative
Minimum computer requirements for new students
School of Business
School of Education
School of Engineering
School of Humanities & Science
School of Mass Communications
School of Nursing
School of Social Work
School of World Studies
- Minimum Requirements
- Additional Recommendations
- Purchase a New Computer through VCU
- Why SCI ?
|Free to Registered Students:||• Current versions of Office and Windows*|
|• VCU Antivirus software|
If bringing a computer you already own, it should not be more than two years old and at a minimum have:
- at least 3GB of RAM
- Microsoft Office version 2007/2008 or greater*
- Windows 7 Home Premium or OSX 10.6 or greater*
- an Ethernet port and WiFi
If you’re buying a new computer, we recommend that at a minimum it have:
- 4GB RAM
- an accidental damage protection warranty
- an i5 or greater/equivalent CPU
- Microsoft Office 2010 or 2011*
- Windows 7 (Home Premium/Pro/Ultimate) or OSX 10.7*
- an Ethernet port and WiFi
Don't pay for antivirus subscriptions.
Sophos Antivirus is available to enrolled students as a free download.
- A Desktop or Laptop computer is essential for study at VCU and personal ownership of a computer is required for enrolled students. iPADs, netbooks, eReaders and other similar portable devices, while increasingly useful for study, are not suitable for a student’s primary computer.
- Specific schools within VCU may have other computer requirements. Be sure to check before selecting a computer for use at VCU.
- Wireless printers will not work in the residence halls and therefore must be directly connected by a USB cable.
- Windows 8 may cause compatibility problems with some software and a downgrade to Windows 7 may be needed to resolve these issues.*
- Be security conscious. Consider theft deterrence options like a security cable or Lo-Jack for laptops.
- Use a high capacity battery if available for portable devices. (laptops, etc)
- Be prepared to protect data with an external hard drive, online backup service, or cloud storage.
- Utilize purchase programs offered by the School of Business, Pharmacy and Dentistry and VCU's getIT program.
If you're choosing or required to have a Mac, you may still need a purchase a copy of Windows to run some software.
It is recommended that you purchase a new computer through VCU purchase programs.
The Schools of Business, Dentistry and Pharmacy have their own specific purchase programs.
Consult the links provided at the left for more information.
getIT laptops receive the best support on campus!
No cost repairs* and free loaners for delayed repairs!
VCU's getIT program has negotiated special laptop discount programs with Apple, Dell and Lenovo.
The laptops offered through getIT are academically priced, meet the SCI minimum specifications, include on-campus warranty service and free loaners in the event of a delayed repair.
This specification applies equally to both Windows and Macintosh based systems and addresses the minimum requirements for student computers at VCU.
*We say "No Cost Repairs" because the computers purchased through getIT are bundled with accidental damage protection insurance from Lenovo or Dell. HOWEVER- Apple does NOT provide accidental damage insurance and repairs due to spills and drops, etc. on a Apple computer will likely have a repair bill for the parts needed.
AppleCare is a warranty extension program, not accidental damage insurance.
If you'd like to add damage support to your getIT program Mac, consider this additional option.
All incoming freshman and transfer students are required to own a personal computer. This requirement helps ensure students are equipped with the necessary technology to effectively participate in classes and classwork and allows for scholarship and financial aid funds to be applied towards the expense of acquiring a new computer.
If you're using Financial Aid, consult with the Financial Aid department about how funds can be used to reimburse your computer equipment investment.
Study at VCU is a professional activity. The technology required and recommended is carefully thought through by the participants of the SCI committee to provide students with the capacity for a professional level of work output in step with the rigors of the classroom.
Along with proper care, following the SCI requirements will help ensure that the computer you choose will be able to provide approximately three years of reliable service.