MCAD's Laptop Computer Requirement | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

MCAD's Laptop Computer Requirement

MCAD is focused on preparing you for the changing local and global job market, which is increasingly defined by digital technology and team-based workspaces.

In keeping with our mission of educational excellence and service, we require all MCAD students to own a laptop computer.

All new undergraduate and graphic design certificate students need to purchase* a custom-configured, fully supported MacBook laptop that is used in MCAD's classrooms. In addition, you will use your computer to conduct research, carry out assignments, enter class discussion groups, and communicate with teachers and administrators.

Laptops are offered through MCAD at a significantly discounted price and may be picked up during orientation.

Undergraduate Laptop Bundle Specifications

Minimum hardware configuration:

  • 13” TouchBar MacBook Pro
  • Late model intel core i5 or better
  • 16 GB Memory (SDRAM)
  • 256 GB Flash Storage

Software applications that are part of a group license package:*

  • Adobe Creative Cloud suite
  • AutoDesSys FormZ
  • Cycling ’74 Max
  • Microsoft Office for Mac

Software applications that you personally own:*

  • OS X
  • Standard pre-installed Apple applications

*Upon graduation or withdrawal, access to group-licensed software expires; access to personally owned software does not expire.


The final price of the laptop will not exceed $1,800. You will receive specific cost information in the summer. Because of MCAD's special laptop bundle pricing, you are ineligible to participate in any other back-to-school or promotional rebate offers for hardware/software included in the bundle, however we promise you're already getting a really great deal!

You fully own your computer from the time you pick it up at orientation. If you use financial aid to cover the cost of the laptop you are responsible to pay the balance if you withdraw; there are no refunds or return options.

Waiving the Laptop Bundle

The bundle we offer is significantly discounted and specifically built for our curriculum and classrooms. If you use another computer, we cannot offer full support nor can we guarantee it will work within our technology landscape. Nonetheless, if you decide not to participate in the laptop program, you are required to fill out a Laptop Waiver and submit it to the Admissions Office before July 1 (fall semester) or December 1 (spring semester). Please note that your laptop must have a functional webcam and microphone for the waiver to be granted.

Laptop Waivers must be completed and submitted to the Admissions Office by the deadlines of July 1 (fall semester) or December 1 (spring semester). To waive the MCAD laptop bundle your laptop must meet the requirements described below.

Minimum hardware requirements:

  • 2020 13” TouchBar MacBook Pro w/ 4 Thunderbolt Ports
  • Late model Intel Core i5, or better (M1 processors are NOT acceptable)
  • 16GB Memory (SDRAM) Minimum, 32GB preferred
  • 256GB SSD Minimum, 512GB SSD preferred
  • Built-in Webcam and Microphone

Minimum software requirements:

  • MacOS 11 Big Sur
  • Microsoft Office 2019 for Mac Student Edition


I'm so excited about my laptop! When do I get it?

You will be able to pick up your laptop during orientation prior to the start of your first semester.

Is there a warranty?

Definitely, yes. Laptops purchased by MCAD are covered under Apple's standard one-year limited warranty. You are also welcome to upgrade your coverage to last three years with AppleCare+. These warranties do not cover accidental damage, however, so we recommend insuring your laptop with renter's or homeowner's insurance.

Is there technical support on campus for my computer?

Absolutely! MCAD has on-site support and training for students who purchase the MCAD laptop bundle.

Can I buy my laptop at the Apple Store or another retailer?

There is no good reason to buy the computer at a retail outlet. The cost of the required hardware and software would be significantly higher—as much as $1,000 more for the software alone. The discounted laptop that MCAD provides is custom-built for our curriculum and students' needs and has been tested to work with our network, classrooms, library, and other infrastructure.

What if I want to use a different make, model, or size?

The computers we offer are specifically built for our curriculum and classes. If you use a computer not custom designed by MCAD, we cannot guarantee it will work within our technology landscape. In addition, the required software you would have to buy to complete classroom assignments would cost well over $1,000. Although we assist students with laptops not purchased through MCAD, we cannot provide maintenance and troubleshooting.

Nonetheless, if you decide not to participate in the laptop program, a Laptop Waiver must be signed. Please contact to receive the form.

I want to use a Windows laptop for class work. What are my options?

At this time, MCAD does not offer full support for Windows laptops within the classroom environment. Admitted students are required to use an approved MacBook Pro with Retina display.

More questions?

Contact for laptop assistance.

*Students who apply by the Early Action Application deadline are eligible for the MCAD Laptop Scholarship, which provides admitted BFA and BS students with a free Apple laptop when they enroll at the college.