Starting Fall 2020, all students are required to follow the laptop requirement. Incoming students should follow Fall and Spring semester requirements each academic year. Current requirements are for new and transfer students enrolling in Fall 2020. Laptops with a webcam are
required or a separate webcam, for laptops without inbuilt one, is required.

There are four types of models to consider:

  • Recommended with discrete GPU
  • Recommended without discrete GPU
  • Apple
  • A minimal functional low-cost under $1000 option

Computer Engineering classes use software only available on Windows–students will not get support from instructors or the department if the computer is runninng macOS, Linux, or any operating system other than Windows.

All students who qualify for Financial Aid may use received funds to purchase a computer.

The general purpose campus Windows computer labs is available to access from a Web Browser at http://virtual.umbc.edu/ .


Recommended PC with discrete GPU:

  • Intel Core i5 (ninth generation) or better (or equivalent performance AMD)
  • 16GB RAM or more
  • 512GB SSD or more
  • nVidia discrete GPU (4GB RAM or more)
  • Webcam and microphone
  • 1920×1080 minimum screen

Capable of running at least Windows and Linux

Example: Dell New XPS 15: ($1,495.99) – choose 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD

Optional: 4 year Next Business Day Onsite Service support ($228.80) or 4 year Next Business Day Onsite Service support with optional Accidental damage ($492.80)


Recommended PC without discrete GPU:

  • Intel Core i5 (tenth generation) or better (or equivalent performance AMD)
  • 16GB RAM or more
  • 512GB SSD or more
  • Webcam and microphone
  • 1920×1080 minimum screen

Capable of running at least Windows and Linux

Example: Dell XPS 13″ ($1,319.99) – choose 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD

Optional: 4 year Next Business Day Onsite Service support ($228.80) or 4 year Next Business Day Onsite Service support with optional Accidental damage ($492.80)


Recommended Apple:

  • Intel Core i5 (ninth generation) or better
  • 16 GB RAM or more
  • 512 GB SSD or more
  • Webcam and microphone
  • AMD graphics

Capable of running Windows and Linux in a Virtual Machine.

Example: MacBook Pro 16″ ($2,400)

Optional: AppleCare warranty, three years. $379


Introductory PC model (may need to be replaced with a recommended system after fourth or fifth semester, depending on chosen classes):

  • Intel Core i5 (tenth generation) or better (or equivalent performance AMD)
  • 16GB RAM or more
  • 512GB SSD or more
  • Webcam and microphone
  • 1920×1080 minimum screen

Capable of running at least Windows and Linux

Example: New Inspiron 14 5000 2-in-1 Laptop ($879). Quality of Dell Inspiron may not be as good as Dell XPS. Milage may vary.

Optional: 4 year Next Business Day Onsite Service support ($228.00) or 4 year Next Business Day Onsite Service support with optional Accidental damage ($408.00)