PhD in Design or Doctor of Design Computer Requirements

(Updated March 2021)

NOTE: All students should have a full computer, at least an older computer, available for coursework in the Fall Semester of their first year. Using a smart phone only will not work for courses.

ALL departments require students to have a computer with minimum specifications listed below. Computers that do not meet minimum specifications may prevent students from completing course assignments. 
Please read this page AND the general information before spending money on computer hardware and software.

EACH DEPARTMENT HAS DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS!

PhD in Design students must have their own computer by the Fall Semester of their first year.

Doctor of Design (DDes) is an online degree program. Students must have their own computer by the Fall Semester of their first year.

Either Macintosh or Windows is acceptable for PhD in Design and Doctor of Design students.

PhD in Design students will use computers throughout their course of study. The Doctor of Design (DDes) program is completely online. DDes students must have a computer to access these courses. Please consider the computational needs for your particular area of research. Any doctoral students wishing to purchase a new computer and software should follow the recommendations below. An older computer may be sufficient for some time if it meets these minimum specifications for older computers.

Each department in the College of Design has different computer requirements. Please read the College’s Student Computing Requirements Information page for general information before spending money on computer hardware or software.

We recommend that your computer meet or exceed the specifications below. A computer with greater capability (processor speed, RAM, disk capacity) and expandability will be more likely to continue to run required software in later years of college.

This chart provides minimum recommendations for students purchasing new computers. Software requirements are listed at the bottom of the chart. Additional specialized software may be required in other courses, as determined by the instructor. Students may consider the purchase of other software to support their particular goals and learning styles.

Windows Computers

Components Windows Desktop Windows Laptop
CPU (Processor) or Model Any model using Intel Core i7 or newer processors
System RAM
16 GB minimum, more preferred
Hard Drive (Storage)
256 GB SSD or 500 GB/7200 RPM minimum, more preferred
Monitor/Display
18″ or larger 14″ or larger (second external monitor optional)
Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) Should have a discrete GPU. 2 GB VRAM or more. Avoid integrated graphics processors
Operating System

Information for obtaining a free student license of Windows 10 Education is available here.

Windows 10 Home or Pro
Audio Standard on PCs
Network Adapters
Wi-Fi card or adapter
Backup External Drive – Windows Backup & Restore (external drive needs to be at least twice the computer’s storage capacity)

Cloud Backup Services – Google Backup & Sync (using NCSU Google account with “unlimited” storage) or another backup service

Warranty Service Minimum 3-year onsite parts and labor or third-party loss/damage coverage
Software

Be sure to check for educational discounts through the College of Design or Wolfpack Outfitters.

Additional software may be required for certain courses.

No specific software is required. Doctoral students will have to purchase software needed for their course of study and research. Most College of Design students find the software listed below to be necessary—

Microsoft Office 365 (free for NCSU students)

• Adobe Creative Cloud

Macintosh Computers

Components Macintosh Desktop Macintosh Laptop
CPU (Processor) or Model iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Mini, or MacPro, any current model MacBook Pro, any current 15″ model
System RAM
16 GB minimum, more preferred if capable
Hard Drive (Storage)
256 GB SSD or 500 GB/7200 RPM minimum, more preferred
Monitor/Display
18″ or larger (Monitors from other vendors will work with Apple computers.) iMacs include a built-in monitor 15″ (second external monitor optional) Monitors from other vendors will work with Apple computers
Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) Should have a discrete GPU. 2 GB VRAM or more. Avoid integrated graphics processor
Operating System Mac OS X version 10.14 or later
Audio Standard on Macs
Network Adapters
Wi-Fi card or adapter
Backup External Drive – Time Machine (external drive needs to be at least twice the computer’s storage capacity)

Cloud Backup Services – Google Backup & Sync (using NCSU Google account with “unlimited” storage) or another backup service

Warranty Service 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan or third-party loss/damage coverage
Software

Be sure to check for educational discounts through the College of Design or Wolfpack Outfitters.

Additional software may be required for certain courses.

No specific software is required. PhD in Design students will need to purchase software needed for their course of study and research. Most College of Design students find the software listed below to be necessary—

Microsoft Office 365 (free for NCSU students)

• Adobe Creative Cloud 

 

Questions?

The College’s Information Technology staff will be glad to go over purchase choices or answer any related questions. You can send an email to design_help@ncsu.edu or use this form to contact the College Information Technology staff with specific information about your problem.