Laptop Requirements

For new undergraduate and graduate students, there are two laptop options to ensure students have a computer that meets Chatham’s technology requirements. You can find everything you need to know on this page.

Requirements & Options

For new undergraduate and graduate students, students may purchase a discounted device from Chatham or bring one that meets the minimum requirements outlined below. 

Option 1: Discounted Purchase Program

For those students who wish to purchase a new laptop directly, Chatham’s Discounted Purchase Laptop Program allows a student to purchase a new MacBook laptop or Windows Surface laptop, which meets university requirements at a discounted price through Chatham’s online store. 

Students who purchase through the discount purchase program can bring their purchased laptop to IT Support Services during New Student Orientation. During these optional sessions, IT Support Services can help configure the laptop for university or any program requirements, install the latest Microsoft (and major-specific) software, set up security and virus protection, and connect to the university network. Self-service instructions will also be distributed before Orientation. 

With the Direct Purchase Laptop Program, students purchase and own the computer directly, can choose their warranty length (we recommend four years), and the cost of the laptop can be bundled into a student’s financial aid package if interested in using grants or loans to help offset the costs.  

Students will receive standard software and device support from Chatham ITS Support Services but no hardware repair or extensive support. 

Check your undergraduate major or graduate program for any program-specific technology and computer requirements. Program-specific requirements for the 24-25 academic year will be released in April.

The discount computer store for the 24-25 academic year will open in April 2024. 


Option 2: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Program

If a student chooses to bring their existing laptop, the device must meet minimum requirements to ensure connection to Chatham’s network and run the required software. In addition, some majors at Chatham may not allow the BYOD option due to specific academic technology or software requirements for the major, so be sure to check with your program.

The following are the minimum laptop requirements that must be met at Chatham for a BYOD laptop. If a student’s BYOD laptop does not meet these requirements, Chatham cannot guarantee that the device will work on the network and run the necessary software.

  • Operating System: Current and up-to-date Windows (Minimum = Windows 10) or MacOS (Minimum = Sonoma). Chrome devices are not approved by Chatham.
  • Processor (CPU): A dual-core processor or higher is preferred for efficient multitasking and handling academic software.
  • Memory (RAM): 16G of RAM or more is recommended for smooth and simultaneous operation of multiple applications and browser tabs.
  • Storage (Hard Drive/SSD): A minimum of 256GB SSD (Solid State Drive) storage is recommended for faster boot times, quicker application launch, and smoother overall system performance. 
  • Wireless Connectivity: Ensure the laptop has a reliable Wi-Fi adapter compatible with current Wi-Fi standards (Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax or 6E) and 5GHz.
  • Battery Life: Aim for a laptop with a battery life of at least 6-8 hours to support full-day use without frequent recharging.
  • Screen Size and Resolution: A screen size of 13 to 15 inches with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD) balances portability and comfortable viewing. 
  • Webcam: An integrated webcam with 1080P resolution and 30 or 60 frames per second will provide good-quality video. You will need an external webcam if you do not have an integrated webcam.  

Students who purchase through the discount purchase program can bring their purchased laptop to IT Support Services during New Student Orientation. During these optional sessions, IT Support Services can help configure the laptop for university or any program requirements, install the latest Microsoft (and major-specific) software, set up security and virus protection, and connect to the university network. Self-service instructions will also be distributed before Orientation. 

Students will receive standard software and device support from Chatham ITS Support Services but no hardware repair or extensive support. All devices must meet minimum requirements for support.

Check your undergraduate major or graduate program for any program-specific technology and computer requirements. Program-specific requirements for the 24-25 academic year will be released in April.


Technology Fee

All students will pay a University Tech Fee that helps fund software licensing (e.g., Microsoft Office 365, SSPS), connectivity, cyber security, computer labs, Support Services (Helpdesk) support, and other campus technology investments and infrastructure.  

Photo of a female Chatham University student working on her laptop

Next Steps

After reviewing the student computer program options above, new students will need to select their computer program choice as part of the application process to Chatham. If you have any other questions or need further guidance, please contact the admission team at undergraduate@chatham.edu to discuss what may be best for you and your needs.