Laptop Requirement | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Laptop Requirement

The Brown School requires that all students own a laptop.

This policy has been incorporated for many reasons:

  • Computer use is essential to Brown School students’ everyday experience.
  • Technology literacy is crucial to student success.
  • With a laptop, you can connect to the University’s wireless network and be productive no matter where you are on campus.
  • Laptop computers contribute to the facilitation of team-based assignments and activities.
  • Requiring a laptop builds a support system necessary to prepare students for future technological enhancements and usage in their professional life.

System Recommendations

Students should have their laptop with them when they arrive for the fall semester. If you own a laptop that was purchased in the last two years, it should be sufficient for your time at the Brown School. If your system is older than two years old, we strongly suggest you purchase a new system.

Current minimum recommendations for a laptop:

  • Processor: Intel i5 2.2 Ghz
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 or OSX Sierra (10.11)
  • Hard Drive: 250 GB

Purchasing Your Computer

The Brown School has standardized on Dell systems for our internal use and have found them to be of high quality at competitive prices. There are options to purchase a laptop that meets specified requirements at discounted prices through our Dell Premier website. These systems are ready to order as configured, or can be used a starting point to adjust the configuration to meet your specific requirements. Other systems and form factors from different manufacturers are acceptable as well as long as the specs are similar.

Do not purchase Microsoft Office with your laptop. All Washington University students are eligible for a Microsoft Office Pro license at no cost through their Office 365 benefits.


Computers do fail at times, and laptops are more susceptible due to their portability. It is important to have a warranty that covers your time at the Brown School. It is strongly recommended that onsite service be included in your warranty to avoid the possibility of service delays.


There are courses that will require the purchase of additional software. These software titles will be called out on the course syllabus along with links to purchase the software at a discounted price.

What About Macs?

The Brown School has standardized on PCs and Microsoft Windows. We recommend that students do the same. If you choose to use a Mac laptop, please note that you may need access to Windows software while you are a student here. This can be accomplished using Boot Camp or a virtualization program such as VMware Fusion or Parallels Workstation. Visit the Washington University OnTheHub store for more information and to obtain the necessary software. 

Tech Support for Student Laptops

The Brown School IT department will provide limited support for student laptops primarily focused on network connectivity and printing. Hardware support must be handled through the personal laptop manufacturer. Additional support for students can be obtained through Washington University’s Student Technology Services.


The Washington University Wireless Network is available throughout the Brown School in Brown Hall, Goldfarb Hall and Hillman Hall. Information about connecting to the University wireless network can be found here.


If you have questions about the recommended configuration or purchasing a laptop computer, please contact the Office of Information Technology via email at