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Clark University recommends that, if possible, students own a personal device – either a desktop or laptop. If purchasing a device is not possible, those students who study here in Worcester are welcome to use the large number of public computers available across campus.

Below, find some recommended and minimum specifications for personal devices, for both general student use, and some for specialist programs. If you don’t see your specialist program below, you may want to check with your academic department to see if they have preferred specifications.

If you would like advice before making your final choice, please don’t hesitate to contact the ITS Help Desk, 1-508-793-7745.

A Note about Tablets and Chromebooks

We have seen that students who rely solely on cellphones, tablets or ChromeBooks often struggle to participate fully in academic activities. Much academic software has technical requirements that can’t be accommodated by these devices. If you are investing in a device, where possible, we do recommend purchasing a PC or Mac laptop or desktop.


When ordering from the HP store ITS recommends purchasing from the EliteBook series for Laptops and from the EliteDesk series for Desktops.

When purchasing from the Apple store ITS recommends purchasing from the MacBook Pro series for Laptops and from the Mac mini for Desktops.

  • Processor – dual core 2.4 GHz+ (i5 or i7 series Intel processor or equivalent AMD)
  • RAM – 16 GB
  • Hard Drive – 256 GB or larger solid state hard drive
  • Graphics Card – any with DisplayPort/HDMI or DVI support – desktop only
  • Wireless (for laptops) – 802.11ac (WPA2 support required)
  • Monitor – 23″ widescreen LCD with DisplayPort/HDMI or DVI support – desktop only
  • Operating System – Windows 11 Home or Professional editions, or Apple OS 12 or higher
  • Warranty – 3 year warranty – desktop only
  • Warranty – 4 year warranty with accidental damage protection – laptop only
  • Backup Device – External hard drive and/or USB Flash Drive
  • Please note: The extended warranties listed above must be added at the enhancement page when selecting your hardware for purchase.
  • Processor – dual core @ 2.4 GHz (i5 or i7 Intel processor or equivalent AMD)
  • RAM – 8 GB
  • Hard Drive – 320 GB 5400 RPM hard drive
  • Wireless (for laptops) – 802.11g/n (WPA2 support required)
  • Operating System – Windows 10 or Apple OS 12
  • Backup Device – External hard drive and/or USB Flash Drive

The recommendations below should be considered in addition to those offered above by ITS.

  • Students in Computer Science and Data Science courses are encouraged to purchase laptops rather than desktops as they are used in many classes.
  • ChromeBooks are not recommended for these courses. You should purchase a Windows, Mac or Linux device.
  • Recommended Specifications
    • 32GB of RAM is strongly recommended particularly for Data Science courses.
      • 16GB is the minimum specification.
    • An SSD (solid state drive) hard drive of 1TB is recommended
      • 512GB SSD is the minimum specification
    • A USB-C connection to use in-class docking stations
  • Clark provides students free access to many common software including

If you have additional questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk, or your admissions advisor.

The recommendations below should be considered in addition to those offered above by ITS.

  • Recommended Specifications
    • Multicore Intel I9 or similar Ryzen CPU
    • 16 to 32 GB of RAM
    • An SSD (solid state drive) hard drive of at least 512GB
    • A good stand-alone graphics card with on-board memory;
      • an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070, or comparable AMD alternative are a good choice
      • the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 card is more capable, but expensive for a novice system.
    • A monitor resolution of at least 1080; ideally 1920×1080.
  • Students tend to purchase HP, Lenovo, Apple, or similar devices.
    • Desktop PCs often provide more value than laptops, though will require the purchase of a monitor.
    • A good warranty is important for all devices
  • We do not recommend spending significant amounts of money on a computer as an incoming first year student. Many students opt to upgrade devices during the program.
    • Appropriate computers are available for $1,500-$2,000, though many students also have success purchasing official refurbished devices
    • Generally, a computer that plays video games well, will be appropriate for making games.
  • Clark provides students free access to many common software including

If you have additional questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk, or your admissions advisor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Systems featured on these pages may be ordered by members of the Clark University community including:

  • Students: undergraduate and graduate students (including incoming students and recent graduates);
  • Faculty: including full- and part-time, adjuncts and emeritus faculty members;
  • Staff: including full and part-time employees;

Please note: These laptops are configured for personal purchases only, as opposed to institutional purchases. Institutional purchases must go through the ITS Help Desk.

At the time of your order you may be asked for verification of your affiliation with Clark.

The computers in our desktop and laptop comparisons have been validated to work within Clark’s computing environment. They build on university initiatives, such as wireless network connectivity and laptop initiatives in the curriculum. In addition, Information Technology Services staff is able to offer you a higher level of service with these models as we have established a rapport with the manufacturers.

Clark believes that you should have a three-year warranty on your laptop computer and recommends the additional option of accidental damage protection (covering damage from spills, drops, power surges, etc). Most computers sold at retail stores come with only 1 year warranties.

Laptop computers best suit the life of the typical Clark student. Their portability allows you to bring your work with you to class, the library, or your study groups. Laptop computers are easy to secure in your residence hall and take up much less space in your residence hall room. When moving back and forth to campus over the years, they present much less of a transportation headache.

Clark has undertaken wireless networking projects on campus which are aimed at making network/Internet connectivity available. Clark’s wireless networking initiatives and projects greatly facilitate access to the campus network and the Internet. See information about Clark’s wireless coverage.

We have not asked HP or Lenovo to to include Microsoft Office Professional in their configurations because the university licensing arrangements allow us to provide it to you for less than the manufacturers’ best academic pricing. Click here to install Microsoft Office 365 for free.

Clark University also includes students in our campus license for antivirus software. If you are bringing your computer to campus, it is best to install our free antivirus software prior to your arrival. Or if you need help, we are more than happy to assist you. Contact the ITS Help Desk to make this arrangement at 1-508-793-7745 or email us at Help Desk.

Click here for other software information.

ITS gets many questions about laptop security from folks concerned about the possibility of theft. There have not been widespread laptop thefts on our campus. In the case of the few systems that have been stolen, they were not secured and had been left unattended. ITS recommends Kensington MicroSaver keyed locks that come in single lock for laptops or double for desktops and monitors. They can be purchased from major resellers or directly from Kensington.

Contact Information

ITS Help Desk

Call or Email
Summer 2024 Hours
  • Monday-Friday: 8am – 5pm
    Wed., June 19: Closed in observance of Juneteeth