Laptop Hardware & Software Recommendations

COM recommends every student have a laptop which is capable of running the applications taught in classes. Unless otherwise noted, all applications used in the College can be installed on Macs and PCs and are available to students without cost. We do not recommend one platform over another, however, the majority of COM’s public computers are Macs. Generally speaking, any laptop purchased in 2015 or later is suitable or can be upgraded for a minimal cost.

Minimum Laptop Specifications:

  • Windows 7/10 or Mac OS Sierra (or Later)
  • 13″+ Screen with 1920 x 1080 Resolution or higher
  • 100GB+ unused disk space available for applications and basic media
  • Additional free space for media (video, images, etc) and/or external hard drive (see below)
  • 8GB+ of RAM
  • 2 or more USB3 or USB-C Ports

For classes which are video or effects intensive (primarily advanced Film & TV courses) we recommend laptops with 16GB of RAM and a screen resolution of 2560 x 1600 (“Retina Display”). Student may find 15″ screens preferable for these classes.

New Computer Purchases

If a new computer is needed, we recommend the systems available through BU’s Personal Computer Purchase program. These systems are fully supported by the BU IT Help Center and most are suitable for COM classes. Refer to our minimum laptop specifications listed above.

Required Software

Unless otherwise noted, applications needed for COM are either free to download or Boston University offers a no-cost license to students enrolled in COM degree programs.

Please see the COM Software Download Links page for more details.

External Media Options

  • SD Cards: Most COM cameras and audio recorders require a student-provided SD Memory Card. Cards should be 16GB+, “Class 10” or “SDHC”. Name brand card recommended. Example Product on
  • USB Key: An inexpensive USB key/stick will allow students to move files quickly between computers. Example Product on Note: These cannot take the place of an external drive for classes which require one.
  • External Hard Drive: Students in video focused classes might acquire 100GB to 2TB+ of video footage per semester. Since many laptops do not have adequate internal storage, an external hard drive is recommended. Students should look for a name-brand drive that uses connection which matches their computer. For example, G-Tech 2TB drive or a Lacie 1TB USB-C/USB3 drive. A “Rugged” drive is not required but preferable if bringing to class, locations, etc.

No-Cost Cloud Storage

  • Google Drive: The Google Drive linked to student’s Google account (login with BU Username) has unlimited storage. This is an ideal place to store and share backups of photos, video, assignments, etc. We highly encourage students to take advantage of this free benefit.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud Account: The BU Provided Adobe Creative Cloud account has 100GB of free storage. This can facilitate sharing and editing Adobe projects. Access to the Creative Cloud is via desktop application installed automatically with any Adobe application. Adobe Creative Cloud at BU
    • Blackboard: Blackboard Learn is used to distribute files to students and for uploading completed assignments.
    • MyMedia: BU’s MyMedia is video sharing system for teaching and assignments. It’s similar to YouTube but specialized for BU.