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Marshall University Student Computer Hardware Recommendations and Software Requirements 2020/2021

Updated: May 2020

Marshall University recommends that all students come to campus equipped with a Smartphone and/or a Tablet, as well as, a notebook/laptop computer based on Windows 10 or macOS. Some Windows-based computers called 2-in-1’s or Convertibles serve both as a notebook/laptop and as a tablet device.

Smartphones and Tablets

The past five years, 2015-2020, have seen a rapid growth in the use of Smartphones and Tablets based on the Apple iOS or Android operating systems. These products have matured to a point that they have become an essential tool for today’s college student. Students and faculties have rapidly assimilated them into daily college life. These devices offer powerful functions that provide fantastic tools for communication and learning. In addition, those tools are comfortable, convenient, and foster interaction with people, as well as multitasking facilitation for formal and informal learning.

Software and applications that Marshall University provides to all students and employees free of charge on these mobile devices include:

  • MUMobile which provides mobile access to nearly everything at Marshall University
  • Marshall MobileID Card providing services to enter building/rooms, ride TTA buses, pay with Herd Points, etc.
  • Transact eAccounts providing your Marshall Mobile ID with the ability to pay at various locations accepting Herd Points
  • LinkedIn Learning providing over 10,000 free courses on a variety of topics
  • Blackboard Learning Management System App with access to your course information, material, grades, and the ability to attend some courses remotely and interactively.
  • Microsoft Office 365
    • Includes mobile versions of Outlook, Teams, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, OneDrive (1TB, of personal cloud storage accessible from any device), SharePoint, and Microsoft 365 Exchange Email with 100GB storage quota.
  • Mobile Credential/ID for mobile wallets to use as your student ID on campus for access to buildings, labs, residence halls, meal services, attendance tracking, tickets, and purchases at vending machines and campus food service locations.

The camera and Internet connectivity on these devices do not just offer access to social media but to valuable resources for scanning and saving notes & documents for class projects and learning objectives, accessing & storing digital content such as books, periodicals, journal articles, and current media content.

Pervasive WiFi on Campus for your Mobile Devices

Marshall University provides free pervasive WIFI services in all academic buildings and residence halls to support unlimited Internet/Internet2 use by these devices while on campus.

LTE Coverage

Mobile carriers servicing the Marshall University campuses include AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint/T-Mobile. If you are using a secondary carrier/provider, such as Cricket, Xfinity, Boost Mobile, Consumer Cellular, etc., please check with your carrier for coverage areas. Marshall University does support WIFI calling if it is supported by your carrier and your device inside most buildings with pervasive WiFi5 & WiFi6 services.

Devices to Consider

We would recommend devices supporting at least 128GB of storage, LTE and/or WiFi5 or WiFi6, as well as a the most recent version of the operating system. The Apple ecosystem is closed so there is a very predictable support and upgrade path for their mobile devices with iOS. Android devices are available from a variety of manufactures or mobile carriers and often limit or delay timely upgrades to the operating system.

  • Apple iPhone and iPad models using iOS 13 or above
    • iPhone 7/7 Plus
    • iPhone 8/8 Plus
    • iPhone X, Xs, & Xs Max
    • iPhone XR
    • iPhone 11/11Pro/11Pro Max
    • iPhone SE (2020)
    • The Apple Watch Series 3 and above also supports Marshall Mobile Credentials/ID
    • iPad (9.7 – 2017)
    • iPad (9.7 – 2018) – Pencil 1 Support
    • iPad Air (10.5 – 2019) Pencil 1 Support
    • iPad Mini (2019) Pencil 1 Support
    • iPad Pro 1st Generation 9.7 & 12.9 – Pencil 1 Support
    • iPad Pro 2nd Generation 10.5 & 12.9 – Pencil 1 Support
    • iPad Pro 3rd (2018) Generation 11 & 12.9 – Pencil 2 Support
    • iPad Pro 4th (2020) 11 & 12.9 – Pencil 2 Support
  • Android devices should be using Android version:
    • Android 8.x Oreo recommended as minimum
    • Android 9.x Pie
    • Android 10.x Q or above (current version) provides the best support and security
    • Current Android Phone devices to consider would include:
      • Samsung Galaxy 10e, 10, 10+
      • Samsung Galaxy S9, S10, or S20
      • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or 10/10+
      • Samsung Galaxy A51, A71, or A91 series (value Android Devices)
      • Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 or S6e
      • Google Pixel 2 or 2XL
      • Google Pixel 3 or 3XL
      • Google Pixel 3a or 3aXL
      • Google Pixel 4/4XL (4a expected summer 2020)

FCC Smartphone Security Checker – use this tool to help protect you against mobile security threats.

Notebooks and Laptops

Although some students may be able to get by using their SmartPhone, Tablet, and/or relying on public computer labs to meet their academic needs; it will be much easier, or required in some disciplines, to have a Windows or macOS based computer. Newer mobile computers are more powerful and capable than those that are just a few years old. They are thinner, lighter, and have much longer battery life. Many Windows-based computers can also double with many of the characteristics of an iPad or Android Tablet with near instant-on and pen capabilities.

Full notebook computers can also be easily attached to home docking stations or campus classroom or huddle space devices to provide multiple monitors or large screen displays for work that requires that type of resource.

If you are considering a new device, we would recommend you purchase with an extended warranty of at least three years and from a top tier manufacturer like Dell, Microsoft, HP, Lenovo, or Apple.

Personal Computers

Windows-based PC with Windows 10 Pro (new Purchase Recommendation)

  • Intel Core i5, i7, or i9 Processor 10th Generation or above
  • 16GB of RAM
  • NVMe Solid State Storage (preferred)
    • 256GB SSD storage minimum, 512GB SSD or higher Recommended
  • 1920×1080 Full HD IPS display 13, 14, or 15-inch minimum
  • USB 3.x (3.2 gen 2 preferred) minimum with USB Type C port availability preferred
  • USB Type C charging preferred
  • Thunderbolt 3 preferred
  • WiFi 5 minimum or WiFi6 preferred
  • Bluetooth 4.x minimum 5.x preferred
  • LTE Optional
  • HDMI port or adapter
  • 720p (1 megapixel) Webcam minimum 1080p (2 megapixel) Webcam preferred
  • Headset or earbuds with microphone

Recommended models include Dell Latitude 5xxx, 7xxx, 9xxx, Dell XPS 13 or 15 (2020), Dell XPS 2 in 1 (2020), Lenovo X1, Lenovo X1 Yoga, Microsoft Surface Pro 7, Microsoft Surface Book 3, Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft Surface Go 2, HP Spectre x360, HP Spectre Folio, HP EliteBook x360.

Apple-based PC with macOS Catalina (new purchase recommendation)

  • Intel Core i5, i7, or i9 Processors 10th Generation or above
  • 16GB of RAM
  • 256GB SSD storage minimum, 512GB SSD or higher Recommended
  • USB Type C to Type-A adapter
  • WiFi and Bluetooth standard
  • HDMI adapter
  • Apple Webcam
  • Headset or earbuds with microphone

Recommended models include MacBook Air 2020, MacBook Pro 13 inch or MacBook Pro 16 inch (touch bar is preferred on MacBook Pro models).

Is my current Windows 10 or macOS Catalina computer adequate?

If you have a current notebook computer that is less than four years old and meets the following minimums then it should be adequate for your use in most disciplines at Marshall University. Please check with your advisor if you are unsure:

  • Intel Core i5 or i7 Processor 7th Generation or above
  • Windows 10 Pro version or higher 1H2020 release OR macOS Catalina 10.15.x or higher
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB Hard Drive
  • 1080p Display
  • USB port(s)
  • WiFi4 (802.11n)
  • Bluetooth 4.x or above
  • 720p (1 megapixel) or higher webcam plus microphone and headset/earbuds


  • Marshall University Software provided for Personally owned Windows 10 and macOS PCs
  • Microsoft Office 365
    • Outlook, Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive (1TB, 1,000GB personal cloud storage accessible from any device), SharePoint, Microsoft 365 Exchange email with 100GB Quota
  • Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection for Windows and macOS (replacing Symantec’s End Point Protection)
  • EndNote (courtesy of the Marshall University School of Medicine for all students, faculty & staff)
  • Wolfram Alpha & Mathematica (courtesy of the College of Science)
  • MathWorks MATLAB and Simulink
  • Adobe Creative Cloud (limited to certain majors and courses)
  • For a list of available software

Security Recommendations
Available Software
Educational Discounts

Previous Purchase Recommendations

2017 / 2018 / 2019
Updated June 2018: Recommendations