Carnegie Mellon University

Tech Quick Start for Students

Welcome to Carnegie Mellon University! Use this page to learn how to take advantage of all the computing resources that the university has to offer. This guide may also be helpful if you're setting up a new computer.

If you can't find what you need, visit Help and Support.

Essentials Checklist

Complete the steps below to prepare your tech for life on campus, or check out our printable version (PDF).

What Do I Need to Buy?

Before you buy any computing resources for class, verify which ones we provide for you.

We Provide For You


Each student has access to our extensive software catalog, which includes:

  • Productivity software, like Microsoft Office and Google Workspace for Education
  • Collaboration software, like Box, Google Chat, and Zoom
  • Program-specific software that may be required by your instructors

Some software applications are available for download to your personal computer, while others are only available in computer labs or through Virtual Andrew or Timeshare Linux.

Students also have free access to LinkedIn Learning, a platform that offers thousands of short training videos on topics ranging from programming languages to strategic thinking and more.

Printers and Copiers

As a CMU student, you’re almost always just a few steps away from a campus printer that you can use from your computer or mobile device.

Computer Labs

Visit any of our Windows, Mac, or Linux computer labs 24/7 to access an extensive selection of software.

You May Need to Buy

CMU does not provide personal computers. Before you purchase one, check with your school to learn the hardware and software specifications required to complete your coursework.

Some schools have their own requirements, including:

Even if your school isn’t listed above, always check with your instructors before you buy!

If your school doesn’t provide specifications requirements, we recommend a Mac or PC that meets the specifications listed below.

If you have questions, the CMU Tech Store can help you purchase.

Recommended OS macOS 12 (Monterey) or macOS 13 (Ventura)
Processor* Any Intel or Apple Silicon (M1, M1 Pro, etc.)
Hard Drive 512 GB SSD

*Note: Mac computers with Apple Silicon M1 or M2 processors are unable to run Windows software through Boot Camp or VMware Fusion. If you have a Mac with either of these processors, you can still access supported applications through Virtual Andrew.

Processor Core i5 2.4 GHz
Hard Drive 512 GB SSD