Stout Online Programs (Graduate and Undergraduate): Personal Laptop & Technology Recommendations

This is a list of specifications recommended for students using personal laptops for online coursework. These are recommended minimums.

In order to serve our online students better, we have created a set of minimum recommendations for personal laptops used in online courses. These specifications are the minimum recommended for Mac and Windows machines. Hardware needs may also vary by program and your adviser or program may have additional recommendations.You can also contact our Technology Help Desk at or 715-232-5000.

Minimum Hardware Recommendations

  • Processor: 2 GHz or faster x64-bit processor (Recommended Intel Core i5 10th gen processor or higher, or AMD Ryzen 5 3000-series or higher)
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM (Recommended 16GB or higher)
  • Hard Disk: 500 GB hard drive (recommended SSD)
  • Display: 1280x720 screen resolution
  • Operating System:
      • Windows 11
      • MacOS 13 (Ventura) or higher
    • Browser: Current version of Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, or Safari
    • Internet connection: DSL or Cable modem or a high speed mobile hotspot required. A broadband connection is recommended. 
    • Some courses may require a headset with an attached microphone.
    **There may be additional hardware recommendations for students enrolled in some programs including the Master of Fine Art in Design (MFA) program.  The minimum hardware recommendations will vary depending on the software required for your courses.  Links to system requirements for some of the software are listed on this article:   Stout Online Programs (Graduate and Undergraduate): Software Requirements

    Canvas Requirements

    Canvas, UW Stout's online learning platform, recommends these basic specifications for computers and browsers:

    **Please note that Canvas does require Javascript to be enabled in the browser.

    Corporate and Personal Firewalls

    Many corporations and individuals have installed firewalls to protect the computers on their networks. Firewalls can serve two purposes:

    1. Prevent unwanted intrusion of the network (e.g., from hackers, viruses)
    2. Control unwanted traffic to unapproved sites

    If you are at work and encounter a firewall-related error message or have problems accessing restricted resources, you may need to contact your corporate IT group for assistance.

    If you are using your personal computer and have installed and/or activated firewall or security software, you will need to verify the course sites are not blocked and that ports 80 (standard Web port) and 443 (secure sockets port) are open to your Web browser. Information on how to check this should be in the documentation provided with the software involved.

    Tablet and Mobile Support

    Please note that while tablets and other mobile devices can be used for some tasks in online learning, they are not sufficient for completing all online learning requirements. For some tasks, you will need access to a laptop or desktop computer.

    Minimum Software Requirements

    • Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office365 is available for download on Windows and MacOS for current students.  Installable titles include: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, Outlook, Teams, and OneDrive for Business. (How to Install) 

    **There may be additional software recommendations for some programs, including the Master of Fine Art in Design (MFA) program.  Most software is available on specific computer lab machines on campus.  If you want to purchase your own copy of the software, you can find information below here:  Stout Online Programs (Graduate and Undergraduate): Software Requirements  

    KeywordsMac Windows 10 8.1 7 personal laptop Macintosh Apple Office specifications specs minimum software requirement requirements recommend recommendations recommends online Linux hard drive memory RAM   Doc ID85169
    OwnerJeremy N.GroupUW Stout
    Created2018-08-23 11:34:18Updated2023-12-20 16:31:21
    SitesUW Stout
    Feedback  13   2