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Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services

MSU Computer Requirement


All undergraduate students at Michigan State are required to have a computer that can connect to the Internet using a high speed connection.

All students should check with their prospective major college and department to see if they have specific computer requirements. For example, some programs require that all of their students have a laptop computer. Others make strong recommendations about computers using particular operating systems.

If there are no specific computer requirements for the student’s program of studies:

  • The computer may be either a desktop or a laptop.
  • The student's computer may be any brand running any operating system; however, students will want to be sure the computer will run applications software they will use for homework (e.g. office applications).
  • The computer must be able to directly connect to MSU's campus network and the Internet using a high-speed Ethernet connection.
  • Handheld devices, such as Web-enabled personal digital assistants or cell phones, do not meet the requirement.
  • MSU does not recommend students rely on an Apple iPad, tablet device, or netbook computer as their primary computer due to software limitations. Additional iPad, tablet, and netbook computer guidelines are available at

If a laptop computer is chosen, students should consider having a machine that is equipped not only with an Ethernet card, but also with a wireless card to communicate wirelessly with the MSU network. The MSU wireless network supports all current wireless communication protocols (802.11a, b, g, and n).

It is crucially important that all computers be equipped with virus protection and firewall software, and that the software be installed and running prior to connecting a computer to the MSU network.

Please be aware that some course sections may be taught with the expectation that students use laptop computers in class (this is noted in the schedule of course listings), so a laptop may provide expanded instructional opportunities for students.

Financial Aid for Meeting the Computer Requirement

Students who qualify for financial aid may request up to $600 in additional aid in order to meet the computer requirement. Most students who qualify will receive loans. The most needy students may receive grants. See more information and request forms from MSU's Office of Financial Aid.

Computer Purchasing—MSU Computer Store

The MSU Computer Store sells computer hardware and software to MSU students, faculty, and staff at educational discount prices. Popular software is available in some cases for less than half the retail price.

The Computer Store is located in room 110 on the first floor of the Computer Center, along the Red Cedar River next to the Administration Building.

Note: Students do not need to buy their computers at the MSU Computer Store.

If you think you have a virus or need help with software installations, you can take your computer to MSU Computer Help and Repair in room 120 of the Computer Center.

Computer Security

MSU considers computer security to be extremely important. Protect your computer by:

  1. Adding your equipment, especially laptops, to your family’s insurance coverage.
  2. Registering your computer with STOP (Security Tracking of Office Property), a program with University Stores to make it difficult or impossible to sell a stolen computer; and
  3. Purchasing and using a security cable if you own a laptop computer, even when you leave it in your residence hall. Make sure to lock the door to your room. Also do not leave your laptop unattended in libraries or other public areas.

For additional SecureIT information, check out

(Last updated May 4, 2011.)