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New Students

Getting started:

Our official mode of communication is your email address. You are expected to:

  • Check your Virginia Tech email on a regular basis,
  • Read information sent to you by university officials (including your academic advisor), and
  • Take necessary action as instructed.

While you will not need to purchase textbooks for first-semester foundational art courses, you will need art supplies. During the first week of classes, your instructors will tell you what supplies will be needed for each class.

Be prepared to make purchases up to $200 for supplies in the first semester. Not all supplies will be needed right away, so some students prefer to buy supplies as needed.

Some ART classes will have an Art Resource Charge (ARC) to cover resources such as materials and technology needs. ARC amounts are indicated in the comments section of the course listing on the Timetable of Classes, and will be charged to your student account.

Please follow the Computer Requirements for your major.

Some students choose to add:

  • an external mouse to reduce wrist strain, and
  • an external monitor for dorm/home use.

FAQ: Do I have to buy a brand-new computer, or can I use what I have?

If you have a current computer, you may be able to use it for your first year, then purchase a new computer next summer once you have a better idea of what your needs and preferences are. Please consider the following:

  • Computers need to be healthy, durable, and should be able to run a fairly robust program called After Effects for ART 1604: Principles of 4D Art & Design. System requirements for After Effects.

  • To be successful in your first-year courses, your computer should have a minimum of:

    • 16GB RAM, and 
    • a Core i7, M1, or M2 processor
  • If your current computer only has 8GB of RAM but an M1 processor, you may be able to get by but your computer will struggle with some tasks.

  • We do not recommend trying to use a computer below these specs.

If you are purchasing a new computer:

  • It would be wise to go with the latest Apple Silicon (M2 as of April 2023).
  • Get a MacBook Pro - ideally the 14-inch or 16-inch version.
  • Do not get a MacBook Air.
  • Get AppleCare +!

FAQ: Do I really have to use a Mac? Can I use a PC instead?

Digital content creation touches every aspect of what we do in our school, whether you are a graphic designer, studio artist, or a creative tech student. Performance matters more than brand. By and large, a MacBook Pro will outlast a comparable PC by several years.

If you would like to use a PC instead of a Mac, please consider the following:

  • All instruction in our studio-based classes will assume that students are using Macs.
  • Students choosing to use a PC take responsibility for understanding the nuances between operating systems.
  • Faculty will not amend curriculum to accommodate PC users.

Additional notes by major:

  • Art (Art History): You can get by with using a PC as long as it meets the minimum requirements. Please consider the notes above.
  • Graphic Design: Although we highly recommend Macs because they’re the industry standard, we have had students in the past use a PC laptop. Those same students have had software and hardware difficulties with many eventually switching to Macs in their junior or senior years.


If you have questions about computer requirements, please contact Dongsoo Choi.

All students should purchase the Undergraduate Software Bundle.

Adobe Creative Cloud is also required for students in the School of Visual Arts (SOVA). Pricing for this software is on an annual basis, and will be automatically billed to student accounts. 

If you have any questions about required software, please contact Dongsoo Choi.

We want everyone to stay safe in our classrooms and workspaces.  All students taking classes or using workspaces in the Armory or the CID (Creativity & Innovation District) building are required to complete online training modules in the Virginia Tech Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) system.

All students using the Armory and/or the CID are required to complete the following training modules:

  • Coronavirus Awareness
  • Ladder Safety
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Awareness
  • Portable Fire Extinguishers 

Students who are using CID 130, the Makerspace, are also required to complete these additional training modules:

  • Hand and Power Tool Safety
  • Laser Safety 
  • Machine Shop Safety 
  • Welding and Cutting Safety

You can view lists of required training modules in your user profile. Follow the link and click EHS profile, then select the Training tab to view your list of complete and incomplete training modules.

This is very important. Students that do not comply with VT EHS protocols will lose access to SOVA spaces and holds can be placed on student accounts.

Also, please do not provide access or prop doors open to secure labs that require card swipe and/or PIN access to students who have not completed the required training modules.

If you have any questions about required safety training or need assistance accessing the online training modules, please contact Ray Callahan.

Once you have completed your required safety training modules, card swipe access will be activated for the above spaces. You will use your Hokie Passport (student ID card) to access these rooms.

For access to CID 116 and 117, you will need to set a PIN.

If you have any questions about card swipe access to SOVA spaces or need assistance with card swipe access, please contact Ray Callahan.