Students in the College of Art and Design will be entering career fields where digital imaging technology is central. Below you will find recommended (optional) equipment that students will need to consider purchasing to be fully prepared for your work at RIT.

Several Schools/programs have provided specific supply lists (links immediately below). If you don't find your program listed, please look below for some recommendations that can help guide your hardware/software purchases for Fall.

SUPPLY LIST - General Supply List for College of Art and Design Students (Applies to multiple majors!)
SUPPLY LIST - School of Design - 3D Digital Design (SOD)
SUPPLY LIST - School of Design - Graphic Design (SOD)
SUPPLY LIST - School of Design - Interior Design (SOD)
SUPPLY LIST - School of Design - New Media Design (SOD)
SUPPLY LIST - School of Film and Animation (SOFA)
SUPPLY LIST - School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (SPAS) 

Special Offers and Purchase Programs - These offers are open to all registered CAD students, and will be updated as new offers come out!

As an RIT student, you are eligible for academic discounts on most computer hardware and software that you will need. We recommend shopping at RIT’s Digital Den as well as online and at your local retailers to get the best prices. Please note, many education discounts require some proof of enrollment or student ID.



General Supplies

The following supplies are needed for many classes:

  • A portable hard drive and at least two “thumb” drives (Flash media drives) (see recommendations below).
  • Notebooks and 3-ring binders for notes and materials.

Please Note: In addition to these supplies, there will be additional books and supplies required each semester by individual instructors for specific classes. These additional costs may add up to $300.00 per semester.


The following items are recommended only. You are encouraged to select those items that are most relevant to your interests and fit within your budgetary limitations. Further, the prices/specifications listed are current as of May 2020. It is likely that newer, faster equipment is available by the time you go to make your purchase, so we offer these strictly as recommendations to help guide you through your purchase.


Although our labs are fully equipped with high-end Apple and PC computers, a personal computer (Mac or PC with appropriate software) will allow you to complete much of the necessary course work at home. The specific system you choose will ultimately be based on your budgetary limitations and need for portability. To best meet the demands of the software we recommend purchasing as much RAM and storage(hard drive space) as your budget will allow. If you are interested in purchasing a computer system, we suggest that you use the following information as your guide.

Please check with the RIT Digital Den as they frequently offer “combo” deals on computers, printers, etc. that will not be available until Summer or the beginning of Fall semester. This is also often the best time to purchase the latest software.

All prices are accurate as of May 2020, but may change by the time you purchase your equipment.


There are three ways to purchase Apple products from RIT Digital Den:
1) in person
2) by phone (585) 424-6766 x204
3) online at http://www.rit.edu/fa/digitalden/or directly from Apple’s RIT store: http://store.apple.com/us_edu_14393/

iMac or iMac Pro 21.5" – 27" (All-in-one best value desktop)
Estimated Price*: $1099.00 – $4,999.00+

MacBook Pro 13" or 16” (Best portable, but more expensive)
Estimated Price*: $1299.00 – $2799.00+

Mac Pro (Best desktop for both power and expandability, only recommended for experienced power users)
Estimated Price* (computer only, monitor purchased separately): $5999.00+


APPLECARE (*HIGHLY suggested for any Apple Product)
Price: $169 for iMacs, $299 for desktops, $379 for MacBook Pros

The AppleCare Protection Plan extends your built-in hardware service and 90-day telephone support to three full years from the purchase date of your new Apple product. This comprehensive plan includes telephone support, Apple-certified repairs, web-based support resources, and powerful diagnostic tools — all for one economical price. It is HIGHLYrecommended for laptops/portables.


Listed below are comparable PC computers. While we recommend a Dell with the following minimum specifications, we do want to note that most of the CIAS environment is Apple-Hardware-based and we generally recommend exploring those product options first. There is an educational pricing site available through


Desktop PC – Example: Dell Inspiron 27 7000 Series Touch Screen Desktop
Estimated Price: $1,508*

Notebooks – Example: XPS 15 2-in-1 Laptop
Estimated Price: $1,449 - 1,999*

*We always highly recommend purchasing the 3-year warranty on parts and service (listed as 3 Year Mail-In Service). Prices are included in the estimates above.

You may also want to consider BOXX at www.boxxtech.com for alternative PC solutions. They are a bit more expensive than Dell, but we have installed them with great success and reliability in many of our PC labs.

*Note: All prices are subject to change and offered as a starting point. Contact the RIT Digital Den or go to www.store.apple.comor www.dell.com for the latest prices. Be sure to reference the student /education pricing.


We recommend investing in a laptop lock ($40.00) for your portables. These are available at the Digital Den or at most computer stores. NEVER leave your laptop unsecured.


Wacom Pens
Wacom tablets are available in multiple CAD labs, and pens are available for 24-hour checkout through our equipment cages. However, we are also recommending that students purchase their own pen if they prefer not to use the cage or want to minimize exposure through shared equipment.

Wacom Pro Pen 2 - KP504E
Wacom Pro Pen 3D - KP505  

Keyboards and Mice
While keyboards and mice are available at every workstation in the college, we are currently recommending you consider purchasing your own USB keyboard and/or mouse for use in the labs as a safety precaution for Fall semester.

FYI, Bluetooth is NOT universally available on all computers, so be mindful of how your peripherals connect to the computer. USB is a common interface on all workstations.



Remotely accessible server storage is available for temporarily moving files through the RIT network. USB “Thumb” drives can be used for smaller portable needs. However, we also strongly recommend you consider a 1-2 TB portable USB hard drive for larger project work and for data backup, and more efficient portability between labs and other work environments. We also recommend that you keep backups of your files (projects, etc.) in AT LEAST 2-3 places and save often! Currently, USB 3.0 drives designed for stationary use can store over 1Tb but, for maximum portability, we recommend the following portable or semi-portable models:

USB Flash (Thumb) Drives: (These will go by such names as “Jump”, “Flash,” or “USB” drives)

Prices range from $10 – $155 depending on size; on average they can store between 1GB to 32GB or more. It is HIGHLY recommended to have at least two flash drives and use them to save duplicates of your files.

External/Portable Hard drives

LaCie and Western Digital (among many others) make portable drives in various shapes and sizes to suit your needs. The prices range from $75 and up. Any external drive you purchase should connect either in the minimum by USB 3.0 or also Thunderbolt or Firewire.


Many of our students use tablets like the iPad and the Galaxy can be used for a variety of applications in and out of the classroom. The School of Media Sciences provides a small number of tablets for specific class assignments through checkout. If you are looking to purchase one for yourself, we recommend getting one with the greatest capacity you can afford at the time. (You never know what your future demands will be.)

SDHC and XQD media

These are two standard formats for the digital camera technologies available to you through the labs. Prices start at $30 and range up to over $100. Some digital cameras are available for checkout from the college equipment cages require one of these cards and it is recommended that students elect to purchase a card of their own to use. These cards work in a variety of equipment. SDHC tends to be the most common in our equipment, but you can always ask first before purchasing.


Our lab workstations have a wide array of software applications that you will use for your coursework at RIT. The Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft word included many of the most commonly used applications.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe offers up their software solutions via the “Creative Cloud” platform via a cloud-distributed model on a monthly subscription basis of $19.99/Month This also offers up their entire suite of software products to subscribers.

Please see http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud/students.edu.html or the Digital Den for more information and educational pricing.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft offers two options for students through the RIT Digital Den: https://www.rit.edu/fa/digitalden/

Office2016 – Includes MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and either Outlook (XP) or Entourage (Mac)
Both of these options are good for one computer (and can transfer to a new computer) and the license lasts in perpetuity.  Academic price: $149.95* this academic pricing is ONLY available through Digital Den.

Office365 – Both – New offering that brings Office to a mobile device (like the iPad). The catch is that the license last for four years and can only be installed on up to two computers total and the license will not transfer to a new computer. This means you can install it on one computer, and if you replace that computer with a new one, you can install one more time onto the new one. If you replace your machine a third time in four years, you will NOT be able to transfer your license. Academic price: $69* this academic pricing is ONLY available through Digital Den.

* Prices may vary by Fall. Please check for deals offered through RIT’s Digital Den. Great discounts are frequently available closer to the start of Fall Semester, and you may want to check once you arrive at RIT.

G Suite

RIT students have free access to G Suite for Education from Google, which includes an RIT Gmail account and the various Google apps (like Docs, Sheets, etc. that could be viable alternatives to purchasing Microsoft software depending on your budget). This also includes unlimited storage with Google Drive, which offers a great cloud storage option for all of your school work as part of your data back up plan.


Student Insurance

As an accompaniment to any equipment purchase, all students are strongly encouraged to acquire insurance for their personal gear and any gear they check out from the CAD rental facility known as the “Cage” To learn more about insurance programs, please visit:

www.collegestudentinsurance.com - For an instant quote select “New York,” “Rochester Institute of Technology,” and $6,000.00 “. This is the advised amount for first year students.

College of Art and Design’s Remote Desktop System

Select Windows and Mac labs are available for remote connections.  This will be offered on a limited basis based on existing computer usage in the lab.

Any computer/tablet/Chromebook/etc. that has a modern, up-to-date web browser will work, but for optimal experience, we suggest:

  • Using Chrome or Firefox
  • A larger monitor (if possible), on average, 21-27” are average sizes for many of our labs. If you have a larger display area, you may find it is easy to do class projects.
  • The fastest internet connection you are able to access.
    • When accessing the college’s lab computers remotely, slower connections might see lag-times in responses
    • When using a remote computer in the college’s labs, or elsewhere on campus, your own personal computer device does not need to be as robust.


If you would like suggestions about additional equipment such as scanners, printers, and digital cameras, please contact us at cadtech@rit.edu and we will answer your questions or direct you to the appropriate resource.