The University of Otago highly recommends that you have your own laptop computer so that you can study flexibly and access the digital resources you will need from various locations (e.g. your accommodation, the libraries and many study spaces available across our campuses), and at times that suit you. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that we need to be flexible about how and where we learn, study, and sit exams. If you are a postgraduate student, you may enquire in your department about whether a University-owned device can be provided to you.
The University provides study spaces with desktop computers (Mac and Windows) for students to use on campus. However if you are studying online or at a distance you will need to provide your own computer.
In the event of a Level 3 or greater lockdown where study spaces become unavailable, the University may provide loan laptops to aid online study. Please contact AskOtago to check whether these are available.
The University recommends using a laptop computer with a Windows or Mac operating system. A laptop provides the functionality of a desktop computer with the ability to be mobile. Windows and Mac operating systems are well supported and are compatible with the common software you will use at the University of Otago.
Some computer-intensive programmes/papers may have specific computing requirements—check with the department before you purchase.
As an Otago student you will have free access to Microsoft 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) so there is no need to buy this with a laptop:
It is a requirement to have anti-virus software on your laptop. This provides valuable protection by detecting and removing malware. It can also block malicious websites to help prevent malware from being downloaded:
The following minimum specifications will ensure your laptop can manage the required software. This table is to be used as a guide and your particular needs will be specific to you. Some higher specifications are also provided if you want a laptop that will perform better over a longer timeframe. If you have been given or are purchasing a second-hand laptop, it should ideally be only one to two years old.
This information will be updated annually.
|macOS 10.15 Catalina
Windows 10 32-bit (not RT or 10 S)
|macOS 11 (Big Sur) or macOS 12 (Monterey)
Windows 10 64-bit (not RT or 10 S) or Windows 11
|CPU||Intel Core i5
AMD Ryzen 3
|Intel Core i7
AMD Ryzen 5, 7, or 9
|Storage||256 GB SSD||512 GB or greater SSD|
|RAM||8 GB RAM||16 GB RAM|
|Graphics||Any integrated graphics card or dedicated graphics card||Dedicated graphics card (2GB GDDR5 or GDDR6), particularly if you are doing graphically intensive work|
|Screen||13"–15" screen (minimum resolution of 1920 x 1080)||13"–16" screen (minimum resolution of 1920 x 1080), consider a touchscreen with stylus pen if keen on doing hand annotations and/or drawing|
|Wi-Fi (802.11ac or 802.11ax, Wi-Fi 6 and WPA2/WPA3)||Wi-Fi 6 compatible (802.11ac or 802.11ax and WPA2/WPA3)|
|Webcam||A webcam and microphone (built-in)||Additionally, a headset with microphone to give a better video conferencing experience|
It is recommended to have a two or three year manufacturer's warranty with support. A warranty that provides on-site services provides better continuity of use than a warranty that requires the device to be shipped for service.
Do not purchase additional store warranties. The Consumer Guarantees Act provides you with protection for faults.
You should only use genuine versions of Windows or macOS. Although you may wish to use a Linux-based computer, this is not officially supported by the University and it is not guaranteed to work with all the software required in your study.
Please note that both Windows 11 and macOS 12 (Monterey) are relatively new and some systems/programmes may not be fully compatible until updates are made available.
Financial assistance for laptop purchase
If you need help to pay for study materials (for example books, stationery, computer items), you may be able to get a StudyLink Student Loan for course-related costs. Check the StudyLink website for details including information about eligibility:
In case of financial hardship due to COVID-19, please see the University's information regarding Pūtea Tautoko:
Help or more information
If you have any questions, please contact AskOtago: