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 Library and the 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.

The University provides some study spaces with desktop computers for students to use on campus. However, if you are studying online or at a distance you will need to provide your own computer.

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 Office 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) so there is no need to buy this with a laptop:

Office 365 for students

It is important to have a good anti-virus software on your laptop. This provides valuable protection by detecting and removing malware. It can also block malicious webpages to help prevent malware from being downloaded:

About anti-virus software for students

The following minimum specifications will ensure the laptop will manage the above software. Some higher specifications are also provided if you want a laptop that will perform better over a longer timeframe. This information will be updated annually.

Minimum Better
macOS or Windows - Intel Core i5 or i7 Quad-core processor or AMD Ryzen 3 or 5 Quad-core Intel Core i5 or i7 Quad-core or AMD Ryzen 5, 7 or 9 Apple M1 chip if purchasing macOS computer
8 GB RAM 16 GB RAM
Integrated graphics card or dedicated graphics card Dedicated graphics card (minimum 2GB GDDR5 or GDDR6)
Particularly if you are doing graphic intensive work (or gaming)
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)
A webcam and microphone (built-in) A webcam and microphone (built-in). Additionally, a headset with microphone to give a better video conferencing experience
Two-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)
Note: Do not purchase additional store warranties. The Consumer Guarantees Act provides you with protection for faults.
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)
Note: Do not purchase additional store warranties. The Consumer Guarantees Act provides you with protection for faults.

If you have been given or are purchasing a secondhand laptop, use these specifications as a guide. Ideally the secondhand laptop should be only 1-2 years old. Additionally, the operating system should be either:

  • Windows 10 32-bit or 64-bit version (not Windows RT or 10 S) – only genuine versions of Windows
  • macOS 10.14 (Mojave), macOS 10.15 (Catalina), or macOS 11 (Big Sur) – only genuine versions of macOS

Financial assistance for laptop purchase

If you need help to pay for study materials (e.g. books, stationery, computer items), you may be able to get a Student Loan for course-related costs

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:

Within New Zealand: 0800 80 80 98 (freephone)
From Australia: 1800 46 82 46 (freephone)
International: +64 3 479 7000

Enquiry form
Email university@otago.ac.nz
Chat with an AskOtago Service Representative

Last updated 17/03/2021 10.51 AM

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