Required Laptop Policy

(Issue date: Feb. 3, 2003; revised: Aug. 15, 2013)

The USF School of Architecture and Community Design (SACD) requires each student enrolled in the Advanced Design Studios A, B, and C to possess (through purchase or lease) a LAPTOP COMPUTER sufficient to reliably run the software listed at the bottom of this page.

The laptop computer requirement allows students to conduct the majority of digital work, which is an integral aspect of advanced architectural design education and professional practice, in the design studio. The studio is the primary place for the exchange of design ideas, critique, and synthesis, and the faculty at SACD believe that the student’s regular presence in the studio is critical for maximizing her or his architectural design learning.

The laptop is required in lieu of a desktop in order to address the limited design studio space available to each student. The mobility of the laptop allows the student to easily and quickly transform a relatively small desk space into a variety of configurations suitable for physical model-making, hand-drawing, hand-drafting, design research, and design writing as well as digital drawing, modeling, and graphic design.

SACD will continue to maintain more powerful computer systems in the teaching laboratory for intensive computing requirements when there are not being used for scheduled classes. Students may begin their digital work on their laptops and, if needed, transfer files to the teaching lab computers for final development.

Because the laptop is an educational requirement of SACD, some of the cost of a new computer purchase may be able to be factored in when determining a student’s financial need. For those that can’t include a laptop in their financial aid, the USF Federal Credit Union is one source for additional loans. Details about qualifying guidelines are available directly from the USF Office of Financial Aid. Please review these guidelines prior to choosing and purchasing a computer. The decision regarding a student’s eligibility for a budget adjustment may take 6 to 8 weeks, so students are strongly encouraged to plan ahead. The rules by which budget adjustments are made and the amounts allowed have recently change so all students needing financial assistance should contact the USF Office of Financial Aid as early as possible in the planning process.

THE COMPUTER PURCHASED FOR ALL ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS MUST BE A LAPTOP and must meet or exceed the specifications required to run the latest releases of the software listed in the Software Requirements section below.

SACD Laptop Software Requirements

The following software requirements comprise a basic text and graphics set-up. Additional software may be required for individual courses.

Some software may be included with your hardware purchase as part of the base package or as an upgrade. For software that is not included, the USF Computer Store and other local, mail-order, and internet companies (such as or offer discounted academic versions of software. When comparing prices, ask for the academic version and be prepared to provide proof of student status.


Software Requirements

Word Processing:Microsoft Office2010 or 2013 Std. Student & Teacher Ed. ($16.00 USF Computer Store)
Image Editing:Adobe Photoshop (Part of AdobeMaster Collection – 12month subscription $60.00 USF Computer Store)
Desktop Publishing / Illustration:InDesign (Part of Adobe Master Collection –12 month subscription $60.00 USF Computer Store)
CAD:Autodesk AutoCAD Architecture (Part of Autodesk Master Suite -$30.00 USF Computer Store)
BIM:Autodesk Revit Architecture ( Part of Autodesk Master Suite -$30.00 USF Computer Store)
3D Modeling:SketchupPro ($49 from )