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Computer Recommendations

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The fundamental role of drawing, has been central to the curriculum at the University of Miami School of Architecture.

Over the years, both faculty and students have produced beautiful and rigorous drawings that have been the outcome of countless hours of research and commitment.

Today, these drawings are generated both manually and digitally; and it is essential that each student be equipped with the proper tools to excel in the multi-faceted, nature of architectural drawing.

U-SoA utilizes the computer as an essential part of a modern and advanced undergraduate education. The curriculum incorporates a variety of two dimensional and three dimensional software including Autocad, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Google Sketch-Up Pro, Rhino, Revit, Maya and 3D Max. Therefore, it is mandatory that incoming students purchase a computer capable of handling these sophisticated graphic and design applications.

Due to the changing nature of the electronic world, U-SoA refrains from prescribing any specific computer brands, processor models, etc. The School cannot guarantee that any single device will be adequate for all computing needs. The following set of guidelines is meant to assist each student in purchasing a computer capable of supporting the software requirements of the current curriculum.

U-SoA and the University of Miami (at-large) is set up to support Microsoft Windows operating systems. Students may purchase Apple MacOS computers, if they prefer.

U-SoA recommends that each student purchase a laptop, primarily for the ease of portability and compactness.

Hardware Specifications

Computer Age: computers should have a processor not older than the fall of 2017. At the time of this writing, this means an Intel Core i7 (Quad-Core) processor or equivalent.

Screen Size: this is the single most important consideration for AutoCAD and graphic work. The School recommends laptops with 15-inch displays as the minimum screen size. However, we advise that students purchase a laptop with an external monitor (as large as possible), as laptops with larger screen sizes usually add 1-2 pounds of weight and have decreased battery life, making them less mobile.

External Optical Mouse: second to screen size in importance, an external mouse with two buttons is an essential tool for multiple software applications, particularly AutoCAD. The current “track-pads” and built-in mice on laptops will not be used.

RAM Memory and Hard Disks: the School recommends a minimum of 16 Gigabytes of RAM and a solid-state drive (SSD) of no less than 500 Gigabytes of space. This is particularly important for Mac users.

Applications such as Revit, 3d Max, Grasshopper (Plugin for Rhinoceros 5) and Autocad Architecture (not to be confused by Autocad) are PC-compatible only. Mac users will need to take this into consideration and make sure a system with sufficient hard drive space is purchased for Windows installation (Bootcamp).

GPU (Graphical Processing Unit) Video Card: It is recommended for computers to have a dedicated graphics card of at least 2 GB. NVIDIAand AMD offer workstation solutions such as Quadro (NVIDIA) and FirePro (AMD) lines, which are specifically targeted for content creationCAD applications.

Extended Onsite Warranty: The School strongly recommends that each student purchase extended, on-site warranty service for their computers. Most of these offerings include accident coverage as well. On-site warranty means the company will send someone to the home or campus drop-off location to fix the computer, rather than having to wait for weeks or more for mail-in service.


Most software requirements for the School of Architecture are free to students via vendors including:

Autodesk Software
Microsoft Office Suite
Adobe Creative Cloud

The following software are offered at a discounted price for students:

Rhino 5
Google Sketch-Up Pro