College of Arts + Architecture

First-year students (both undergraduate and graduate) are required to have a laptop in their first semester. These recommendations are meant to serve as a guide to aid in your purchasing decision.

Where to go for Help

If you have any questions, call or visit the NinerTech Computer Store located in the Popp Martin Student Union. They are with you from choosing the right laptop for your major, to servicing malfunctions when you least expect them. NinerTech carries everything that is recommended in this guide, customizes hardware and software bundles for students, and also offers sales and repair services for Apple, HP, and Dell computers. You may also contact the CoA+A IT Department by email at with any questions you might have. 

Deciding Which System: Mac or Windows

All (except one) of the computing labs in the Storrs building have Apple iMacs and all SoA faculty use Apple computers. Many architecture students have chosen to go with the 15” Apple MacBook Pro because it allows Mac and/or Windows to run on the same laptop. However, the department recommends that you select a computer that works best for you as an individual student. It is highly recommended to try and match or exceed the specs for the machines presented in this guide for either computer you choose. The NinerTech Computer Store can help you find the best solution for the SoA recommended configuration. 

15” MacBook Pro with Touch Bar  $2,959.00 + TaxDell 15” Precision 5520 $1,849.00 + Tax

* Models and prices are based on availability and are subject to change

** includes a 4-year warranty w/ accidental coverage 


First-year undergraduate and graduate students will need the following software:

  • Microsoft Office which is available free of charge for all students. For more information see the MS Office 365 software download page.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud ($239.88/ per year for student subscription).
  • 1 OEM copy of Windows for use on Mac for Bootcamp $129 (installed free of charge if purchased with the computer).

First-year graduate students will need the additional software:

  • Rhino for Windows ($195 available for purchase download on the Rhino3D website)

In the same way a textbook purchase would be required for a class, additional software purchases may be requested by individual professors or desired by students.

By waiting to purchase software until it is needed, you will be able to purchase the most up-to-date version and not carry the burden of upgrading software you as a student may not have used.

The university provides certain software free of cost for students registered for classes in the current term (MS Office, Antivirus software, and a few more).

For more information see the ITS software downloads page. 

The following are applications available in the SoA computing labs and may be required by courses: 

Adobe Acrobat Pro 

Adobe Illustrator 

Adobe InDesign 

Adobe Photoshop 

Design Builder 

Apple iWork 


AutoDesk 3DS Max* 

AutoDesk AutoCAD* 

AutoDesk Revit* 

MS Office 365* 

SketchUp Pro 


Strand 7 


* These applications are free to download for UNC Charlotte students. 

Recommended Portable External Hard Drive

Each Architecture student will be required to purchase a portable external hard drive. These drives will be required for all courses that use the computing labs. It has two important functions:

  • to store files that are used in the computer labs
  • to be used as a back-up drive for your laptop

Manufacturers such as Seagate and LaCie are recommended (minimum size should be 1TB). 

Included with a valid UNC Charlotte Student email account, the university also provides access to unlimited cloud storage with google drive. 

Please note that the availability of items in the NinerTech store is subject to change. For more information regarding availability and options, please visit the NinerTech store located on the first floor of the Popp Martin Student Union. Representatives in the NinerTech store can help you find a suitable alternative if necessary. Everyone’s situation is unique and choices vary widely. Inquire at the NinerTech about a financing option or regarding the best way for you and your family to acquire your computer. 


PDF versions of this information are available for download.




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Store Hours

Monday - Friday
9:00am - 5:00pm

We are part of the University and generally are open and closed alongside the University's operating schedule. 

Accepted Forms of Payment

We accept Cash, Debit, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, & 49er Account. The cardholder must be present in store with valid ID for us to accept payment — no exceptions.

If you are a parent coming purchasing a computer without the student, we must have proof of their enrollment (student's UNCC ID, tuition payment receipt, acceptance letter, etc.) We will also need the student's UNCC email address.

NinerTech is located on the First Floor of Popp Martin Student Union | 704-687-7880 | Email | Directions

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