UC Blue Ash College

Laptop Requirement

The Applied Graphic Communication program has a requirement that each student own a Macintosh laptop, maintain a subscription of Adobe software, own a DSLR camera and purchase their own art supplies and textbooks. You will need all of these for your first day of class except the DSLR camera, which is not needed until Spring term. Instructor(s) will email or post (in Canvas) a list of supplies needed for the first day of class. 

Laptop Model Requirements

When purchasing a laptop it is recommended that it be one of the latest available MacBook Pro models. There are two acceptable options available for MacBook Pro computers, both of which are sufficient to complete coursework in our academic programs: one 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display and one 14-inch and one 16-inch MacBook Pro. The current minimum technical specifications for an acceptable, newly purchased MacBook Pro are:

  • Apple M1 chip with 8-Core CPU (or more) or 2.3Ghz 8-Core Intel Core i9 processor
  • 16GB of RAM or more
  • 512GB SSD (hard drive storage) or more
  • USB-C to USB adapter  (Not included as a built-in option - $19 add-on)
  • Mac OS X v10.15 Monterey or higher
  • AppleCare Protection Plan (price varies by product, see apple.com for details)

For first-year students who already own MacBook Pro laptops:

Your computer should equal the technical specifications for the currently available options as listed above (as appearing on the Apple website) to ensure that they will be functional for all of your required coursework and software applications.

The recommended options are intended to provide the ability to effectively utilize all of the required and optional software applications taught, and permit continued use of the tool throughout the entire time needed to complete the academic program and well beyond. Students interested in our formal transfer options to either CCM or DAAP should also note that these recommended laptop computers meet or exceed the computer requirements in programs at these University of Cincinnati colleges.

Technical Support

Please note that technical support is not provided on campus and that the AppleCare Protection Plan is strongly recommended to ensure that students have access to help desk assistance, walk-in assistance at Apple retail stores, and warranty repair services at no additional cost. A number of one-hour workshops will be provided on campus at the beginning of the fall semester to provide students with information on using their laptop, accessing support through AppleCare, accessing wireless networks and printing, classroom and studio etiquette for using laptops in the college environment, safety and security issues, and discussion of optional peripheral devices and optional software applications for use with laptop computers.

Estimated Cost Range: $1,699 - $2,599

Software Applications Requirements

The required software applications include the following:

Optional software applications will be recommended for specific courses as appropriate.

Estimated Cost Range: $240+tax

Rationale for the Laptop Requirement

Computer technology is integral to the learning process, and to professional performance in visual communication and media production. Access to a personal laptop computer provides students with a powerful learning and production tool that can be integrated into both the classroom and the production studio. It also affords the flexibility to permit students to continue working on deadline-driven projects at home and the portability for production use in the field.

Faculty in both Art and Visual Communication have agreed that the Apple MacBook Pro is the best production option for UC Blue Ash students, despite its added expense, due to the long history of these products being specifically engineered for design and production professionals. This has led to the MacBook Pro being considered a design and production industry standard. In addition, these computers have demonstrated long-term dependability and reliability, with an excellent track record of quick and helpful technical support and repair (when necessary) through the economical AppleCare Protection Plan

Questions About Recent Laptop Purchases

Should incoming students have an existing laptop computer, or have recently purchased either an Apple laptop (Macintosh OS) or a Windows OS laptop (such as HP or Dell) prior to matriculating in either Art and Visual Communication or Electronic Media Communications, we suggest contacting the technical staff in the appropriate department to discuss the specifications of the existing computer to see if it can be effectively utilized to run the required software and complete program requirements.

Additional Required Supplies

Art Supplies: up to $500

Professional design materials and supplies are needed for you to achieve professional craft and quality. 

Art Supplies can be purchased at: 

  • Plaza Art Kenwood, 8118 Montgomery Rd., 45236, 513-793-5300
  • Plaza Art Clifton: 230 W. McMillan St., 45219, 513-861-0667
  • Plaza Artist Materials Online

Textbooks: up to $400

Required textbooks are available for purchase though the UCBA Bookstore or online. Renting, purchasing used books, or using the library, when possible, can greatly reduce this expense. Bring a copy of your course schedule to the UCBA Bookstore and they can help you find the exact books needed for your courses.

Personal Printer or Printing Budget: up to $500

Print costs will include the regular printing of process work (research and work in progress) and high-quality color laser prints, usually 8.5 x11” or 11 x 17”. Occasionally, large format color prints are required for design critiques. Many AGC students use FedEx, Staples, and Office Depot for their printing needs.

While not required, AGC students may find it helpful to have a personal printer at home to save time and money. Canon and Epson ink jet printers with more than 4 ink cartridges (the more the better) are both good options. Look for a printer than can print crisp type as well as good graphics and images. Purchasing generic ink online can greatly reduce the expense of printing.  

*Additional money for printing, supplies, and textbooks will be required in future semesters.

Optional Peripheral Recommendations

The following hardware items are not required but are recommended for specific courses to facilitate flexibility, usability and reliable backup of important files. It is recommended that any purchase of these items be deferred until after consulting with the appropriate department faculty members on the use and applicability of these resources.

  • Epson Artisan 1430 Inkjet Printer: $299
  • Epson Perfection V300 Scanner: $99
  • LaCie Rugged HDT 1TB Portable Hard Drive (Model #301984): $189 


Contact Information

Art & Visual Communication Department
Email: baacdsup@ucmail.uc.edu