General information: Because most coursework in Media Arts is studio-based, many classes do not require textbooks, but instead require supplies and/or materials.  Supplies range from paint brushes to SD cards, depending on the course. Examples of some materials include special papers, wood, or even plaster. The Media Arts department subsidizes many materials and requires students to purchase their own supplies as they are either depleted during the semester or they can be used during nearly all four years of study.

The laptop question: Do you need a laptop? No, especially since there is a 24/7 computer lab designated for Media Arts students. However, due to convenience and the relatively low cost, most students have a laptop by their sophomore year.  The entire department runs on Apple hardware, but many students do use PCs since much of the software is cross-platform. One notable exception to this is Final Cut, which is Apple only. Apple Computer Corp. practices what is called planned obsolescence. This means that they will likely not support your computer or its operating system if it is more than three years old.  The Media Arts department does not recommend that you purchase an Apple computer before the end of your sophomore year unless you plan to purchase a new Apple model prior to graduation. No matter when you buy, purchase as much processor speed, memory and warranty that you can afford. RMU does not supply or sell software to students and students are directed to or to purchase or lease discounted software. 

Foundations coursework (ARTM1010 to 1023): Expect for each of these courses to purchase items such as pencils, inks, sketchbooks, glues, paints, tape, etc. Total costs for supplies in these courses are generally between $30-$100.

Photography (ARTM2005): For the introductory traditional B&W photo course, you will need a manual focus, manual aperature, 35mm film camera.  Sometimes students who have already taken the intro course will sell you a camera for a great price. Used cameras can also be readily found on the internet, or sometimes you can find a family member who will loan you his/her camera. The RMU book store sells the 35mm film and photographic paper at a very reasonable cost.

Photography (all other courses): By the time you reach these 3000-level courses, you may want to think about investing in a digital SLR camera. During this time, you may check out department cameras/lenses/flashes. Feel free to consult with photography faculty about the what camera to purchase. Media Arts students, including photo students, may print on the large format archival ink jet printers for a small fee (using Colonial Cash only).

Graphic Design coursework: Due to being computer-based, graphic design classes generally do not have a significant amount of materials or supplies required for its courses.  Students in this discipline do tend to need a portable or flash drive, and several pieces of 15x20 mat board, which is sold for less than $3.00/sheet at the RMU book store. Some upper-level courses require textbooks or have printing costs associated with using 3rd party printing companies for specialty projects.  All Media Arts students, including graphic design students, are allocated 500 free color prints on the departmental color laser printers, which handle up to 12"x18" paper/light cardstock. 

Interaction Design coursework: Students in this concentration take a significant number of graphic design courses making the abovementioned paragraph applicable to interaction design students. Students should plan on buying a portable hard drive sometime during their sophomore year.

Digital Cinema & Television coursework: Students in this concentration can expect to buy a few textbooks, mostly for the history courses. Beginning with the first introductory production course (ARTM2410), students are required to purchase a portable hard drive. The Academic Media center (AMC) checks out HD video cameras to students (P2 and SD cards) for 24 hours or over the weekend. Students are required to purchase their own SD cards. The AMC also checks out all lighting kits, tripods, and cable/cords necessary for field production.



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