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Computer Technology at SCSE

Purchasing a Computer

SCSE students are not required to have a laptop but it is expected that students are able to conduct online registration, email communications with UMD faculty and administration, class work, and access data in UMD library and elsewhere on the internet. Limited computers are available in computer labs although most students prefer to have their own computer.

March 2015
The system information below is not a requirement, this suggestion is based on data gathered from the Swenson College of Science and Enginering Department heads. At the time of this writing, this is the best case of computing power for dollar, for the widest area of compatability for your class year. This is however not the final word for what you should consider in purchasing, it is however a suggested minimum. Please consult with your department faculty or contact SCSETech@d.umn.edu to assure that system specific research software will run on your choice of computer selection. Example: There is (at the time of this publishing) no Native Mac OS version of SolidWorks. And while Mac and iOS are incredible pieces of technology today the the vast majority of product engineering teams continue to standardize on the Windows platform.

Swenson College of Science and Engineering

Student Laptop Suggestion

  • Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.8
  • 2G  64bit processor (Intel, AMD, or Mac)
  • 250G hard drive (minimum, 500G preferred)
  • 8G RAM  (minimum)
  • WiFi/ WiDi and Ethernet connectivity
  • DVD-RW
  • 8 GB Flash drive

Specific computer needs and capabilities vary with individual students and major program - there is no one standard requirement throughout the college. Most students find it useful and convenient to use a wireless-capable laptop for in-class use and portability, although it is not required that students have a laptop. (considering a Macintosh? Read more here)

Computer Purchasing Information and Ordering
UMD Store Computer Corner (sales tax will apply)

Software Requirements

An office suite containing word processing and spreadsheet programs is required.

Many students use Microsoft Office which is available at a discount from the University. The UMD Computer Corner also sells software. Many courses use the Excel Analysis Toolpak which is a no cost add-on to the program. The Macintosh version of Microsoft Excel (version 2011) does not currently have the Toolpak available so please be aware of that before purchasing as students are entitled to one MS Office license at the discount rate. (considering a Macintosh? Read more here)

Open source office suites are also acceptable including OpenOffice, NeoOffice, and others but be aware that support is limited and some features may not be available.

Other software might be required for certain courses although our numerous Computer Labs have all the software typically used by our students. If you plan to purchase your own software, check with your department or instructors to find out what might be needed.

Software Licensed by SCSE

SCSE maintains the license for some specialized software including ArcGIS, MATLAB, and JMP Genomics (SAS). Instructions for downloading and installing is found here.

Student Collegiate Fees

Technology is an integral part SCSE. The student collegiate fee makes it possible for SCSE students to develop skills needed to succeed in their future profession, enhance their learning experience, and provide access to high-quality technology facilities. From computer labs and classrooms to sophisticated instrumentation to web development, the fee contributed by every student is being used to benefit all SCSE students.

Spreadsheet Skills

All SCSE majors use a spreadsheet application at some point in their courses. It is advantageous to have some degree of skill in using spreadsheets before you start classes for your first semester. Many online training written and video resources are available - search for "Microsoft Office Training" or similar terms.

Other Expected Technical Competencies

Other Helpful Links

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Last modified on 03/10/15 10:16 AM
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