College of Engineering Student Computer Requirements and Recommendations

Starting in Fall 2016, all first-year College of Engineering students will be required to have a laptop computer for classroom use. Upperclass and graduate students will need laptops for those courses that use College software in classrooms not equipped with desktop computers.

Minimum laptop requirements

  • Keyboard
  • Mouse or trackpad
  • Wireless network card which supports the 802.11ac and/or 802.11n network protocols

Recommended laptop specifications (beyond requirements above)

  • Processor & Integrated Graphics
    • Intel® Core™ i7-6600U (Dual Core, 2.6GHz, 4M cache, 15W) with Intel HD Graphics 520 (6th generation)
    • Intel® Core™ i7-7600U (Dual Core, 2.6GHz, 4M cache, 15W) with Intel HD Graphics 620 (7th generation)
  • RAM – 8GB (1x8GB) 2133MHz DDR4 Memory
  • Internal Storage – 256 GB+ Solid State Drive
  • Wireless – Intel® Dual-Band Wireless-AC
  • Support – 3-year warranty with Service Agreement & 3 years Accidental Damage
  • Operating System:  Windows 10 (see more on operating systems below)

As a Northeastern student, you have access to special education discounts for new Apple and Dell computers. Log onto myNEU, select the Self-Service tab, and click the links located under “Tech Marketplace.” These computers receive full on-campus technical support and offer greater savings than the standard Apple and Dell education discounts (including back-to-school promotions over the summer.) 


Operating System

Windows 10? Mac OS? Linux? This is a matter of personal preference. The vast majority of computers in our Engineering computer classrooms and open laboratories run Windows.  However, Mac owners can seamlessly transfer files between systems. A few engineering applications run natively only on Windows, but a Mac user could opt to use our Windows labs or virtual computing environment for those programs.

Alternatively, Mac users can purchase a Windows license and install it as a secondary operating system for access to these packages.  Secondary operating systems can be made with a virtual machine application like VMware Fusion or Parallels (both available free through the MyNEU portal), or with Apple’s BootCamp software (comes packaged with OS X).



The major software packages used during the first year in COE are Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, a C++ compiler, MATLAB, and SolidWorks; all of these are available in our computer classrooms and other lab areas.  For those who wish to install these software packages on their own laptop, visit for more information.

Some software is available free or at a discount through the myNEU portal (see Software Downloads and Tech Marketplace under the Services & Links tab). The NU Bookstore also offers educational discounts on some software.

Engineering students have access to free software through Microsoft Dreamspark Premium and other vendor programs. See for more information.



The Mathematics Department requires each engineering student to own a graphing calculator and recommends the TI-83 model or greater from Texas Instruments. Certain models cannot be used, so you should check with your instructor for further details.