Computer and Technology


You are here

Students Looking at a Computer
A laptop with word processing and spreadsheet programs is required. Software needed for specific classes will be available in our computer labs.

Purchasing a Computer

Swenson College students are required to have a laptop. We expect our students to register online, use email to communicate with faculty and staff and access data in the UMD library and on the internet. If needed on a limited basis, computers are available for checkout through ITSS.

The system specification below is not a requirement, but is based on data gathered from all of our departments. This is intended to provide the best computing power for the widest area of compatibility for your class year. Please consider this suggested minimum.

If you have concerns about specific software running on your computer, consult with your department or contact For example: At the time this was published, there was no Native Mac OS version of SolidWorks. And while Mac and iOS are popular, the vast majority of product engineering teams continue to standardize on the Windows platform.

Swenson College Laptop Suggestions

  • 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

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?

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, but our numerous computer labs have all the software typically needed. If you plan to purchase your own software, check with your department or instructors to find out what might be required.

Software Licensed by Swenson College

We maintain the licenses for some specialized software including ArcGIS, MATLAB, and JMP Genomics (SAS). Please contact David Orts, Swenson College’s Technology Coordinator for install information. Be aware that Dave does not provide tech support for installation or problems using the software. You will need to contact the vendor directly for those items.

Student Collegiate Fees

Technology is an integral part SCSE. The student collegiate fee makes it possible for Swenson College 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 each student is being used to benefit all of our students.

Spreadsheet Skills

All Swenson College 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

UMD Technology Resources for Students

Computer Repair and Desktop Support through ITSS

UMD Store Computer Corner