Computers and Technology

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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. Some courses require students to bring their laptops to class in order to access important tools and information.

In addition, most college procedures like registering for classes are handled online. Students must also 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.  While Mac and iOS are popular, many engineering applications are best utilized on a Windows platform.

Swenson College Laptop Suggestions

  • Windows 7, 8.x or 10; Mac OS 10.12 (or newer)
  • 2G 64bit process (Intel, AMD, or Mac)
  • 250 GB hard drive (minimum, 500 GB preferred)
  • 8 GB RAM (minimum)
  • WiFi/WiDi and Ethernet connectivity
  • DVD-RW
  • 8 GB flash drive (to transfer files)
  • Web camera

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.

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). ITSS can assist you with installing and licensing issues so feel free to contact their support team if you have questions or requests.

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