A female student at work in the computer lab

The College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) encourages all students to use a laptop to support their studies.

For assistance with UVM-related account or software issues, visit the Help & Support page.


We use UVM netIDs for Student accounts, but you must qualify by either being enrolled in CEMS or be taking a CEMS course for which the professor deems that computer use is required for the course. Passwords can be obtained or changed by Network ID & Account Management.

Computer Recommendations

The personal computer is an essential tool for learning and professional work in the programs at the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS). As a CEMS student, you must master computing technologies and use them throughout the curriculum. 

All CEMS Students: Buying a Computer

There are many national and local computer vendors who can provide a hardware and software package to meet your needs. In addition, students may purchase a computer at the University's Computer Depot at discounted prices. The Depot has packages available for purchase and can answer questions regarding technology or pricing. You may also ask for a custom quote by emailing them at depot@uvm.edu or calling them at (802) 656-3067.

Computers purchased through The Depot are available at the beginning of the semester; students are contacted regarding pickup arrangements. The Depot also provides support for problems associated with your computer hardware via the Univerity’s TechTeam. The UVM Tech Team can provide on-campus repairs for Macs and Dells (Latitude, XPS, and Precision).

All CEMS Students: Minimum and Suggested Hardware

To convey useful information to you, we have specified minimum and recommended hardware options. The minimum option will allow students to run some applications on their computer but may struggle with more advanced computing needs. The recommended option will allow students to run all CEMS applications on their laptop.

Many Windows-based packages can be run on an Apple computer by using a program like VirtualBox or Parallels (although performance varies by application). CEMS also offers a virtualized Windows environment (Virtual Votey) that students can access from either an Apple or Windows computer.

If you are purchasing a new computer, we recommend a Windows PC. If you have any questions, you should check with your department representative.

The minimum specification is intended for students that may already own a laptop device and are not currently planning a purchase.  The recommended specification should be considered if you’re contemplating a purchase.

Minimum required hardware specs (PC or Mac):
• Intel Core i5 processor
• 8GB of RAM
• 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD)

Recommended hardware specs (PC or Mac):
• Intel Core i7 processor
• 16GB of RAM
• 256GB Solid State Hard Drive (SSD)

We also recommend that you consult with your department about any additional capabilities that would be beneficial for your major.

All CEMS Students: Minimum and Optional Software

Minimum Software

We recommend students install Microsoft Office 365 (free for students) and Adobe Acrobat Reader (also free) on their computers.

Optional Software

The Optional Software category is software that students may wish to purchase depending on their chosen major and software cost. For example, AutoCAD is very useful to Mechanical Engineering students, but may not be needed for a Computer Science major (depending on the series of classes you take).

We suggest that you do not purchase the Optional Software initially, but wait until you are sure you need it (software cannot be returned).

Name Price
Mathematica Site License*
MS Visual Studio Free
MATLAB Free for students
AutoCAD Free for students
SolidWorks Site License**

* Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) has purchased a site license for Mathematica it is available for download at ETS.

** CEMS has purchased a site license for SolidWorks and is available for download via help@cems.uvm.edu

Engineering Student Laptop Requirement

Engineering is a professional field that leverages mathematics and the sciences to design and implement solutions to problems faced by society. The practicing Engineer utilizes not only the fundamentals related to mathematics and the sciences but also computational tools to accomplish his or her tasks. With this latter reality in mind, engineering at UVM requires all incoming Engineering students to have a laptop computer. The laptop requirement enables instructors to incorporate computational analysis and numerical examples in the classroom for an immediate and powerful praxis of engineering theory.

Minimum Requirements:

The laptop requirement is platform agnostic (Windows, Mac or Linux) and is satisfied with current mid-range offerings (i.e., Intel i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 256 GB Solid-State Drive (SSD), and 802.11 a/g/n wireless). Note that current netbooks do not have sufficient computational resources to meet your needs.

Very Strongly Recommended:
The College also recommends that students have word processing, presentation and spreadsheet software on their laptop. Recognizing that students will also use their laptops for multimedia applications (e.g., video editing for class projects) and running various engineering software during their tenure at UVM, the College strongly recommends new computers be purchased with increased performance (i.e., Intel i7 processor with 6 or more cores, 16 GB RAM, 256 Solid State Drive (SSD) or 1 TB Mechanical Drive (HDD) for storage, and 802.11 a/g/n wireless).

Note to Mac Users:
Certain engineering software packages are PC-only and do not offer versions for Mac OSX. An appropriate PC emulation software would be required to run these applications on your Mac laptop. Popular options for this emulation is the freely available Virtual Box and also the commercial software Parallels. In addition to obtaining the emulation software, a copy of Windows will need to be purchased. Alternatively, students can use Virtual Votey to access Windows-only applications from an Apple laptop.

Options to Consider:

Option 1 – XPS 15 2-in-1
Cost: $1,749
More information at this link 
- i7-9750H (6 cores, 12 threads, 2.6GHz base, 4.5GHz boost)
- 16GB RAM
- 512GB SSD
- 1920x1080 non-touch display
- NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 4GB graphics
- 1-year warranty
Comments: This is a high end option with a touchscreen and lots of processing power. The addition of the nVidia graphics help to boost performance in graphically intensive programs like Solidworks.

Option 2 – XPS 15
Cost: $1,149
More information at this link      
- i5-9300H (4 cores, 8 threads, 2.4GHz base, 4.1GHz boost)
- 8GB Ram
- 256GB SSD
- 1920x1080 non-touch display
- Intel Integrated graphics
- 1-year warranty
Comments: This it a mid-range option with a non-touch display. This configuration should be suitable for most Engineering course but may start to lag with more intensive modelling.