Computer and software recommendations for coursework
You will need access to a computer for all classes in your major, as well as most of your classes in your minor and the University Core curriculum.. You will also need to install special software in most computer-oriented classes. Please be aware that smartphones, tablets, and Chromebooks are not sufficient for the program.
Buying a computer
If you are considering buying a computer for use in school, the department currently recommends that you purchase a Windows-based computer with Windows 10 (preferred) or Windows 11. In general,
- Purchase the best computer you can afford. You want a computer that has enough storage, is fast enough, and is sturdy enough to last your entire time as a student.
- Either a desktop or a laptop will work, however, we recommend a laptop since it is portable. For example, laptops can be brought to class, your professor's office, meeting with other students, etc.
- In general, we recommend a larger screen on laptops, 14 inches or larger. You will work with software that presents a lot of information on screen. It can be difficult to work with this type of software on small screens.
- For storage, we recommend a minimum of 512 GB or more. If this is your only computer, you may have a lot of files on it already. Some of the software you will need in the program can take up a significant amount of space.
- For memory (RAM), 8GB is sufficient however you may want to consider 16GB. Having more memory allows your computer to run intensive software. You can run the software with 8GB, but you will notice an improvement with more memory.
A note on buying an Apple computer: We currently do not recommend that students purchase an Apple computer. Many new MacBook models in the price range that students would normally purchase use the newer M1 chip rather than the older Intel chips. The M1 chip is making it difficult for Apple computers to run the Windows-based software needed in some courses. If you already have one of these new M1-based MacBooks, you may need to locate a Windows-based computer that you can use for some courses.
If you buy or have an Apple computer with an Intel ship, those models can still run Windows-based software. Unfortunately, the Intel-based Apple computers tend to be the more expensive models.
Computers in Labs
If you are an on-campus student or in the Clarksville area, the department has an open lab in Maynard with all software needed for all math and computer courses. The lab computers run Windows 10.
In the majority of cases, software used in the department's classes is provided as part of your tuition or is free. All students receive access to Microsoft Office 365 for free. The department has an Microsoft Azure DevTools for Teaching account, which allows registered students to download some additional Microsoft products for free. Most classes use freely available software and open source software.
Students will need access to a high-speed network connection. Wifi access is provided across campus and in the dorms. Students living off-campus, as well as online students who do not come to campus, will need access to a reliable high-speed connection. Many online courses require students to view videos and some of the software in courses use the network extensively.