Software Engineering Computer Policy

2017-­2018 Computer Policy

All students in the Software Engineering program are required to lease, purchase, or have ready access to a laptop computer that meets or exceeds the specifications listed below for use in the classroom and for homework throughout their course of study. Students can choose between a Windows or Mac platform. Due to software limitations, tablet devices (e.g., iPad, mobile phones and netbook computers such as Chromebooks) are not permitted for classroom use.

ComponentMinimumRecommended
Processor (CPU) Intel Dual Core 1.6 GHz i5 Intel i5/i7 Quad core 2.2 GHz or faster
Display 13" 15"
Memory (RAM) 8GB 16GB
Hard Drive 256GB minimum1 with 100GB unused space.2 512GB minimum with 100GB unused space.2
Port Min. 1 USB port; HDMI or DisplayPort
Wireless 802.11 a/g/n


Due to the nature of how laptops are used, students purchasing a new system are highly encouraged to obtain a three-year (or longer) warranty to protect their investment. Students may also want to consider accidental damage coverage in addition to warranty coverage.

Software Engineering student laptops are required to have one of the laptop operating systems actively supported by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Information Technology Services.3 The current list includes:
  • Windows 7 Professional/Enterprise/Ultimate
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10 Pro/Enterprise/Education/Home
  • Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite)
  • Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)
  • Mac OS X 10.12 (Sierra)

Students are required to install the latest security updates for their operating systems and applications. Students are recommended to have an active, up-to-date antivirus software package installed before connecting to the campus Internet. The university provides antivirus software to students for work and home computers free-of-charge (http://its.unl.edu/services/antivirus). 

Software packages required for specific courses will be available for download through the Computer Science and Engineering website or through Huskertech at substantially discounted prices.

Students are free to purchase their laptop from the vendor of their choice. Huskertech will have a limited stock of PC and Apple laptops for sale specifically configured for software engineering students. You may view these packages at http://sales.unl.edu/software-engineering or you can stop by Huskertech in the basement of the Nebraska Union on city campus (402.472.5151). Please be advised that any custom ordered computer takes between a few weeks to over a month from the time the order is placed to the time the computer is received. All students are expected to have their computer purchased and available for use on or before August 21, 2017. 

The College of Engineering prohibits the use of pirated software. Students are expected to certify that all software on their  computer  is  legitimate  to  have  access  to  the  network.  Students  may  be  asked  to  present  proof  of  software  ownership. Students who have pirated software on their computers will not be serviced and can be reported to Student Judicial Affairs.

Did you know?

Students with financial need may be eligible for financial assistance in purchasing their computer. Visit the Scholarships & Financial Aid Office (17 ADMS) to learn more.

1 - Students who store videos, music or photos on their laptops should assess their storage needs and upgrade accordingly. Students may also want to consider a 1TB or larger USB external hard drive for backing up their computer system.
2 - Solid state disks or flash storage are highly recommended.
3 - The current list of supported operating systems can be found at http://its.unl.edu/supported-technology-standards-end-life-software.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is a quad-core processor more important than having 16 GB of RAM?

Answer: The minimum specifications will be sufficient for your coursework. Choosing faster processors or more processors mean applications will start up and run faster. Increasing the memory (RAM) from 8GB to 16GB would also improve performance. Note that if you start off with smaller RAM, it may be possible to upgrade it in the future, depending on the model of computer you purchase; however, it is very unlikely that you will be able to upgrade the processor

Question: How important is it to have an SSD in my laptop? Is it better to have a small SSD or a bigger hard drive?

Answer: A 256GB SSD is far preferable to a 1TB hard drive since SSDs are much faster. If you do not purchase an SSD, it is recommended that you increase the memory to 16GB. The reason to get a larger, slower hard drive instead of a small SSD would be for personal storage - media files, movies, podcasts and games can take a lot of disk space. If you run low on disk space after a while, you can always purchase an inexpensive external drive for storage.

Remember that if you don't see the exact combination of features you want on the store shelves, you can customize a laptop to your own specifications by ordering from the manufacturer (Apple, Dell, etc.).