The information provided below should be sufficient to purchase a laptop. If the laptop meets or exceeds the specifications below, there should be no issues. Please note the recommendation against using Macs for engineering work, excluding computer science. Many programs required for Engineering classes only run on Windows. Mac users will be required to install Windows on their Macs if they need to run these programs.

Minimum Hardware and OS Specifications

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 processor or equivalent (i7 recommended)
  • Memory: 8 Gb RAM (16 Gb recommended)
  • Storage: 250 Gb hard drive (Solid-state drive is recommended)
  • Video: 1600 x 900 resolution (1920 x 1080, strongly encouraged) 4K displays may have to be operated at a lower screen resolution to be compatible with some software. Several departments will make use of SolidWorks. There have been some reported issues of graphics cards not being compatible with this program. Students may want to consult for a list of tested and certified graphics cards for SolidWorks.
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10

Minimum Hardware and OS Specifications

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 or higher
  • Memory: 16 Gb RAM (16Gb minimum if you plan to also run Windows)
  • Storage: 250 Gb hard drive (Solid-state drive is recommended)
  • Video: 1600 x 900 resolution with minimum screen size of 13 in. (15 inches is probably better or access to an additional monitor). See note under Windows machines for SolidWorks compatibility.
  • Operating System: macOS Sierra (10.12.4) or later is recommended

All UA College of Engineering students are able to download the following software and use it free of charge as long as they are enrolled:

- Abaqus *- Mathematica- Minitab *
- Ansys *- Matlab- Quartus Prime *
- ArcGIS *- Microsoft Office 365- SAS *
- Autodesk Suite*- Microsoft Project *- Solidworks *
- ChemCAD *- Microsoft Visio *- Tecplot
- Labview *- Microsoft Visual Studio- VMware
*indicates software that will not run natively on Mac operating systems

In order to run Windows on your Mac, you can run virtualization software or install Windows via BootCamp. UA provides VMware Fusion and MS Windows 10 to engineering students so there is no need to purchase either.

Ethernet adapter: Wireless connections can be slow in classrooms with dozens of students using laptops, phones, and other devices connected. A USB/USB-C/Lightning to Ethernet adapter will allow a wired connection for laptops that do not have a built-in Ethernet jack.

UA Box: UA Box is a free, unlimited cloud storage service provided to University of Alabama students, faculty, and staff via UA Box is accessible on desktop, laptop, and mobile devices, and data is encrypted both in transit and storage. If your laptop is lost or damaged, you will still have access to all documents saved on Box.

For more information, please e-mail