Undergraduate Laptop Requirement

All incoming undergraduate students in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering are required to have a laptop at their disposal. Laptops do not need to be brought to campus on a daily basis, but individual courses may require that a laptop be brought to class or lab sessions. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that his or her laptop meets the following requirements:

Laptop Spec Minimum Recommended
Processor (CPU) Intel Core i5 Intel Core i7 or i9
Memory (RAM) 8 GB 16 GB
Hard Drive 250 GB 500 GB SSD
Wireless 802.11n 802.11ac or WiFi 6
Video Card (GPU) Integrated Discrete/Dedicated (Nvidia or AMD)
Warranty Factory Warranty 3 yr. with Accidental Coverage

Operating System Requirements

Students are required to install specific software packages on their laptops for certain classes. Most of the software packages used in our program are only available on the Microsoft Windows platform. Due to this need, all laptops are required to have Microsoft Windows 11 or Windows 10.  Keep in mind that Window 10 will reach end of support on Oct 2025.

Mac OS/X

Students with Mac OS/X operating systems will need to obtain and install an additional copy of Windows for their system. CAEE recommends that students use virtualization environments that permit both operating systems to run simultaneously.

Virtualization Environments

Virtualization software operates two distinct computer environments on the same laptop. The original Mac OS/X still continues to be the primary operating system, while Windows can be installed and run as a guest operating system inside a "virtual machine". Two recommended options are:

Virtual Box product from Oracle Corporation
VMware Fusion from the family of VMWare products

Recommended Software

Although some engineering software packages in the Learning Resource Center are available via remote access through the CAEE Virtual Desktops, the following applications are recommended for local installation on your laptop:

Software Where To Get It Cost
Microsoft Office Office 365 Portal Free
Anti-Virus & System Security Download - ITS Anti-Virus Free
ITS Print Drivers Download - ITS UTprint Free
Matlab Download - ITS Matlab Free
Autodesk Products Download - Education Community Free
ESRI ArcGIS Products Download - FAQ site Free

Addtionally the cockrell School of Engineering provides access to various products through the Microsoft Azure Dev Tools program.

Backup and Encryption

A backup strategy is important for data protection and using a cloud data sync service is one option. The UTBox service provides unlimited cloud data storage at no cost.

Laptops are highly vulnerable assets that contain a huge amount of personal information that is easily accessible by thieves unless encryption is enabled. Although not required for general purpose use, it is recommended that your laptop be encrypted using your operating systems native encryption utility (e.g. BitLockerFilevault 2), or a third party application such as TrueCrypt. The encryption method chosen may depend on the hardware and operating system supported by the encryption utility. Note: BitLocker requires Windows 10 Pro/Enterprise editions with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). FileVault 2 requires MacOS 10.7 or later.

Financial Aid

Students receiving aid and that are loan eligible may contact the Office of Student Financial Services to have their aid adjusted to include the cost of their laptop. Students not eligible for aid can apply for alternative or short-term loans through the Office of Student Financial Services.