Computer Guidelines for FYE Students

Through both ITaP and ECN, students at Purdue have access to computer facilities and a wide range of software. However, some students like to bring their own personal computer to campus. For these students, FYE maintains recommendations for both hardware and software.


Basically any modern PC desktop or laptop computer costing over $400 is appropriate. Tablet style computers or Google Chromebooks (e.g., iPad/iOS, Galaxy/Android or ChromeOS) may be useful for some applications such as note-taking, but software for technical applications is largely not yet available. For hardware requirements, follow the recommendations of ECN (the Engineering Computer Network). Note that Macintosh (MAC) is not recommended by ECN (September 2020).


Two software packages are heavily used in the ENGR courses taken in the first year: the Microsoft Office suite (especially Excel, Word, and Powerpoint), and MATLAB. All of these programs can be accessed by Purdue students in ITaP labs and on the computers in the ENGR classrooms, and MATLAB is also available through Software Remote.

Though purchase of these packages is not required, it is recommended if are planning to use your own computer, and many students find that it is much more convenient to have personal copies of the software. Student versions of these software packages can be purchased with discounted educational pricing at the links below. 

Product Notes and cost
Microsoft Office 365 Purdue students receive free access to Microsoft Office365.
MATLAB Student version
We recommend delaying any decisions about purchasing MATLAB until you begin the course that it will be used in.

Updated: 09/14/2020