Software Engineering Computer Policy

2021-­2022 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, e.g., Chromebooks, are not permitted for classroom use.

Processor (CPU) Intel Core i5 dual-core 1.6GHz  OR
Intel Core i5 quad-core 1.4GHz
Intel Core i5/i7 quad-core 2.2GHz or faster
Display 13" 15"
Memory (RAM) 8GB 16GB
Hard Drive 256GB minimum1 with 100GB unused space.2 512GB minimum1 with 100GB unused space.2
Port Min. 1 USB (or USB-C) port; HDMI, DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt video output
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 3-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 (UNL) Information Technology Services.3 The current list includes:

  • Windows 10 Pro/Enterprise/Education/Home4
  • macOS 10.14 (Mojave)
  • macOS 10.15 (Catalina)
  • macOS 11 (Big Sur)

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. UNL provides antivirus software to students for work and home computers free-of-charge (

Software packages required for specific courses will be available for download through the School of Computing website or through Huskertech at substantially discounted prices.

Students are free to purchase their laptop from the vendor of their choice. Huskertech offers discounted academic pricing on both Macs and PCs; more information is available on their website at or in person at their location in the basement of the Nebraska Union on City Campus (tel. 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 26, 2019.

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 - Unlisted operating systems should email to request the current list of supported operating systems.
4 - Refer to the Microsoft Windows fact sheet for end-of-support dates for each Windows version.

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 (or flash storage) is far preferable to a 1TB traditional hard drive since SSDs (and flash storage) are much faster.  If you do not purchase an SSD (or flash storage), it is recommended that you increase the memory to 16GB. The reason to get a larger, slower traditional hard drive instead of a small SSD (or flash storage) 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.).