Computer Requirements, Recommendations, and Software Availability

Academic Year 2024-25


For fall semester 2024 and beyond, the College of Engineering requires students bring their own personal computer to Penn State. Students may be required to use personal computers frequently for communications and other academic activities. Computer ownership will enable students to fully benefit from the in-class and out-of-class activities and opportunities. Most Engineering Departments provide remote lab systems via Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Once students are entitled via their enrollment in a participating department, they will receive instructions on how to access lab systems remotely.

Laptop Recommendations

While many software titles are offered through Engineering’s VDI environment, some applications can be installed on the student’s computer. Many of those applications only run properly on a system running Windows natively. Therefore, the College of Engineering recommends systems capable of running Windows 11.

To review current system configuration recommendation, please see the laptop recommendations on the Penn State Connect to Tech Student Guide. 

Software Availability

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is available to all Penn State students. You can learn more at

Software at Penn State

Penn State offers students with a variety of software at reduced cost or at no additional cost, including the current version of Windows Upgrade. Please note that in order to download the Windows Upgrade, you must have an existing operating system already installed on your machine.

Information is available at

Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Teaching

The College of Engineering participates in the Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Teaching program. This program provides currently enrolled College of Engineering Students at the University Park campus no-charge access to the current Microsoft operating systems as well as development products like Visual Studio.

For more information, visit -

Anti-Virus Protection

The College of Engineering and the University strongly recommend including anti-virus software on your machine.

For more information about anti-virus software options, visit -

Other software applications may be required during a student's undergraduate degree program and will be specific to a major or course. Such software requirements will be conveyed to students by faculty as needed. In addition, each department in the College of Engineering has computer facilities and software packages for high-end engineering applications that are needed by its students for academic assignments. 


Updated 11/1/2023



The faculty and staff of Networking, Computing and Training Services are proud to be an organization within the College of Engineering’s Dean’s Office. This small but extremely dedicated assembly of personnel work in four groups that support the College’s educational, research, and administrative operations.

Networking, Computing & Training Services (NCTS)

149 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710