Computer Specifications

To be successful in your studies as a Vanderbilt School of Engineering student, you must have a portable computer that will run software needed for coursework.  To ensure that your laptop will be able to do what is needed for your classes, it is essential that it meet the specifications below. 

You can buy your laptop through the vendor of your choice.  The Vanderbilt Bookstore is one option for you.

Whatever laptop computer you use in your studies must be able to run application software designed to run on Microsoft Windows. Some application software will not function well or at all on a Mac. Also, Mac computers do not always work with external hardware required in some engineering classes. As such, students considering majoring in biomedical, civil, electrical & computer, environmental or mechanical engineering should have a PC and not a Mac. Students majoring in chemical engineering, computer science, or engineering science are free to purchase either a PC or a Mac. 

Class of 2028 Computer Specifications

Please note that the specifications below are minimums (preferred specs in italics).

  • Hardware
    • Processor: Intel i5, 13th Generation or newer (i7 or i9 recommended)
    • Primary Memory: 16GB RAM (32GB RAM recommended)
    • Hard drive: 512GB Solid State Drive (1TB Solid State Drive recommended)
    • Wireless Networking: 802.11 ax or 6E AX211 Wireless standard 
    • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics (discrete dedicated graphics card, NVIDIA or other CUDA-capable card recommended)
    • English keyboard
    • Three-year accidental damage coverage; on-site support (Four-year accidental damage coverage)
    • Three-year limited warranty; on-site support (Four-year limited warranty)
  • Software
    • Microsoft Windows 11 (Windows 10 or better) / MacOS
    • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) which is available free for students at the Vanderbilt Software Store
    • For Windows computers, Windows Defender – included in Windows 10 and 11 – or equivalent security software (i.e., software that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software). 
    • MacOS has anti-virus technology built into the operating system.
  • How is it paid for?

    Our early estimate of the cost of such a machine was $1,700. That does NOT mean that you will be billed for $1,700. It is like textbooks; we give estimates of what they will cost, but you buy them on your own. You can buy your machine through the VU Bookstore (see below) but you do not have to. You may bring the computer you already own, or you may buy another.

    First-year students receiving financial aid will have a $1,700 computer allowance added to their calculated cost of attending Vanderbilt. If you choose, you can arrange to have funds added to your Commodore Card, before July 15, and use that to buy the computer from the VU Bookstore. 

  • Instructions for purchasing a laptop through the bookstore

    The bookstore will identify one or more laptop models which meet the current specifications. Contact the bookstore to find out more information.

  • Where can I get additional software?
  • Registering your warranty

    It is important to remember to register the warranty when you purchase any computer. The warranty will be attached to each computer’s serial number. The manufacturer will provide instructions for registering your warranty online. You will not be able to receive service if the serial number is not registered.

For questions, please contact the VUIT Team via ticket/text/chat or by calling 615.343.9999.