Computer and Software Requirements Policy Statement
To whom does this policy statement apply?
This policy applies to all incoming undergraduate and transfer students to the College of Engineering.
The College of Engineering has maintained a computer and software requirement for its students since 1984. This requirement defines the minimum computing platform evaluated for use during the four-year academic cycle starting with the first year experience. This requirement also applies to transfer students entering into the program for the year of their admission, i.e., if you transfer in during the 2022-23 academic year, the Fall 2022 computer requirement applies to you.
The requirement defines the hardware and operating system that will be supported by the College and departmental information technology staff, and teaching faculty. Requirements are posted before May 1st each year.
When to purchase your computer
Computers should be purchased between May 1st up and the end of orientation (late July) in order for them to arrive in time for classes. Computers ordered after mid-July may not be delivered in time for classes, but often a loaner will be available from SWAT.
We recommended students purchase a printer. There are limited printers available on campus, operated on a for-fee basis. Access and methods of paying for printouts vary by lab.
Students are expected to backup their data on a continual basis, through either cloud backup or additional computer hardware. It is the student's responsibility to maintain the integrity of their data to prevent academic penalties. Students that experience data loss within 24 hours of an assignment being due should contact their course instructor(s) and SWAT Engineering Student Computer Support immediately in order to receive official confirmation that the loss of data prevented them from completing an assignment. Students who do not backup their data or consult with SWAT will be liable for any academic penalty associated with an incomplete or missing assignment(s).
Software Bundle Purchases
Both the University Undergraduate Bundle and the Engineering Student Bundle are required purchases for all incoming undergraduate and transfer students.
Transfer students with software packages from other institutions or vendors are still required to purchase the software bundles. This ensures software parity with all students and faculty and access to upgrades during the remainder of their engineering academic career.
The College maintains the Software Assistance and Triage (SWAT) Team, a Student Computer Support Office tasked with supporting Engineering undergraduate students.
Hardware support is available through the University Bookstore Service Center or the vendor from whom you purchased your warranty. We encourage students to visit the SWAT Team to diagnose problems before taking their computer in for hardware service.
Additional software and service support is handled through the Virginia Tech 4-HELP organization.
Deviation from the Requirement
Students who deviate from the computer requirement and therefore cannot participate in a specific course, complete a course assignment, or participate in the classroom where computer use is expected, without additional effort on the part of the faculty or the college, will be assessed any academic penalty deemed appropriate by the course instructor.
Purchase Date Consequences
Students who purchase machines after the purchase deadline (end of orientation) may be able to borrow a loaner, on a first-come first-served basis, if their computer does not arrive before classes. Academic consequences for missed in-class and out of class assignments due to the lack of a computer are the student's responsibility.