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The Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering Department has a Windows-based laptop requirement. Some days you will be required to bring your laptop to class. All courses are taught in a Windows-based environment. The Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering Department wants to ensure everyone has a capable computer and it meets the minimum laptop requirements.

Processor Intel Core i5 or i7 or AMD equivalent
Display 13" or larger with at least Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution
Operating System Windows 10 or 11 with updates current
Software Microsoft 365, with Windows security turned on
Use the free download from Microsoft 365—not the limited capability Web apps
Memory 16 GB RAM or higher
Hard Drive 256GB Solid State Drive or higher
Wireless Capability Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) or newer
Webcam Integrated or external webcam required
HDMI To use projection systems on campus, laptops should have a HDMI port or adapter
(current model machines typically use a USB-C to HDMI)
Battery Extended life battery
At least 6-8 hours of capacity, since not all classrooms have electrical plug-ins

Not sure where to start to purchase a new laptop?

Here are some options, including places with university discounts.

Dell *recommended*

UW-Eau Claire has negotiated educational pricing on Dell computers for faculty/staff/student personal purchases.

Special pricing on Dell products


HP is also an affordable windows-based laptop option. Currently, UW-Eau Claire does not partner with HP to offer a discount. 

HP Laptop Store


Apple offers standard academic discounts to UW-Eau Claire for faculty/staff/student personal purchases. However, Apple versions of many Microsoft applications (notably Excel and other Office 365 applications used extensively in the department) do not have the same features as the Windows versions. This means that the Windows versions are required in the department. Fortunately, many Macs can run Windows and will meet the department's minimum computing requirements. MacBooks manufactured before 2021 can run Windows via Apple’s Boot Camp software, and almost all Apple computers can run Windows via a virtual computing platform such as Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion.

Special pricing on Apple products

Do you already own a laptop?

If so, we can help you figure out if it meets the requirements.

Do you already own a Laptop PC?

Make sure it meets the Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering Department’s minimum computing specifications.

Want to upgrade an already purchased laptop PC?

We suggest you first purchase additional RAM, then increase the size of the hard drive. These upgrade items will most affect enhanced performance.

Also check the battery life! This can be the first to cause problems on an older laptop.

Do you already own a Mac laptop?

UW-Eau Claire provides options for Mac users to run Windows software. Please note: It will be the student's responsibility to have either of these options pre-installed before they begin their classes.

1. Mac users have access to Microsoft Windows via UW-Eau Claire's virtual environment:

The virtual environment simulates a general access lab, enabling you to access software applications such as SAP, Oracle, Visio, and Office 2016. Your UWEC network drives are automatically mapped after you log in. Get started here

2. VMware / Parallels

Students who already own an Apple laptop, but are required to have access to a laptop running Windows, have an additional option: VMWare/Parallels. 

VMware Fusion and Parallels are two products that an Apple user can purchase to install on the Mac operating system. Both applications allow users to run Windows within an application through the Mac OS.

NOTE: Running the Windows OS through the Mac OS, this process is very a hardware intensive process. Users may experience slow performance.

Requirements: Intel Processor, Minimum 4GB of RAM, and 400MB of Free Disk Space

Learn more about VMware Fusion | Learn more about Parallels 

Do you need software?

Some software is free through the university! You can download Microsoft Office free via Microsoft 365

You can purchase Microsoft Office 365 Professional Plus and other popular software packages at substantial discounts through the Wisconsin Integrated Software Catalog

Other options are available by registering through the Microsoft Dev Tools for Teaching website for installing free software on your personal computers.

You will also get information in your classes for additional specialty software you may need.

What courses have the laptop requirement?

For 2023-2024, the following courses have the laptop requirement:

  • MSE 286 Engineering Sophomore Seminar
  • MSE 307 Engineering Statistics

For 2024-2025, the following courses will also have the laptop requirement:

  • MSE 350 Thermodynamics of Materials
  • MSE 368 Macroprocessing of Materials Lab
  • BME 330 Instruments and Measurements and Lab
  • MSCI 484/MSE 486/BME 486 + MSCI 485/MSE 487/BME 487 Capstone I and II
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