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Computer Requirements for First-Year Students

Fairfield University’s School of Engineering requires all students to use their own personal laptop computer for educational purposes. Personal laptops must be capable of installing and running necessary engineering software used throughout the four-year SOE curriculum.

Faster Intel Core i5 or i7 or equivalent (64-bit); RAM (memory): 8 GB minimum; HDD (storage): 500GB+ or SSD: 256 GB+. Faster is generally better, but most software will work on a basic machine. If your current laptop does not meet these recommendations, you may be fine to begin the program with what you have, but you may want to purchase a computer with a solid state drive (256 GB minimum) instead of, or in addition to, a hard disk storage. You do not have to buy a “gaming rig” to run engineering software. A better graphics card may have an advantage in 3D CAD, but won’t be necessary for most of your class work.
Wireless capability, Bluetooth, HDMI port, USB port, Audio jack, External hard drive (1 TB+ for back-up purposes).
Windows 10 is required and necessary for engineering software. Microsoft® Windows 10 Home (64 bit) is recommended. The majority of engineering software used in the School of Engineering is Microsoft Windows-based and will not run on the Mac operating system. If you choose to use a Mac, you will need to use Bootcamp, Parallels, or VirtualBox to enable Windows. Either must be set up with significant space reserved on your hard drive (~100GB).

In addition to the above operating system, you must have MS Office software, or equivalent. Microsoft Office 365 will be provided free to all students. All work should be submitted in a standard file format, readable by PC’s running MS Office. You should be able to save to the .doc, .ppt, .xls, .pdf formats.

The School of Engineering will provide certain software for student use during the appropriate course.  These may include Matlab, SolidWorks, and Multisim, as well as Software Development Environments.  In certain courses, an instructor may require you to purchase a particular software or license key for their course as required course materials (like your textbooks). 

The University supports and provides some discount options to students for HP and Mac laptops, as well as Microsoft Surfaces. See www.fairfield.edu/buyacomputer for more information. The SOE does not require a specific brand, but reliability and ease of service are things you should consider before purchasing. Typical brands include Microsoft Surface, Lenovo, Dell, and Hewlett Packard. You should also consider an accidental protection plan to cover your four years at Fairfield.

The Student Help Desk is available to assist students in need of computer support.

Engineering Student Society

The Engineering Student Society (ESS) is the umbrella organization for several student branches of professional engineering societies.

Professional Development Series

The School of Engineering’s Professional Development Series (PDS) consists of a series of events, seminars and workshops tailored to fit the needs of our students and designed to supplement their academic development. PDS provides a structured forum for students to gain the necessary knowledge, skills, and networking strategies to leverage their education into a productive career.

Life After Fairfield

The School of Engineering aims to graduate students with leading-edge engineering skills and additional competencies in oral and written communications and critical thinking who possess:

  • A well-developed cultural orientation
  • An understanding of economic values
  • A sense of ethical and social responsibility

Fairfield's engineering programs graduate liberally educated engineers equipped with knowledge and experiential skills so they may successfully enter the mainstream of industrial/manufacturing activity, education, or government service, or to continue with postgraduate studies. Our close interactions with industry enable employment of our graduates in all sectors of industry, government, and academe.

Learn more about how Fairfield's Office of Career Planning can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

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