Distance Education Computer Requirements


The College of Engineering does not mandate that students bring their own personal computer to Penn State, but students will be required to use computers frequently for communications and academic activities. Computer ownership will enable students to benefit from the in-class and out-of-class activities and opportunities to the fullest extent. If you plan to buy a new computer, consider these technology minimums:

  • Profile: Laptop or desktop. Laptop is recommended.
  • Processor: Intel i5 (adequate); I7 (preferred) or higher
  • Memory: 8 Gig RAM (adequate); 16GB (preferred)
  • Hard drive: SSD 256 GB or higher
  • Wireless networking: 802.11 a/g/n/ac
  • Networking: 10/100/1000 Ethernet (optional)
  • Display: 13 inch or larger
  • Operating System: Windows 10 is recommended with the latest Microsoft service packs and updates applied. Apple with latest OS X version with latest updates applied (see Considerations for Using a Mac, below).
  • Camera and microphone (if purchasing a new laptop, verify that it includes a built-in camera and mic).
  • USB ports
  • Sound card and speakers
  • Lock and cable (recommended)

Considerations for Using a Mac

Some software used for engineering courses is only available for Windows. Departments maintain computer labs with this necessary software. However, if the need arises, there are options for running Windows on a Mac computer. These options include Boot Camp (comes with Mac OS X), Parallels or VMWare Fusion. A properly purchased copy of Windows will also be required. Some of these options are available through Software at Penn State.


Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is available to all Penn State students. You can learn more at Office365.psu.edu.

Software at Penn State

Penn State offers students 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 software.psu.edu.

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 security.psu.edu/education-training/anti-virus.


Many of our Acoustics courses require the use of MATLAB, so students will need access to the latest student version of MATLAB.



Founded in 1965, Penn State's Graduate Program in Acoustics has become the leading resource for graduate education in acoustics in the United States. The interdisciplinary program leads to the degrees: Master of Engineering in Acoustics (M.Eng.), Master of Science in Acoustics (M.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy in Acoustics (Ph.D.)

Graduate Program in Acoustics

College of Engineering

The Pennsylvania State University

201 Applied Science Building

University Park, PA 16802