BME Computer Recommendations

Minimum Computer Requirements

  • Profile: Laptop or desktop. Laptop is recommendedProcessor: Intel i3 processor or higher
  • Memory: 8 Gig RAM
  • Hard drive: 500 Gig or larger. If SSD 256 Gig or larger.
  • 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 MacOS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or later with latest updates applied. 10.12 Sierra is recommended.
  • DVD/CD read/write drive (optional)
  • USB ports
  • Sound card and speakers
  • Lock and cable (recommended)
  • Backup system such as external hard drive or on-line service (recommended)

When purchasing your computer, please feel free to contact Gary Meyers, the BME technical contact, at


No specific calculators are recommended or required. In fact, calculators are not allowed to be used for nearly all math exams and quizzes. This includes MATH 230 and 251, the courses required beyond MATH 141. It is the other science courses where the calculator is more often used.

General guidelines for calculators are: A suitable scientific calculator (one that handles numbers in scientific notation and provides log/antilog functions) is essential. Calculators with text-storage capabilities (such as the TI-83 used in Math 140) or communication capabilities (such as cell-phone calculators, or BlackBerries) are generally not permitted during exams.

The calculator that most students have and use in more advanced engineering courses is just a basic graphing calculator.

Additional Information

Am I required to bring a computer?

The College of Engineering and the Department of Biomedical Engineering strongly recommend students come with a computer. Students will be required to use computers frequently for communications and academic activities.

Do I need Windows if I use a Mac?

No. Some software used for BME is only available for Windows, however the department maintains a computer lab 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 the Penn State Software Store.

What software should I purchase for my computer?

At a minimum, you will want Office productivity software and University policy requires the use of antivirus software. The Penn State Software Store offers many software applications at a reduced cost to students through Software @ Penn State. Be sure to check with them before purchasing these software packages. The University also has some applications available at no cost to students such as antivirus software through the ITS Downloads page.

While taking courses in biomedical engineering, students will learn and use software packages such as Matlab, COMSOL, LabView and Solidworks. It is not a requirement to purchase any of these products as they are available in the BME computer labs.



The Department of Biomedical Engineering administers the undergraduate major in biomedical engineering, and is a part of the university-wide Intercollege Graduate Degree Program, offering both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioengineering. Our work combines traditional engineering principles with medicine and technology for the betterment of human health and society. 

Department of Biomedical Engineering

122 Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-863-6614