Macintosh Considerations for Science and Engineering Students
Many SCSE students successfully use Macintosh computers for their coursewook. Macs are very well constructed, are not subjected to the same number of viruses as Windows computers, and are just as fast and, many say, more intuitive to use.
Students who wish to buy a Macintosh computer have several options to ensure compatibility with courses that may require some analytical functions available only to Windows users.
Use Campus Computer Labs
Computer labs throughout campus are supplied with virtually all of the software students need. Macintosh users can use Windows computers for specific tasks simply by making use of the labs. For more information, locations, access and so on, check here.
Run Windows on the Mac
Newer Macs can run Windows effortlessly in addition to the native MacOS. The Mac would need to be partioned into 2 separate spaces for each operating system and a purchased copy of Windows will be needed for the Windows side. The ITSS Help Desk can help with partitioning, if you need it.
In addition, users would need to purchase the Windows version of Microsoft Office. (note that students can only purchase 1 discounted version of Microsoft Office)
Many Mac users running Windows find that software to eliminate the need to re-boot in either operating system is very helpful. Parallels is one option that provide this function.
Add-ins for Microsoft Excel 2008 or Excel 2011
Microsoft Office 2008 and 2011 for the Mac does not have the same analytical tools as the version for Windows. There are 2 free add-ins that may offer the same functions as Windows users. Note that there is no certainty that these tools can do everything that the Windows Office version does.
StatPlus: performs many of the functions that were previously available in the Analysis ToolPak, such as regressions, histograms, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and t-tests (click for instructions and to download).
Solver: helps solve linear programming and nonlinear optimization problems with Excel 2008. Use it for forecasting, capacity planning, and resource allocation questions (click for instructions and to download)