Carnegie Mellon University


MATLAB is software for mathematical computation, analysis, visualization, and algorithm development. MATLAB features a family of application-specific solutions called toolboxes. Review the list of available toolboxes for more information. There are two versions of MATLAB:

  • Standard - this includes access to the base desktop software.
  • Standalone - this includes access to the base desktop software, MATLAB Drive, online courses, and along with all of the additional toolboxes and the MathWorks website.
  • Standard License - available to all students, faculty and staff
  • Standalone License* - only available to students, faculty and staff in the following departments: BioMedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, CNBC, ECE, Mechanical Engineering, NREC, SCS, Tepper

*Licensing updates are required yearly. 

If you believe you should have access to MATLAB, have your department or course faculty request a copy for you.

 System Requirements

Operating System




Windows 10, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2019 & 2016 2021a 19GB 04/09/2021
macOS 10.14.6 + 2021a 17GB 04/09/2021
Linux * 2021a 18GB 04/09/2021
License File 2021a 1KB 04/09/2021

* Linux Compatible OS versions: Ubuntu (20.04, 18.04 LTS, 16.04 LTS); RHEL (8.1+, 7.6+); SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop/Server 15, 12 (minimum SP2); Debian 10.

There are a wide range of available toolboxes for MATLAB.

Common error messages are:

  • "The application could not connect to MathWorks please make sure your Internet connection is available and that all software and hardware firewalls have been disabled before retrying your request." Visit MathWorks Installation for more information.
  • (-15) License Error - You must be connected to the CMU Virtual Private Network (VPN) when off-campus. Visit How to Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for more information.
  • Standard Version: The activation/license key is in the License Key file that downloads separately with the application.
  • Standalone version: Activation is completed through your Mathworks account. No activation codes are required.

X11 is required to run MATLAB GUI. Visit About X11 and OS X for more information.

  1. A VPN connection is required to use the standard version of MATLAB from off campus. For step-by-step instructions on installation and use, visit How to Use VPN.
  2. Connect to VPN.
  3. When prompted to register your client, select Campus VPN for the group.