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DescriptionTechnical computing software for engineers and scientists.


MATLAB is a programming language designed for analyzing data, developing algorithms, and creating models and applications.  Swarthmore licenses the Full Suite which includes all available toolboxes and Simulink.

Installation Instructions

Swarthmore community members can install MATLAB on any college or personally-owned computer by first creating a MathWorks account and then downloading the appropriate MATLAB installer.  

Set up an MathWorks account and associate it with Swarthmore's License

  • Go to and select "Create Account" at the top right of the screen.
  • Fill out the required information, making sure to use your Swarthmore email address. If given the option to select how you will use MATLAB, select "Teaching or Research in school" or "Student use".  
  • You may need to verify your account by clicking on a link from the MathWorks. If you don't receive the email, check your spam folder.
  • After you have verified your account, associate your MathWorks account with Swarthmore's license.  Go to, click on your profile name in the upper right hand corner →  Associate License
  • Enter an activation key (provided in the links below)
       Faculty/staff: MATLAB faculty/staff license
       Students: MATLAB student license

Downloading MATLAB

Go to  If needed, log in with your MathWorks account information.  Select the version of MATLAB that you would like to use.  ITS recommends using the latest version unless you have a reason to use an earlier release.  

Installing MATLAB

  • Open the installer you downloaded from the MathWorks web site
  • Under the dialog title "Install MathWorks Software", select "Log in with a MathWorks Account"e
  • When requested, enter your MathWorks account information.
  • Continue through the installation wizard
  • When prompted to do so, select the Academic – Total Headcount license type
    • Employees: select the Campus license
    • Students: select the Individual license 
    • Lab computers: select the Concurrent license (see below for more installation instructions)
  • You will be prompted which products you would like to install. Most people install MATLAB and all the toolboxes, but you can remove some items to reduce the disk space needed.  Make sure "License Manager" is unchecked since this is just for server installations.

License Expiration

Our agreement with the MathWorks allows any Swarthmore community member to install MATLAB and all available toolboxes without requiring a connection to a license manager every session. This makes it easier for faculty and students to do their work from off campus as well as eliminates any problems with running out of licenses.

MATLAB users do need to check in with MathWorks every so often to make sure their licenses are still valid. If you receive a message that your license will expire, click on the MATLAB help button (on the MATLAB toolbar) → Licensing → Activate Software and follow the instructions.  You will need to provide your MathWorks account login info in order to update the license.  

Lab Computers

For lab or classroom computers, ITS recommends using a concurrent license instead of an individual license.  The concurrent license checks in with a license manager to verify the MATLAB license and does not require that the installation is tied to a single user's MathWorks account.  License updates happen at on the license manager so no yearly verification is required, unlike individual licenses.  

To access the MATLAB license manager, the computer must be on the campus network or using VPN.

Follow the same download and installation instructions, but

  • When prompted to do so, select the Academic – Total Headcount license labeled Concurrent.
  • Download the license file and select it when prompted: license.lic

Changing Licenses

To switch between license types, follow the instructions provided by the MathWorks: