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Q: How do I install MIT Student MATLAB?

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Getting Help

All support for Student MATLAB installation is now available from the MathWorks. Visit http://www.mathworks.com/support/ for more information. MathWorks may ask for your License Number.

Before You Start

Make sure you have made a note of the License Number and have downloaded the Activation Key. You can find both of these at https://ist.mit.edu/matlab/all/student (certificates required).
Make sure your computer meets the system requirements.
Mac OS X users: Make sure you have the X11 application installed. (Can't find it?). Also, if you are running a version of Mac OS other than the latest release, please read the System requirements (linked above) carefully, as you may need to obtain an older version of MATLAB.
Linux users: If you are running older Linux releases (for Ubuntu, prior to Lucid), make sure you can access Oracle (formerly Sun) Java Web Start, other Java versions (e.g. OpenJDK) may not work. If you have OpenAFS running, a suitable version is at /afs/athena.mit.edu/software/java/current/jre/javaws. Otherwise, you may download one from the Java website. If you do the installation as root, choose the default install location and create links in Linux step 12 below in /usr/local/bin, MATLAB will be accessible to all user accounts on your machine. If you prefer to limit access to you, install while logged in under your own (non-root) username to some location within your home directory, create links in some location within your home directory where you put executable applications and make sure this directory is on your path when you run MATLAB.  
Make sure your computer is connected to the Internet. The download size will be anywhere from 700MB to 5GB depending on which components you select and what platform you have. A direct wired ethernet connection to MITNet will provide the best results.

Instructions

Click on the thumbnails to view the full size images in a new window.

  1. Go to http://www.mathworks.com and select Create Account in the top right corner of the page.
    (If you have previously created an account, you may click My Account or Log In instead, and skip to step 4.
    Mathworks homepage

  2. You will need to provide your MIT e-mail address and select a password for your Mathworks account. Please do NOT use your Kerberos password.
    Be sure that the country is set to "United States" and that "How you will use this software?" is set to "Academic Use". Do NOT select "Student use..". You will also need to provide your first and last name, as listed in the MIT Directory. The rest of the form may be left blank. Scroll to the bottom and click Submit when done.
    Provide Accurate Information
    You must use your real MIT e-mail address and provide your first and last name. Accounts are audited periodically, and MIT reserves the right to disable any MathWorks accounts that appear to have fraudulent or incorrect information. Unauthorized use or distribution of MIT-licensed software is prohibited and disciplinary action may be taken.

    Create mathworks account screen

  3. On the next screen, you may optionally provide some information to the MathWorks, or you may leave it blank.
    Customize mathworks account screen

  4. Once your account is created, you will be returned to the MathWorks front page. Click My Account in the top right corner of the page.
    Mathworks front page

  5. In the navigation bar on the left side of the page, click the Manage Licenses link.
    Don't see the manage licenses link? Be sure you followed step #2 correctly, and selected Academic Use in your profile.
    Mathworks account page screen

  6. On this page, you will see the licenses you are associated with (if any). Click the Add License button at the top right.
    Mathworks License center

  7. You will then be asked to provide a License Number or Activation Key. Choose Activation Key and click Continue.
    Add license screen

  8. Enter the Activation Key.
    Don't have the Activation Key? Scroll back to the top of this page and re-read the Before You Start section.
  9. You should then see a message that you have successfully associated with the license. If you get prompted to associate with an additional license, simply click Cancel.
    Association complete screen

  10. You will then see a screen with the details of the Student TAH MATLAB license. To begin downloading MATLAB, click Download Products.
    Mathworks License center screen

  11. You may get a message about not detecting a JRE. We recommend you click the Get JRE button, which will take you to the Oracle Java website, where you can download and install a JRE.
    Advanced Linux users may choose to specify a JRE path (e.g. in AFS) at a later step in the installation process.
    JRE not detected screen

    Mac OS 10.4 Users: Click here to continue installation. Do not continue to step 12.

  12. You will then need to select the platform and MATLAB version you wish to install.
    Unsure whether to download 32-bit or 64-bit? Read this article.
    Click Continue.
    Mathworks downloads page

    For the remainder of the installation procedure, please select your platform:

Windows

  1. Download agent.
    • Firefox Users: You will be asked whether you want to Open or Save a file called download_agent. Choose to Open the file with the default settings.
    • Internet Explorer Users: Skip to the next step.
      Opening download agent page

  2. You may see a window telling you the application's signature has been verified and asking whether you want to run the application. If you receive this prompt, click Run.
    Windows security warning screen

  3. After a short delay, the download application will appear and prompt you to select a temporary location for the downloaded files. The default value is acceptable. Click Next.
    This is not the location where MATLAB will be installed.
    Select download folder location
  4. The downloader will present you with a list of components to download. The list includes all toolboxes licensed to MIT that are available for your platform. Click the "Download" button.
    Products to be downloaded screen

    Result: The download process will begin. This may take some time, especially if you are not on campus.
    Download agent progress bar

  5. Once the download process is complete, you will be prompted to start the installer. Click Finish.
    Download complete

  6. A WinZip dialog box will appear and indicate that the installer is being uncompressed. Do not interrupt this process or click other buttons in the dialog box.
    WinZip self extractor

  7. In a few moments, the installer will start. Select Install using the Internet and click Next.
    Mathworks Installer screen

  8. You will be prompted to agree to the license agreement. Select Yes and click Next.
    Mathworks License agreement

  9. You will be prompted to select the license. Select the Total Academic Headcount license (there should only be one license in the list) and click Next.
    License selection screen

  10. You may now choose a "Typical" or "Custom" installation. We recommend you accept the default setting of Typical and click Next.
    Choose installation type screen

  11. You will now be prompted for the location where MATLAB will be installed. Accept the default and click Next.
    Choose installation folder
    Result: The installation will begin.
    Matlab installation progress

    NOTE: If you have Microsoft Access installed on this computer, you may see a File Extension Warning dialog box. This is due to the fact that Microsoft Access table files have the same 3 letter extension (.MAT) as MATLAB data files. Unless you are an advanced Microsoft Access user and do a lot of database development in Access, you should click Yes to All.
    File extension warning screenshot

  12. Once installation is complete, you will be prompted to activate the software. Click Next.
    Installation complete
  13. The activation wizard will start. Click Next.
    Mathworks Software Activation screen
  14. Enter the activation key, and click Next.
    Don't have the activation key? Scroll back to the top of the page and re-read the Before You Start section.
    Enter activation key screen

  15. Enter the Windows username of the user who will run MATLAB. You should usually accept the default value. Click "Next".
    This is not necessarily your MIT Kerberos username.
    If you need to run MATLAB as a different user, you can re-activate it as that user.
    Enter Windows user name screen

  16. The activation wizard will prompt you to confirm the information you have entered. Click Next.
    Confirm activation settings screen

  17. The activation wizard will finish and offer to start MATLAB. Click Finish. After a few moments, MATLAB should launch automatically. MATLAB will now also be available in the Start Menu and on your Desktop.
    Activation complete

Mac OS X (10.7, 10.8)

  1. Download agent.
    • Firefox Users: You will be asked whether you want to Open or Save a file called download_agent. Choose to Open the file with the default settings.
    • Safari Users: Skip to the next step.
      Opening download agent

  2. You may be asked to confirm that you want to open the download_agent file. Click Open.
    Confirm to open download agent

  3. You will be asked whether or not to allow the downloader access to your computer. Click Allow.
    Downloader requesting access to your computer

  4. After a short delay, the download application will appear and prompt you to select a temporary location for the downloaded files. The default value is acceptable. Click Next.
    This is not the location where MATLAB will be installed.
    Download folder selection screen

  5. The downloader will present you with a list of components to download. The list includes all toolboxes licensed to MIT that are available for your platform. Click the "Download" button.
    Confirm products to download

    Result: The download process will begin. This may take some time, especially if you are not on campus.
    Download status bar

  6. Once the download process is complete, you will be prompted to start the installer. Click Finish.
    Download complete

  7. You may be prompted for your username and password before the installer can launch.
    This is the username and password of your local account on your Mac, not your MIT Kerberos or MathWorks login information.
    Authorize install

    Result: The install will process the downloaded files. This may take some time.
    Processing web download file screen

  8. In a few moments, the installer will start. Select Install using the Internet and click Next.
    Installation options screen

  9. You will be prompted to agree to the license agreement. Select Yes and click Next.
    Software License agreement

  10. You will now be prompted for the location where MATLAB will be installed. Accept the default and click Next.
    Select installation location

  11. You will be prompted to log in to your MathWorks account. Enter the login information you provided when you created your MathWorks account earlier in the installation process.
    Mathworks account log in screen

  12. You will be prompted to select the license. Select the Total Academic Headcount license (there should only be one license in the list) and click Next.
    License Selection

  13. You will be prompted to select the components of MATLAB you wish to install. Click the Select All button, and then click Continue.
    Matlab product selection

    Result: The installation will begin.
    Installation progress bar

  14. Once installation is complete, you will be prompted to activate the software. Click Next.
    Installation complete

  15. After a brief delay, the activation wizard will start. Click Next.
    Mathworks Software Activation

  16. Enter the activation key, and click Next.
    Don't have the activation key? Scroll back to the top of the page and re-read the Before You Start section.
    Enter activation key

  17. Enter the username of the user who will run MATLAB. You should usually accept the default value. Click Next.
    This is not necessarily your MIT Kerberos username.
    If you need to run MATLAB as a different user, you can re-activate it as that user.
    Provide user name screen

  18. The activation wizard will prompt you to confirm the information you have entered. Click Next.
    Confirm activation settings

  19. The activation wizard will finish and offer to start MATLAB. Click Finish. After a few moments, MATLAB should launch automatically. You can also launch MATLAB by double-clicking on the icon in the Applications folder on your hard disk.
    Activation complete

Mac OS X (10.5, 10.6)

  1. Click on the radio button labeled Earlier Releases. You should now see the option to download many older versions of MATLAB.   Click on appropriate release based on listed system requirements, and click Continue.
    Choose release#* Firefox Users: You will be asked whether you want to Open or Save a file called download_agent. Click Cancel.
    • Safari Users: Skip to the next step.
      Open download agent

  2. Use same directions as above.

Linux

  1. You may be asked whether you want to Open or Save a file called download_agent. If you have already installed a suitable JRE (Note: OpenJDK works on Ubuntu Lucid and later but may not work in earlier releases or older versions of other Linux distributions), you may click OK to open the file with the default settings.
    Open download agent screen

    Note: Advanced Users; if you wish to use the JRE in AFS, you'll need to select Other from the dropdown menu as shown, and then select the location of the JRE in AFS.
    Select Open With Other

  2. If prompted, accept the digital signature and run the downloader.
    Security Warning

  3. After a short delay, the download application will start and prompt you to select a temporary location for the downloaded files. The default value is acceptable. Click Next.
    This is not the location where MATLAB will be installed.
    Download folder selection

  4. The downloader will present you with a list of components to download. The list includes all toolboxes licensed to MIT that are available for your platform. Click the "Download" button.
    Download confirmation

  5. Once the download process is complete, you will be prompted to start the installer. Click Finish.
    Download complete

    The installer must process and uncompress the downloaded files. This may take several minutes depending on your processor speed and the amount of RAM available.

  6. Once the installer starts, select Install using the Internet and click Next.
    Mathworks installer screenshot

  7. You will be prompted to agree to the license agreement. Select Yes and click Next
    License agreement terms

  8. You will be prompted to select the license. Select the Total Academic Headcount Student license (there should only be one license in the list) and click Next.
    Select a license

  9. You will be prompted for the installation type. Select Custom and click Next.
    Installation type

  10. You will now be prompted for the location where MATLAB will be installed.
    Unsure about installation location? Scroll back to the top of this page and re-read the Before You Start section.
    This defaults to /usr/local/MATLAB/R2011a, a directory suitable for access by all user accounts on your computer but you may need to be root to install to it. If you can't run the installer as root, you can choose a subdirectory of your home directory such as MATLAB/R2011a (which by default will limit access to your user account) and click Next.
    Matlab root folder location

  11. You will be prompted to select the components of MATLAB you wish to install. Click the Select newest versions button, and then click Next.
    Select items to install

  12. Pick a location for symbolic links to launch scripts.
    Unsure about links location? Scroll back to the top of this page and re-read the Before You Start section.
    For whatever directory you choose, you must make sure it exists and is writable by the user doing the install. /usr/local/bin is appropriate for installations performed as root and intended for access by all user accounts on the machine. If it isn't, create it and/or make it writable by the user performing ithe install before performing this step. This directory will need to be on your path in order for you to be able to launch MATLAB from the command line.
    Installation data screen

  13. Confirm that you want to begin the installation by clicking Install.
    Result: The installation will begin.
    Confirm for installation to begin

    Installation progress

  14. You may be alerted to the need to take additional steps. Note these and click Next.
    Additional configuration steps

  15. Once installation is complete, you will be prompted to activate the software. Click Next, and Next at the following prompt.
    Mathworks software activation

    more Mathworks software activation

  16. Enter the activation key, and click Next.
    Don't have the activation key? Scroll back to the top of the page and re-read the Before You Start section.
    Enter MathWorks activation key

  17. Enter the username of the user who will run MATLAB. You should usually accept the default value. Click Next.
    This is not necessarily your MIT Kerberos username.
    If you need to run MATLAB as a different user, you can re-activate it as that user.
    Enter username

  18. The activation wizard will prompt you to confirm the information you have entered. Click Activate.
    Activation setting confirmation

  19. The activation wizard will finish. Click Finish. If the links you set up in step 12 are on your path, you can type matlab at a terminal prompt to launch it. You can also launch MATLAB by navigating to the location you selected in step 10, and then running matlab in the bin subdirectory of that location.
    Complete activation

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members


Last Modified:

September 10, 2014

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  1. Feb 06, 2011

    The Linux instructions should have a step to choose Custom installation instead of Typical. Typical installation doesn't give an option to create a symbolic link as described in step 24. It seems that without a symbolic link, Matlab doesn't launch even though the installation seems to complete successfully. This has useful info: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MATLAB

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