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Installation for Personal Computers for Faculty, Staff, Students or Researchers

The software may also be installed on the computers of current SFU Faculty, current SFU Researchers, as well as staff members in academic departments, including their own personal machines.  Students are covered under this program as of 2016.

The steps involved to use a Named User License are as follow:

  1. Create an account with Mathworks (Matlab's parent company)
  2. (possibly) install Java (most machines have it already)
  3. Download the software
  4. Activate the software

Next Step

Click here to start the process, acquiring an activation key.  You will be directed to a Mathworks site where you will be asked to validate your SFU ID and password, as you would with any other SFU site.  Your ID will be evaluated for eligibility. 

  • All faculty and staff are automatically eligible.
  • Most researchers with an SFU affiliation and an SFU ID are also eligible as above.
  • Graduate students (so listed with the Dean of Graduate Studies) and with an SFU account are eligible
  • Undergrads (as defined by SFU Students Services) are eligible.

If you are here because you need to renew an existing license for Matlab, the above link is for you as well.

Need more than one copy?

Once you get your MathWorks account (above) you can use Matlab online anytime. Please see:


What about license renewals?

If you need a new/updated activation key, simply do the following:

Log into the link provided, that goes to the vendors site. Please click on "License Center".

From there you can re-activate the copy you are already using on the "Install and Activate" tab.
See the topic on the right for, "Activate to Retrieve License File"


What is included?

The toolboxes listed in this link have been licensed for use at SFU.

Matlab from Mathworks Inc. has been site licensed for use at SFU, including a large number of toolboxes.  See the list here.

Installation for mass installations of on-campus SFU computers

This is a scripted installation procedure aimed at technical support staff. This is NOT considered for individual use and is NOT supported directly by IT Services.

For computers on an SFU campus that never leave the campus, the most convenient method of meeting this requirement is to use the installers provided by the NexGEN or Managed Mac management schemes. Please see your local support person about having this software automatically maintained for you.

The software is available for installation on any SFU computer on any of the SFU campuses. This includes desktops in departmental offices and machines in labs.  Installation instructions are available here. These installers are designed for University-owned computers and computer labs. Access is restricted to campus technical support staff.

Valid Researchers

For the purposes of the Matlab license, valid researcher status must be carefully considered.  In almost every case, students of the university are excluded from researcher status.  

Visiting faculty are not eligible unless issued a valid SFU ID (role accounts are not sufficient) and also employed (as defined in the SFU HR system) by the university. 

If the software will be used for anything course related, credit course or non-credit course, they are not researchers.

If the person is not a graduate student, they are almost certainly not a researcher, although there could be rare cases where an undergrad qualifies.  Note that even graduate student status does not automatically qualify someone.

However, if a person is working on a joint research project with a faculty member and their name will appear with that of the faculty member on the resulting paper, they unquestionably qualify as a researcher.

Many cases will fall in a gray area between unquestionably eligible and unquestionably not eligible; faculty are asked to simply use their best judgement to make a determination.