Buy software

Discounted and free software is available to staff and students of Imperial College London. For details of currently available software packages and information about how to order them, visit the software for students or software for staff pages as appropriate.

If you have a question about buying, accessing, ordering or licensing software, you will probably find the answer to it in the Frequently Asked Questions list below. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Buying and licensing software during COVID19 crisis

We understand that the current situation may have an impact on your software requirements and usage. Over the last few years, we have been working hard to make our software available for remote use, to be accessed by the usual remote working methods.

The Software Hub is a web-based tool which provides access to course specific software applications for Windows users. Software Hub can be accessed from your own personal Windows device computers or on campus, including cluster computers and staff computers by remoting into them. 

The Software Shop allows you to register (and receive emailed instructions) for software that you are eligible for. This is mostly products that cannot be streamed on SoftwareHub or Mac/ Linux related software.

Mac users can download free software to their personal devices using the self-service tool.  Visit the free software for personal Macs whilst you work remotely for more information. 

Visit the staff and students software A-Z web pages for a full list of available software to access.  

We are aware some vendors are making exceptions to their license terms to help work continue during these times, so if there are any COVID related software issues you are currently dealing with, please contact the ICT Service Desk where we can hopefully assist or advise on these issues.

How do I order software?

Many software packages are available free of charge to Imperial College London staff and students. See our Software for staff and Software for students pages for ordering information and links to license request forms and downloads.

Some of the listed software packages must be purchased at cost. The following information tells you how to order them. 


Software and software licences are issued to College staff by the ICT Department's Tech Store. Before the Tech Store can issue the software you want and process the necessary licences for it, you must get approval from your departmental administrator or finance officer and submit this form containing, among other details, the following information:

  • The name and version of the software you wish to obtain
  • The cost including VAT. If the cost is not displayed on the specific software webpage, raise a generic request on ASK and ask what it is
  • The full account code: Cost Centre - Activity Code - Analysis Code (165204) or Project Code, if you are paying using your project budget
  • The name, email address and machine asset tag number of the person who is going to use the software. If you don’t know the asset tag number, you can request it here

Once this information has been received and processed, you will be sent an email confirming your purchase and batch number followed by another email containing download instructions for your software. 


If you require paid-for software packages, you can purchase them for use on College machines only.  Unlike free software packages, you cannot obtain them directly. Your tutor or course leader must approve the purchase, provide their cost code and submit this form on your behalf

Other methods of obtaining the software you want may include:

  • Streaming it via the Software Hub
  • Registering for a download via the Software Shop; some software cannot currently be streamed, hence a registration system is necessary to control and monitor downloads and usage of non-streamable software by the student body
  • Using other methods specific to the software package, such as going directly to the manufacturer's website

How do I register for a software download?

Some software cannot currently be streamed, hence a registration system is necessary to control and monitor downloads and usage of non-streamable software by the student body. Only students need to register for downloadsstaff do not need to. 

Register for a download in the Software Shop

How and when do I renew a software licence that is due to expire?

Your software will continue to work for 30 days after your licence has expired. During this period you can request a licence renewal by following the instructions listed in the How do I order software? section at the top of the FAQs page or register for a newer version (if available) via the 'register for a download' facility in the Software Shop.

Can I buy software that isn’t listed on the ‘Software for staff’ or 'Software for students' pages?

Yes. In many cases it is possible to purchase software packages in addition to those listed on our website.

To find out whether the software you require is available, raise a generic request on ASK

For general information about ordering software, see 'How to order software' at the top of this FAQs page.

STUDENTS:  If you require paid-for software packages, you can purchase them for use on College machines only.  Unlike free software packages, you cannot purchase them directly. Your tutor or course leader must approve the purchase, provide their cost code and submit this form on your behalf

I have a new computer. How do I reinstall software on it that I already own?

Raise a request on ASK, stating the software programs or packages that you need to reinstall. A member of ICT will contact you shortly after you've submitted your request.  

In what format will I receive the software I've ordered?

If the software package or program in question can be hosted on our servers, we will deploy it from there. You will receive an email from us with instructions for connecting to and downloading from the servers.

Where can I find the licence forms for my software?

Licence forms are not necessary for all software requests.

The processes of buying software at a discount or registering for free software vary according to the software program or package in question. You can find out how to get each program by clicking on its name on these webpages:

If a licence form is required, it will be listed in the instructions.

What are the terms of use of my software licence?

Imperial College London participates in several schemes that allow you as a member of the College to purchase quality software for academic use at discounted prices. Academic use is defined in different ways by different suppliers and under different discount schemes but may include the following restrictions:

  • Use for related purposes, e.g. academic administration
  • Use for semi or fully commercial purposes
  • Who can use the software, e.g. restricted to staff or students only
  • Where the software can be used, e.g. only on College premises

We strongly advise that you check that your proposed use of the licence is lawful under the terms of the discount agreement.

If you need help, refer to the other FAQs on this page or raise a generic request in ASK and state your question

Definition of educational use

More detailed information on Definition of Educational Use can be found in the ​General Licence Conditions

This applies in:

  •  CHEST centrally negotiated agreements
  • In the recommended 'Form of Licence' for non-centrally negotiated offers

The product may be used by any employee, student, or other persons authorised by the Licensee:

  1. For the purposes of the normal business of the Licensee's organisation, whether or not they are located on the Licensee's premises.
  2. Such use of Product includes the following:
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Personal educational development
  • Administration and management of the business of the Licensee's organisation
  • Development work associated with any of the above

All persons who are provided by the Licensee with copies of Product must have signed a declaration incorporating the Copyright Acknowledgement.

The Licensee will provide a single named technical contact and deputy. All technical enquiries, support and information requests will be made through the single named technical contact or the deputy.

General Exclusions

  • Consultancy or services leading to commercial exploitation of Product
  • Work of significant benefit to the employer of students on industrial placement or part- time courses

In the above the Licensor may allow such use in return for acknowledgement of use of Product and/or for an agreed fee.

'Commercial Exploitation' in the context of this Code is:

  • Use of Product for monetary gain either by the Institution or an individual
  • Where Product is so used this must be a matter for discussion between the Supplier and the Licensee

Code of conduct for software/datasets

This Code of Conduct should be observed by all users of software and/or computer readable datasets, hereafter referred to as 'Product' that has been issued or made available to them by the Institution.

Unless advised to the contrary it is to be assumed that Product is subject to Copyright Law and is provided for Educational Use, see Definition of Educational Use above.

The Institution will maintain a record, or require any Department which is in receipt of Product to maintain such a record, of each Product that is available for use in the Institution or, in the case of devolved responsibility, within the Department. In either case the record shall contain details of the licensing arrangements for each Product together with the names of any persons to whom a copy has been issued.

All employees and students of the Institution will be informed of this Code of Conduct and all users of Product will be advised of the conditions under which it may be used and will sign that they have been so advised. In the event that users, who are neither employees nor students of the Institution, are authorised access to Product they will be similarly advised and shall be required to sign that they have been so advised and will further sign that they will abide by the Code before being given access to Product. The responsibility for ensuring that such users are so informed may be devolved to the "home" Institution by prior agreement between the Institutions.

All employees and students of the Institution Will be issued with a copy of the Copyright Acknowledgement.

The Institution will organise arrangements for back-up copying and distribution of Product and Documentation subject to the conditions of the licence. Users shall not copy or distribute copies of the software unless permitted to do so under the terms of the licence.

Where it is a condition of supply of Product the Institution will organise a single point of contact for dealing with queries and support of Product. It is recommended that, unless special conditions pertain, this point of contact should be within the Computer Centre.

In the event of termination of the licence for a Product, the Institution will instruct the single point of contact to call in all copies of Product and, where appropriate, make arrangements for the safeguarding of the authorised archival copy.

The Institution shall not permit users to reverse engineer or decompile Products without such provision being specifically included in the licence for Product.

The Institution will use its best endeavours to apply, administer and ensure compliance with this Code of Conduct. Code of Conduct for the Use of Software or Datasets.

Software and disposal of old PCs

Most PCs that the College purchases come with the operating system fully licensed and paid for.

  • The machine can be sold on/given away with its original operating system, which cannot be transferred to another machine
  • Any operating system upgrades must be removed before a machine is sold on/given away
  • Software supplied via site licences will have to be deleted as it is licenced to the College and not to the end user
  • Please ask for a Software Discontinuance form to provide confirmation of the deletion of software

General Exclusions

Microsoft Applications (Office, Office Pro etc).

  • There are Work At Home Rights, see the 'Microsoft Work at Home' item in the Free software for staff list
  • The user must be granted written permission by their department to use the software
  • The user must be the prime user of a system at College that has the same version of the software installed on it
  • Its use on a home PC is limited to the College employee only and it must be used for College work only
  • If a user has a machine on their desk at work and a College owned system at home and Office is installed on both of them, then two copies of Office must be registered

I need help installing software. Who should I contact?

Raise a request on ASK at the time of purchase and state that you require installation by a specialist. We will pass your request along to the relevant team once you have purchased the licence.

How can I find out which software licences I'm registered for?

You can get a list of the software licences you have already registered for by raising a generic request on ASK and stating your question.

Can I order software for somebody other than myself?

You can only order software on behalf of somebody else if they are mentioned in the licence form. However, the person must still meet the requirements specified in the software information.

Submit this form and tick the 'Behalf of' or 'External customer' checkboxes as appropriate.

Can I have a software licence transferred to another College member?

Yes. Raise a generic request on ASK, provide the necessary information and ask to have the licence transferred.

How many machines can I install my software on?

All software licences have specific terms attached to their use. Before purchasing, please raise a generic request on ASK and enquire about the limitations of software packages to avoid disappointment. 

My operating system doesn't support my newly acquired software. What do I do?

You can try and run a VM (Virtual Machine) with an operating system that is compatible with your software. However, we cannot provide support for any problems or difficulties you may experience as a result of doing this.

Another option is to apply for a refund within seven days of purchasing the software. Raise a generic request on ASK and request one.

Also, if you are a staff member you may be eligible for our Technology Refresh Program or interested in purchasing a new device that supports your software. 

What is the difference between a perpetual (traditional) licence and subscription licence?

A perpetual licence is the ‘traditional’ model used to purchase software. You pay for your software licence up-front and have the right to use it indefinitely. On top of the licence fee, you will have the option to pay for one-off implementation services and a support contract, which is renewed annually.

If you have paid for the optional support contract this does eventually expire – in that it either stops working on newer versions of an operating system or doesn’t receive security updates any longer. At this time you will be out of support and vulnerable to security breaches.

Subscription-based software relates to a monthly or annual licencing model, allowing users to pay a per user fee. Customers typically pay an initial subscription upfront, and are entitled to use the software only during the subscription term, unlike a perpetual licence, allowing them to use software indefinitely. The subscription payment includes software licences, access to support services and new versions of the software as they are released.

A subscription model ensures the user is always up to date and is always secure.