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Installing Mathematica on your own computer

The Mathematica licence agreement is managed by UIS and funded by a consortium of University Departments.

Everyone at Maths (DAMTP, DPMMS, Statslab - all staff, research students, undergraduate students and visitors) with an university email address can install Mathematica on their own laptops/desktops at work and home, as we have an unlimited licence for Mathematica. If you and your computer leave Maths, permanently, then you must uninstall Mathematica (unless you're moving to another Cambridge University Department which has a licence for Mathematica).

Getting or Renewing a Licence / Activation Key

Mathematica 8.0 and Later

Wolfram have significantly changed how the licencing works for Mathematica 8.0. "Activation keys" are now used.

  1. Go to the Mathematica Activation Key Request Form with a web-browser.
  2. Login, Create a login or "Continue without signing in", and use a University email address ( or, and request an activation key for the operating system (OSX, Windows, Linux) that you need.
  3. You should receive an email with the activation key. This key is "temporary" and will last for a few weeks. The extension may not happen immediately. The extension should happen within a week, and you will be notified by email. The key should be extended without any further action from you. If this all fails then please apply for a new activation key once the current one you have expires and that should get approved.

If renewing a licence/activation key then start Mathematica and enter the activation key when prompted.

Getting the installation media

It can take a number of minutes for the activation key to come through to your email.  There is a link in the email to a webpage with a download button for the version of mathematica you requested.

Installing Mathematica


The .dmg files are disk image files. Double-clicking them will mount them as a new Volume on your desktop. Open this and then drag the Mathematica application to your Applications folder to begin the install.


Recent versions of Mathematica for Windows come as a .ZIP file. If double-clicking on the file fails to open it you may need to download a free program such as 7-Zip.


As of Mathematica 10.0 for Linux the .sh file can be downloaded to disk and then run.

chmod +x

Help and Support

For Mathematica customer/technical support direct from Wolfram login to the user portal.

Members of the Maths departments can contact the Computing helpdesk,, for support regarding licences or installation. If you are a member of another department please contact your local technical support or Software Sales for support.

Requirements and Guidelines

When choosing to use Mathematica via this agreement there are some requirements and guidelines, that are summarised here:

  • you may not transfer, sell or copy the software or the associated license
  • the Software should be appropriately cited as a reference and/or described in methods in publications