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What is Nastran

From MSC Software:

MSC Nastran is a multidisciplinary structural analysis application used by engineers to perform static, dynamic, and thermal analysis across the linear and nonlinear domains, complemented with automated structural optimization and award winning embedded fatigue analysis technologies, all enabled by high performance computing.

Engineers use MSC Nastran to ensure structural systems have the necessary strength, stiffness, and life to preclude failure (excess stresses, resonance, buckling, or detrimental deformations) that may compromise structural function and safety. MSC Nastran is also used to improve the economy and passenger comfort of structural designs.

Manufacturers leverage MSC Nastran’s unique multidisciplinary approach to structural analysis at various points in the product development process. MSC Nastran may be used to virtually prototype early in the design process, saving costs traditionally associated with physical prototyping; remedy structural issues that may occur during a product’s service, reducing downtime and costs; optimize the performance of existing designs or develop unique product differentiators, leading to industry advantages over competitors.

Supported Operating Systems

Win10-logo.pngLinux-logo.png Available for Windows and Linux. Mac users will need to install Windows first.

VPN requirement

Vpn-depends.png Connection to campus VPN is not required to for the free student edition but is required for the campus FEA bundle.

Free student version

MSC offers a free student version of MSC Nastran | Patran. The MSC Nastran | Patran Student Edition complements the FEA Academic Bundle by enabling students to improve software proficiency and use for personal and school projects. Only students currently enrolled in engineering programs are eligible to download the MSC Student Edition. The student version differs from the UA full academic bundle in two ways: software is limited to 5000 node models and some features (such as DMAP) are not included in the student version.

Instructions for downloading the student version:

  1. Go to the MSC Student Center (
  2. Click on the 'Download Now' button on the right-hand side of the webpage
  3. Click 'Register' and complete the form. (Please note you will need an electronic version of your Student ID to upload when registering)
  4. Once you have completed and submitted the form, click the link that is automatically sent to your email address to confirm your registration.
  5. Once you have successfully registered, you will receive an email notification from MSC either approving or denying your registration.
  6. If you have been approved, you will be provided instructions on how to download
  7. If you have been denied, you will receive instructions on how to upload information required to confirm your student status for approval

University finite-element analysis (FEA) Bundle

This version of Nastran and Patran can only be licensed while on campus or while connected to the campus VPN. Students should normally select the free student version above.

Installation files can be downloaded from our UA Box site (requires myBama login):