- Mar 27, 2022
Open Source Society UniversityPath to a free self-taught education in Computer Science!
SummaryThe OSSU curriculum is a complete education in computer science using online materials. It's not merely for career training or professional development. It's for those who want a proper, well-rounded grounding in concepts fundamental to all computing disciplines, and for those who have the discipline, will, and (most importantly!) good habits to obtain this education largely on their own, but with support from a worldwide community of fellow learners.
It is designed according to the degree requirements of undergraduate computer science majors, minus general education (non-CS) requirements, as it is assumed most of the people following this curriculum are already educated outside the field of CS. The courses themselves are among the very best in the world, often coming from Harvard, Princeton, MIT, etc., but specifically chosen to meet the following criteria.
- Be open for enrollment
- Run regularly (ideally in self-paced format, otherwise running multiple times per year)
- Be of generally high quality in teaching materials and pedagogical principles
- Match the curricular standards of the : Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Computer Science
Organization. The curriculum is designed as follows:
- Intro CS: for students to try out CS and see if it's right for them
- Core CS: corresponds roughly to the first three years of a computer science curriculum, taking classes that all majors would be required to take
- Advanced CS: corresponds roughly to the final year of a computer science curriculum, taking electives according to the student's interests
- Final Project: a project for students to validate, consolidate, and display their knowledge, to be evaluated by their peers worldwide
Cost. All or nearly all course material is available for free. However, some courses may charge money for assignments/tests/projects to be graded. Note that both and offer financial aid.
Decide how much or how little to spend based on your own time and budget; just remember that you can't purchase success!
Process. Students can work through the curriculum alone or in groups, in order or out of order.
- We recommend doing all courses in Core CS, only skipping a course when you are certain that you've already learned the material previously.
- For simplicity, we recommend working through courses (especially Core CS) in order from top to bottom, as they have already been by their prerequisites.
- Courses in Advanced CS are electives. Choose one subject (e.g. Advanced programming) you want to become an expert in and take all the courses under that heading. You can also create your own custom subject, but we recommend getting validation from the community on the subject you choose.
(Details about our FAQ and chatroom)
- We have a discord server! This should be your first stop to talk with other OSSU students. Why don't you introduce yourself right now?
- You can also interact through GitHub issues. If there is a problem with a course, or a change needs to be made to the curriculum, this is the place to start the conversation. Read more .
- Subscribe to our .
- Add Open Source Society University to your profile!
- Note: There is an unmaintained and deprecated firebase app that you might find when searching OSSU. You can safely ignore it. Read more in the .
CurriculumCurriculum version: 8.0.0 (see )
- assumes the student has already taken , including algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus.
- assumes the student has already taken the entirety of Core CS and is knowledgeable enough now to decide which electives to take.
- Note that assumes the student has taken a basic physics course (e.g. AP Physics in high school).
Introduction to ProgrammingIf you've never written a for-loop, or don't know what a string is in programming, start here. This course is self-paced, allowing you to adjust the number of hours you spend per week to meet your needs.
Topics covered: simple programs simple data structures
|10 weeks||10 hours/week||none|
Introduction to Computer ScienceThis course will introduce you to the world of computer science. Students who have been introduced to programming, either from the courses above or through study elsewhere, should take this course for a flavor of the material to come. If you finish the course wanting more, Computer Science is likely for you!
Topics covered: computation imperative programming basic data structures and algorithms and more
|( )||9 weeks||15 hours/week|
Core CSAll coursework under Core CS is required, unless otherwise indicated.
Core programmingTopics covered: functional programming design for testing program requirements common design patterns unit testing object-oriented design static typing dynamic typing ML-family languages (via Standard ML) Lisp-family languages (via Racket) Ruby and more
The How to Code courses are based on the textbook . The First Edition is available for free online and includes problem sets and solutions. Students are encouraged to do these assignments.
|7 weeks||8-10 hours/week||none|
|6 weeks||8-10 hours/week||How to Code: Simple Data|
|5 weeks||4-8 hours/week||How to Code ()|
|3 weeks||4-8 hours/week||Programming Languages, Part A|
|3 weeks||4-8 hours/week||Programming Languages, Part B|
|4 weeks||4 hours/week|
|4 weeks||4 hours/week||Object-Oriented Design|
|4 weeks||2-5 hours/week||Design Patterns|
Core mathDiscrete math (Math for CS) is a prerequisite and closely related to the study of algorithms and data structures. Calculus both prepares students for discrete math and helps students develop mathematical maturity.
Topics covered: discrete mathematics mathematical proofs basic statistics O-notation discrete probability and more
|( )||13 weeks||6-10 hours/week||The alternate covers this and the following 2 courses|
|13 weeks||5-10 hours/week||–||Calculus 1A|
|6 weeks||5-10 hours/week||–||Calculus 1B|
|( )||13 weeks||5 hours/week||.||Calculus 1C|
CS ToolsUnderstanding theory is important, but you will also be expected to create programs. There are a number of tools that are widely used to make that process easier. Learn them now to ease your future work writing programs.
Topics covered: terminals and shell scripting vim command line environments version control and more
|2 weeks||12 hours/week||–|
Core systemsTopics covered: procedural programming manual memory management boolean algebra gate logic memory computer architecture assembly machine language virtual machines high-level languages compilers operating systems network protocols and more
|Courses||Duration||Effort||Additional Text / Assignments||Prerequisites||Discussion|
|( )||6 weeks||7-13 hours/week||–||C-like programming language|
|6 weeks||12-18 hours/week||–||one of, From Nand to Tetris Part I|
|10-12 weeks||6-10 hours/week||–|
|8 weeks||4–12 hours/week||algebra, probability, basic CS|
Core theoryTopics covered: divide and conquer sorting and searching randomized algorithms graph search shortest paths data structures greedy algorithms minimum spanning trees dynamic programming NP-completeness and more
|4 weeks||4-8 hours/week||any programming language, Mathematics for Computer Science|
|4 weeks||4-8 hours/week||Divide and Conquer, Sorting and Searching, and Randomized Algorithms|
|4 weeks||4-8 hours/week||Graph Search, Shortest Paths, and Data Structures|
|4 weeks||4-8 hours/week||Greedy Algorithms, Minimum Spanning Trees, and Dynamic Programming|
Core securityTopics covered Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability Secure Design Defensive Programming Threats and Attacks Network Security Cryptography and more
|8 weeks||10-12 hours/week||–|
|4 weeks||4 hours/week||–|
|4 weeks||4 hours/week||–|
|4 weeks||5 hours/week||–|
|4 weeks||5 hours/week||–|
Core applicationsTopics covered: Agile methodology REST software specifications refactoring relational databases transaction processing data modeling neural networks supervised learning unsupervised learning OpenGL ray tracing and more
|2 weeks||10 hours/week||core programming|
|2 weeks||10 hours/week||core programming|
|2 weeks||10 hours/week||core programming|
|11 weeks||4-6 hours/week||linear algebra|
|6 weeks||12 hours/week||C++ or Java, linear algebra|
|6 weeks||8-10 hours/week||Core Programming, and a|
Core ethicsTopics covered: Social Context Analytical Tools Professional Ethics Intellectual Property Privacy and Civil Liberties and more
|9 weeks||2 hours/week||none|
|4 weeks||2 hours/week||none|
|3 weeks||3 hours/week||none|
Advanced CSAfter completing every required course in Core CS, students should choose a subset of courses from Advanced CS based on interest. Not every course from a subcategory needs to be taken. But students should take every course that is relevant to the field they intend to go into.
Advanced programmingTopics covered: debugging theory and practice goal-oriented programming parallel computing object-oriented analysis and design UML large-scale software architecture and design and more
|4 weeks||6-8 hours/week||Scala programming|
|9 weeks||6-8 hours/week||none|
|( )*||12 weeks||–||–|
|8 weeks||6 hours/week||Python, object-oriented programming|
|4 weeks||6 hours/week||Python, programming experience|
Advanced systemsTopics covered: digital signaling combinational logic CMOS technologies sequential logic finite state machines processor instruction sets caches pipelining virtualization parallel processing virtual memory synchronization primitives system call interface and more
|10 weeks||6 hours/week||Alternate links contain all 3 courses.|
|10 weeks||6 hours/week||Computation Structures 1|
|10 weeks||6 hours/week||Computation Structures 2|
Advanced theoryTopics covered: formal languages Turing machines computability event-driven concurrency automata distributed shared memory consensus algorithms state machine replication computational geometry theory propositional logic relational logic Herbrand logic game trees and more
|( )||8 weeks||10 hours/week||discrete mathematics, logic, algorithms|
|16 weeks||8 hours/week||algorithms, C++|
|8 weeks||3 hours/week||mathematical thinking, probability, calculus|
Advanced Information Security
|5 weeks||4-6 hours/week||understanding basic web technologies|
|3 weeks||3 hours/week||–|
|3 weeks||2-3 hours/week||Core Security|
|7 weeks||1-2 hours/week||Core Programming and Core Security|
|7 weeks||1-2 hours/week||Secure Software Development: Requirements, Design, and Reuse|
|7 weeks||1-2 hours/week||Secure Software Development: Implementation|
|14 weeks||12 hours/week||corequisite: Essence of Linear Algebra|
|14 weeks||12 hours/week|
|10 weeks||4-8 hours/week|
|24 weeks||12 hours/week|
Final projectOSS University is project-focused. The assignments and exams for each course are to prepare you to use your knowledge to solve real-world problems.
After you've gotten through all of Core CS and the parts of Advanced CS relevant to you, you should think about a problem that you can solve using the knowledge you've acquired. Not only does real project work look great on a resume, but the project will also validate and consolidate your knowledge. You can create something entirely new, or you can find an existing project that needs help via websites like or .
Students who would like more guidance in creating a project may choose to use a series of project oriented courses. Here is a sample of options (many more are available, at this point you should be capable of identifying a series that is interesting and relevant to you):
|12 weeks||15 hours/week||programming|
|26 weeks||2-5 hours/week||freshman-level physics, linear algebra, calculus,|
|30 weeks||2-5 hours/week||machine learning|
|30 weeks||3-5 hours/week||none|
|30 weeks||1-5 hours/week||strong programming|
|30 weeks||2-6 hours/week||C++ programming|
|43 weeks||1-6 hours/week||none|
|29 weeks||4-5 hours/week||One year programming experience|
|6 months||5 hours/week||programming, interactive design|
EvaluationUpon completing your final project:
- Submit your project's information to via a pull request.
- Put the OSSU-CS badge in the README of your repository!
- Markdown: [![Open Source Society University - Computer Science](https://img.shields.io/badge/OSSU-computer--science-blue.svg)](https://github.com/ossu/computer-science)
- HTML: <a href=" "><img alt="Open Source Society University - Computer Science" src=" "></a>
- Use our channels to announce it to your fellow students.
The final project evaluation has a second purpose: to evaluate whether OSSU, through its community and curriculum, is successful in its mission to guide independent learners in obtaining a world-class computer science education.
Cooperative workYou can create this project alone or with other students! We love cooperative work! Use our to communicate with other fellows to combine and create new projects!
Which programming languages should I use?My friend, here is the best part of liberty! You can use any language that you want to complete the final project.
The important thing is to internalize the core concepts and to be able to use them with whatever tool (programming language) that you wish.
CongratulationsAfter completing the requirements of the curriculum above, you will have completed the equivalent of a full bachelor's degree in Computer Science. Congratulations!
What is next for you? The possibilities are boundless and overlapping:
- Look for a job as a developer!
- Check out the for classic books you can read that will sharpen your skills and expand your knowledge.
- Join a local developer meetup (e.g. via ).
- Pay attention to emerging technologies in the world of software development:
- Explore the actor model through , a new functional programming language for the web based on the battle-tested Erlang Virtual Machine!
- Explore borrowing and lifetimes through , a systems language which achieves memory- and thread-safety without a garbage collector!
- Explore dependent type systems through , a new Haskell-inspired language with unprecedented support for type-driven development.
Code of conduct.
How to show your progress
- Create an account in .
- Copy board to your personal account. See how to copy a board .
We also have labels to help you have more control through the process. The meaning of each of these labels is:
- Main Curriculum: cards with that label represent courses that are listed in our curriculum.
- Extra Resources: cards with that label represent courses that were added by the student.
- Doing: cards with that label represent courses the student is currently doing.
- Done: cards with that label represent courses finished by the student. Those cards should also have the link for at least one project/article built with the knowledge acquired in such a course.
- Section: cards with that label represent the section that we have in our curriculum. Those cards with the Section label are only to help the organization of the Done column. You should put the Course's cards below its respective Section's card.
- : founder of OSSU
- : lead technical maintainer
- : lead academic maintainer