Open Source Society University (OSSU)



The 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.

Courses must:

When no course meets the above criteria, the coursework is supplemented with a book. When there are courses or books that don't fit into the curriculum but are otherwise of high quality, they belong in extras/courses or extras/readings.

Organization. The curriculum is designed as follows:

Duration. It is possible to finish within about 2 years if you plan carefully and devote roughly 20 hours/week to your studies. Learners can use this spreadsheet to estimate their end date. If you make a personal copy you can enter your actual course completion dates in the Curriculum Data sheet and get updated completion estimates.

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 Coursera and edX 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.

Content policy. If you plan on showing off some of your coursework publicly, you must share only files that you are allowed to. Do NOT disrespect the code of conduct that you signed in the beginning of each course!

How to contribute

Getting help (Details about our FAQ and chatroom)



Curriculum version: 8.0.0 (see CHANGELOG)


Intro CS

Introduction to Programming

If 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

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Python for Everybody | 10 weeks | 10 hours/week | none | chat

Introduction to Computer Science

This 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

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming using Python (alt) | 9 weeks | 15 hours/week | high school algebra | chat

Core CS

All coursework under Core CS is required, unless otherwise indicated.

Core programming

Topics 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 How to Design Programs. The First Edition is available for free online and includes problem sets and solutions. Students are encouraged to do these assignments.

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: How to Code - Simple Data | 7 weeks | 8-10 hours/week | none | chat How to Code - Complex Data | 6 weeks | 8-10 hours/week | How to Code: Simple Data | chat Programming Languages, Part A | 5 weeks | 4-8 hours/week | How to Code (Hear instructor) | chat Programming Languages, Part B | 3 weeks | 4-8 hours/week | Programming Languages, Part A | chat Programming Languages, Part C | 3 weeks | 4-8 hours/week | Programming Languages, Part B | chat

Math Electives

Students must choose one of the following topics: calculus, linear algebra, logic, or probability.


Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Calculus 1A: Differentiation | 13 weeks | 6-10 hours/week | high school math | chat Calculus 1B: Integration | 13 weeks | 5-10 hours/week | Calculus 1A | chat Calculus 1C: Coordinate Systems & Infinite Series | 6 weeks | 5-10 hours/week | Calculus 1B | chat

Linear Algebra

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Essence of Linear Algebra | - | - | high school math | chat Linear Algebra | 14 weeks | 12 hours/week | Essence of Linear Algebra | chat


Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Introduction to Logic | 10 weeks | 4-8 hours/week | set theory | chat


Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Probability | 24 weeks | 12 hours/week | Differentiation and Integration | chat

Core Math

In addition to their math elective, students must complete the following course on discrete mathematics.

Topics covered: discrete mathematics mathematical proofs basic statistics O-notation discrete probability and more

Courses | Duration | Effort | Notes | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Mathematics for Computer Science (alt) | 13 weeks | 5 hours/week | An alternate version with solutions to the problem sets is here. Students struggling can consider the Discrete Mathematics Specialization first. It is more interactive but less comprehensive, and costs money to unlock full interactivity. | Calculus 1C | chat

CS Tools

Understanding 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

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: The Missing Semester of Your CS Education | 2 weeks | 12 hours/week | - | chat

Core systems

Topics 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 :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Build a Modern Computer from First Principles: From Nand to Tetris (alt) | 6 weeks | 7-13 hours/week | - | C-like programming language | chat Build a Modern Computer from First Principles: Nand to Tetris Part II | 6 weeks | 12-18 hours/week | - | one of these programming languages, From Nand to Tetris Part I | chat Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces | 10-12 weeks | 6-10 hours/week | - | algorithms, familiarity with C is useful | chat Introduction to Computer Networking| 8 weeks | 4–12 hours/week | Assignment 1Assignment 2Assignment 3Assignment 4Interactive Problems | algebra, probability, basic CS | chat

Core theory

Topics 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

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Divide and Conquer, Sorting and Searching, and Randomized Algorithms | 4 weeks | 4-8 hours/week | any programming language, Mathematics for Computer Science | chat Graph Search, Shortest Paths, and Data Structures | 4 weeks | 4-8 hours/week | Divide and Conquer, Sorting and Searching, and Randomized Algorithms | chat Greedy Algorithms, Minimum Spanning Trees, and Dynamic Programming | 4 weeks | 4-8 hours/week | Graph Search, Shortest Paths, and Data Structures | chat Shortest Paths Revisited, NP-Complete Problems and What To Do About Them | 4 weeks | 4-8 hours/week | Greedy Algorithms, Minimum Spanning Trees, and Dynamic Programming | chat

Core Security

Topics covered Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability Secure Design Defensive Programming Threats and Attacks Network Security Cryptography and more

Note: These courses are provisionally recommended. There is an open Request For Comment on security course selection. Contributors are encouraged to compare the various courses in the RFC and offer feedback.

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Information Security: Context and Introduction | 5 weeks | 3 hours/week | - | chat Principles of Secure Coding| 4 weeks | 4 hours/week | - | chat Identifying Security Vulnerabilities | 4 weeks | 4 hours/week | - | chat

Choose one of the following: Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Identifying Security Vulnerabilities in C/C++Programming | 4 weeks | 5 hours/week | - | chat Exploiting and Securing Vulnerabilities in Java Applications | 4 weeks | 5 hours/week | - | chat

Core applications

Topics covered: Agile methodology REST software specifications refactoring relational databases transaction processing data modeling neural networks supervised learning unsupervised learning OpenGL raytracing and more

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites | Discussion :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: | :--: Databases: Modeling and Theory| 2 weeks | 10 hours/week | core programming | chat Databases: Relational Databases and SQL| 2 weeks | 10 hours/week | core programming | chat Databases: Semistructured Data| 2 weeks | 10 hours/week | core programming | chat Machine Learning| 11 weeks | 4-6 hours/week | linear algebra | chat Computer Graphics| 6 weeks | 12 hours/week | C++ or Java, linear algebra | chat Software Engineering: Introduction | 6 weeks | 8-10 hours/week | Core Programming, and a sizable project | chat Software Development Capstone Project | 6-7 weeks | 8-10 hours/week | Software Engineering: Introduction | chat

Advanced CS

After 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.

The Advanced CS study should then end with one of the Specializations under Advanced applications. A Specialization's Capstone, if taken, may act as the Final project, if permitted by the Honor Code of the course. If not, or if a student chooses not to take the Capstone, then a separate Final project will need to be done to complete this curriculum.

Advanced programming

Topics covered: debugging theory and practice goal-oriented programming parallel computing object-oriented analysis and design UML large-scale software architecture and design and more

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: Parallel Programming| 4 weeks | 6-8 hours/week | Scala programming Compilers | 9 weeks | 6-8 hours/week | none Introduction to Haskell| 14 weeks | - | - Learn Prolog Now! (alt)*| 12 weeks | - | - Software Debugging| 8 weeks | 6 hours/week | Python, object-oriented programming Software Testing | 4 weeks | 6 hours/week | Python, programming experience Software Architecture & Design| 8 weeks | 6 hours/week | software engineering in Java

(*) book by Blackburn, Bos, Striegnitz (compiled from source, redistributed under CC license)

Advanced systems

Topics 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

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: Computation Structures 1: Digital Circuits | 10 weeks | 6 hours/week | Nand2Tetris II Computation Structures 2: Computer Architecture | 10 weeks | 6 hours/week | Computation Structures 1 Computation Structures 3: Computer Organization | 10 weeks | 6 hours/week | Computation Structures 2

Advanced theory

Topics 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

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: Theory of Computation (Lectures) | 8 weeks | 10 hours/week | discrete mathematics, logic, algorithms Computational Geometry | 16 weeks | 8 hours/week | algorithms, C++ Game Theory | 8 weeks | 3 hours/week | mathematical thinking, probability, calculus

Advanced applications

These Coursera Specializations all end with a Capstone project. Depending on the course, you may be able to utilize the Capstone as your Final Project for this Computer Science curriculum. Note that doing a Specialization with the Capstone at the end always costs money. So if you don't wish to spend money or use the Capstone as your Final, it may be possible to take the courses in the Specialization for free by manually searching for them, but not all allow this.

Courses | Duration | Effort | Prerequisites :-- | :--: | :--: | :--: Modern Robotics (Specialization) | 26 weeks | 2-5 hours/week | freshman-level physics, linear algebra, calculus, linear ordinary differential equations Data Mining (Specialization) | 30 weeks | 2-5 hours/week | machine learning Big Data (Specialization) | 30 weeks | 3-5 hours/week | none Internet of Things (Specialization) | 30 weeks | 1-5 hours/week | strong programming Cloud Computing (Specialization) | 30 weeks | 2-6 hours/week | C++ programming Fullstack Open | 12 weeks | 6 hours/week | programming Data Science (Specialization) | 43 weeks | 1-6 hours/week | none Functional Programming in Scala (Specialization) | 29 weeks | 4-5 hours/week | One year programming experience Game Design and Development with Unity 2020 (Specialization) | 6 months | 5 hours/week | programming, interactive design

Final project

OSS University is project-focused. You are encouraged to do the assignments and exams for each course, but what really matters is whether you can use your knowledge to solve a real-world problem.

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 CodeTriage or First Timers Only.

Another option is using the Capstone project from taking one of the Specializations in Advanced applications; whether or not this makes sense depends on the course, the project, and whether or not the course's Honor Code permits you to display your work publicly. In some cases, it may not be permitted; do not violate your course's Honor Code!

Put the OSSU-CS badge in the README of your repository! Open Source Society University - Computer Science


Upon completing your final project, submit your project's information to PROJECTS via a pull request and use our community channels to announce it to your fellow students.

Your peers and mentors from OSSU will then informally evaluate your project. You will not be "graded" in the traditional sense — everyone has their own measurements for what they consider a success. The purpose of the evaluation is to act as your first announcement to the world that you are a computer scientist and to get experience listening to feedback — both positive and negative — and taking it in stride.

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 work

You can create this project alone or with other students! We love cooperative work! Use our channels 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.


After 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:

keep learning

Code of conduct

OSSU's code of conduct.

How to show your progress

  1. Create an account in Trello.
  2. Copy this board to your personal account. See how to copy a board here.

Now that you have a copy of our official board, you just need to pass the cards to the Doing column or Done column as you progress in your study.

We also have labels to help you have more control through the process. The meaning of each of these labels is:

The intention of this board is to provide our students a way to track their progress, and also the ability to show their progress through a public page for friends, family, employers, etc. You can change the status of your board to be public or private.