Open Source Society University (OSSU)

Open Source Society University

Path to a free self-taught education in Computer Science!


Open Source Society University - Computer Science

Contribute with OSSU on Patreon

The OSSU curriculum is acomplete education in computer scienceusing online materials.
It’s not merely for career training or professional development.
It’s for those who want a proper,well-roundedgrounding 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:

  • Be open for enrollment
  • Run regularly (ideally in self-paced format, otherwise running at least once a month or so)
  • Fulfill theacademic requirementsof OSSU
  • Fit neatly into the progression of the curriculum with respect to topics and difficulty level
  • Be of generally high quality in teaching materials and pedagogical principles

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 inextras/coursesorextras/readings.

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
  • Pro CS: graduate-level specializations students can elect to take after completing the above curriculum if they want to maximize their chances of getting a good job

Duration. It is possible to finish Core CS within about 2 years if you plan carefully and devote roughly 18-22 hours/week to your studies.
Courses in Core CS should be taken linearly if possible, but since a perfectly linear progression is rarely possible,
each class’s prerequisites is specified so that you can design a logical but non-linear progression
based on the class schedules and your own life plans.

Cost. All or nearly all course material prior to Pro CS is available for free.
However, some courses may charge money for assignments/tests/projects to be graded.
Note that Coursera offersfinancial 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.

  • For grouping up, please use thecohorts repositoryto find or create a cohort suited to you.
  • 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 beentopologically sortedby 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.

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 conductthat you signed in the beginning of each course!

How to contribute. Please seeCONTRIBUTING.

Getting help. Please check ourFrequently Asked Questions, and if you cannot find the answer, file an issue or talk to ourfriendly community!

Curriculum version:8.0.0(seeCHANGELOG)


  • Core CSassumes the student has already taken high school math and physics, including algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus.
    Some high school graduates will have already taken AP Calculus, but this is usually only about 3/4 of a college calculus class, so the calculus courses in the curriculum are still recommended.
  • Advanced CSassumes the student has already taken the entirety of Core CS
    and is knowledgeable enough now to decide which electives to take.
  • Note thatAdvanced systemsassumes the student has taken a basic physics course (e.g. AP Physics in high school).

Introduction to Computer Science

This course will introduce you to the world of computer science.

Topics covered:
imperative programming
basic data structures and algorithms
and more

Core CS

All coursework under Core CS isrequired, 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)
and more


Core math

Topics covered:
linear transformations
mathematical proofs
number theory
differential calculus
integral calculus
sequences and series
discrete mathematics
basic statistics
graph theory
vector calculus
discrete probability
and more

1: Students struggling with MIT Math for CS can consider taking theDiscrete Mathematics Specializationfirst.
It is more interactive but less comprehensive, and it costs money to unlock full interactivity.

Core systems

Topics covered:
procedural programming
manual memory management
boolean algebra
gate logic
computer architecture
machine language
virtual machines
high-level languages
operating systems
network protocols
and more

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
and more

Core applications

Topics covered:
Agile methodology
software specifications
relational databases
transaction processing
data modeling
neural networks
supervised learning
unsupervised learning
block ciphers
public key encryption
and more

Advanced CS

After completingevery required coursein 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 takeeverycourse that is relevant to the field they intend to go into.

The Advanced CS study should then end with one of the Specializations underAdvanced applications.
A Specialization’s Capstone, if taken, may act as theFinal 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
GPU programming
parallel computing
object-oriented analysis and design
large-scale software architecture and design
and more

Advanced math

Topics covered:
parametric equations
polar coordinate systems
multivariable integrals
multivariable differentials
probability theory
and more

Advanced systems

Topics covered:
digital signaling
combinational logic
CMOS technologies
sequential logic
finite state machines
processor instruction sets
parallel processing
virtual memory
synchronization primitives
system call interface
and more

These courses assume knowledge of basic physics.
If you are struggling, you can find a physics MOOC or utilize the materials from Khan Academy:
Khan Academy – Physics

Advanced theory

Topics covered:
formal languages
Turing machines
event-driven concurrency
distributed shared memory
consensus algorithms
state machine replication
computational geometry theory
propositional logic
relational logic
Herbrand logic
concept lattices
game trees
and more

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.

Final project

OSS University isproject-focused.
You are encouraged to do the assignments and exams for each course, but what really matters is whether you canuseyour 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 alsovalidateandconsolidateyour knowledge.
You can create something entirely new, or you can find an existing project that needs help via websites like
First Timers Only.

Another option is using the Capstone project from taking one of the Specializations inAdvanced 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;
donotviolate your course’s Honor Code!

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

  • Markdown:[![Open Source Society University - Computer Science](https://img.shields.io/badge/OSSU-computer--science-blue.svg)](https://github.com/ossu/computer-science)
  • HTML:Open Source Society University - Computer Science


Upon completing your final project, submit your project’s information toPROJECTS
via a pull request and use ourcommunitychannels 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 ourchannelsto 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 useanylanguage that you want to complete the final project.

The important thing is tointernalizethe core concepts and to be able to use them with whatever tool (programming language) that you wish.

Pro CS

After completing the requirements of the curriculum above, you will have completed the equivalent of a full bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, or quite close to one.
You can stop in the Advanced CS section, but the next step to completing your studies is to develop skills and knowledge in a specific domain.
Many of these courses are graduate-level.

Choose one or more of the followingspecializations:

These aren’t the only specializations you can choose. Check the following websites formore options:

Where to go next?

  • Look for a job as a developer!
  • Check out thereadingsfor classic books you can read that will sharpen your skills and expand your knowledge.
  • Join a local developer meetup (e.g. viameetup.com).
  • Pay attention to emerging technologies in the world of software development:
    • Explore theactor modelthroughElixir, a new functional programming language for the web based on the battle-tested Erlang Virtual Machine!
    • Exploreborrowing and lifetimesthroughRust, a systems language which achieves memory- and thread-safety without a garbage collector!
    • Exploredependent type systemsthroughIdris, a new Haskell-inspired language with unprecedented support for type-driven development.

keep learning

OSSU’s code of conduct.

  • Subscribe to ournewsletter.
  • Use ourforumif you need some help.
  • You can also interact throughGitHub issues.
  • We also have a chat room!Join the chat at https://gitter.im/open-source-society/computer-science
  • AddOpen Source Society Universityto yourLinkedinprofile!

PS: A forum is an ideal way to interact with other students as we do not lose important discussions, which usually occur in communication via chat apps.
Please use our forum for important discussions.

How to show your progress

  1. Create an account inTrello.
  2. Copythisboard to your personal account.
    See how to copy a boardhere.

Now that you have a copy of our official board, you just need to pass the cards to theDoingcolumn orDonecolumn as you progress in your study.

We also havelabelsto 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 current 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 course.
  • Section: cards with that label represent the section that we have in our curriculum.
    Those cards with theSectionlabel are only to help the organization of the Done column.
    You should put theCourse’s cardsbelow its respectiveSection’s card.

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 bepublicorprivate.


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