Open Source Society University
Path to a free selftaught education in Computer Science!
Contents
Summary
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, wellrounded 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 (nonCS) 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 selfpaced format, otherwise running multiple times per year)
 Be of generally high quality in teaching materials and pedagogical principles
 Match the curricular standards of the CS 2013: Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Computer Science
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:
 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
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 spread
to estimate their end date. Make a copy and input your start date and expected hours per week in the Timeline
sheet. As you work through courses 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.
 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 topologically sorted 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.
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!
Getting help (Details about our FAQ and chatroom)
Community
 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? Join the OSSU Discord
 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 here.
 Subscribe to our newsletter.
 Add Open Source Society University to your Linkedin 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 FAQ.
Curriculum
Curriculum version: 8.0.0
(see CHANGELOG)
Prerequisites
 Core CS assumes the student has already taken high school math, including algebra, geometry, and precalculus.
 Advanced CS assumes the student has already taken the entirety of Core CS and is knowledgeable enough now to decide which electives to take.
 Note that Advanced systems assumes the student has taken a basic physics course (e.g. AP Physics in high school).
Intro CS
Introduction to Programming
If you've never written a forloop, or don't know what a string is in programming, start here. This course is selfpaced, 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
objectoriented design
static typing
dynamic typing
MLfamily languages (via Standard ML)
Lispfamily 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  810 hours/week  none  chat 
How to Code  Complex Data  6 weeks  810 hours/week  How to Code: Simple Data  chat 
Programming Languages, Part A  5 weeks  48 hours/week  How to Code (Hear instructor)  chat 
Programming Languages, Part B  3 weeks  48 hours/week  Programming Languages, Part A  chat 
Programming Languages, Part C  3 weeks  48 hours/week  Programming Languages, Part B  chat 
ObjectOriented Design  4 weeks  4 hours/week  Basic Java  
Design Patterns  4 weeks  4 hours/week  ObjectOriented Design  
Software Architecture  4 weeks  25 hours/week  Design Patterns 
Core math
Discrete 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
Onotation
discrete probability
and more
Courses  Duration  Effort  Notes  Prerequisites  Discussion 

Calculus 1A: Differentiation (alt)  13 weeks  610 hours/week  The alternate covers this and the following 2 courses  high school math  chat 
Calculus 1B: Integration  13 weeks  510 hours/week    Calculus 1A  chat 
Calculus 1C: Coordinate Systems & Infinite Series  6 weeks  510 hours/week    Calculus 1B  chat 
Mathematics for Computer Science (alt)  13 weeks  5 hours/week  2015/2019 solutions 2010 solutions 2005 solutions.  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
highlevel 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  713 hours/week    Clike programming language  chat 
Build a Modern Computer from First Principles: Nand to Tetris Part II  6 weeks  1218 hours/week    one of these programming languages, From Nand to Tetris Part I  chat 
Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces  1012 weeks  610 hours/week    algorithms, familiarity with C is useful  chat 
Computer Networking: a TopDown Approach  8 weeks  4–12 hours/week  Wireshark Labs  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
NPcompleteness
and more
Courses  Duration  Effort  Prerequisites  Discussion 

Divide and Conquer, Sorting and Searching, and Randomized Algorithms  4 weeks  48 hours/week  any programming language, Mathematics for Computer Science  chat 
Graph Search, Shortest Paths, and Data Structures  4 weeks  48 hours/week  Divide and Conquer, Sorting and Searching, and Randomized Algorithms  chat 
Greedy Algorithms, Minimum Spanning Trees, and Dynamic Programming  4 weeks  48 hours/week  Graph Search, Shortest Paths, and Data Structures  chat 
Shortest Paths Revisited, NPComplete Problems and What To Do About Them  4 weeks  48 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
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
ray tracing
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  46 hours/week  linear algebra  chat 
Computer Graphics  6 weeks  12 hours/week  C++ or Java, linear algebra  chat 
Software Engineering: Introduction  6 weeks  810 hours/week  Core Programming, and a sizable project  chat 
Core ethics
Topics covered:
Social Context
Analytical Tools
Professional Ethics
Intellectual Property
Privacy and Civil Liberties
and more
Courses  Duration  Effort  Prerequisites  Discussion 

Ethics, Technology and Engineering  9 weeks  2 hours/week  none  chat 
Introduction to Intellectual Property  4 weeks  2 hours/week  none  chat 
Data Privacy Fundamentals  3 weeks  3 hours/week  none  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.
Advanced programming
Topics covered:
debugging theory and practice
goaloriented programming
parallel computing
objectoriented analysis and design
UML
largescale software architecture and design
and more
Courses  Duration  Effort  Prerequisites 

Parallel Programming  4 weeks  68 hours/week  Scala programming 
Compilers  9 weeks  68 hours/week  none 
Introduction to Haskell  14 weeks     
Learn Prolog Now! (alt)*  12 weeks     
Software Debugging  8 weeks  6 hours/week  Python, objectoriented programming 
Software Testing  4 weeks  6 hours/week  Python, programming experience 
(*) 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  Notes 

Computation Structures 1: Digital Circuits alt1 alt2  10 weeks  6 hours/week  Nand2Tetris II  Alternate links contain all 3 courses. 
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
eventdriven 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 math
Courses  Duration  Effort  Prerequisites  Discussion 

Essence of Linear Algebra      high school math  chat 
Linear Algebra  14 weeks  12 hours/week  corequisite: Essence of Linear Algebra  chat 
Introduction to Numerical Methods  14 weeks  12 hours/week  Linear Algebra  chat 
Introduction to Logic  10 weeks  48 hours/week  set theory  chat 
Probability  24 weeks  12 hours/week  Differentiation and Integration  chat 
Final project
OSS University is projectfocused. The assignments and exams for each course are to prepare you to use your knowledge to solve realworld 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 CodeTriage or First Timers Only.
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):
Courses  Duration  Effort  Prerequisites 

Fullstack Open  12 weeks  15 hours/week  programming 
Modern Robotics (Specialization)  26 weeks  25 hours/week  freshmanlevel physics, linear algebra, calculus, linear ordinary differential equations 
Data Mining (Specialization)  30 weeks  25 hours/week  machine learning 
Big Data (Specialization)  30 weeks  35 hours/week  none 
Internet of Things (Specialization)  30 weeks  15 hours/week  strong programming 
Cloud Computing (Specialization)  30 weeks  26 hours/week  C++ programming 
Data Science (Specialization)  43 weeks  16 hours/week  none 
Functional Programming in Scala (Specialization)  29 weeks  45 hours/week  One year programming experience 
Game Design and Development with Unity 2020 (Specialization)  6 months  5 hours/week  programming, interactive design 
Evaluation
Upon completing your final project:

Submit your project's information to PROJECTS via a pull request.

Put the OSSUCS badge in the README of your repository!
 Markdown:
[![Open Source Society University  Computer Science](https://img.shields.io/badge/OSSUcomputerscienceblue.svg)](https://github.com/ossu/computerscience)
 HTML:
<a href="https://github.com/ossu/computerscience"><img alt="Open Source Society University  Computer Science" src="https://img.shields.io/badge/OSSUcomputerscienceblue.svg"></a>
 Markdown:

Use our community channels to announce it to your fellow students.
Solicit feedback from your OSSU peers. 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.
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 worldclass 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.
Congratulations
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:
 Look for a job as a developer!
 Check out the readings for classic books you can read that will sharpen your skills and expand your knowledge.
 Join a local developer meetup (e.g. via meetup.com).
 Pay attention to emerging technologies in the world of software development:
 Explore the actor model through Elixir, a new functional programming language for the web based on the battletested Erlang Virtual Machine!
 Explore borrowing and lifetimes through Rust, a systems language which achieves memory and threadsafety without a garbage collector!
 Explore dependent type systems through Idris, a new Haskellinspired language with unprecedented support for typedriven development.
Code of conduct
How to show your progress
 Create an account in Trello.
 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:
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 theSection
label are only to help the organization of the Done column. You should put the Course's cards below its respective Section'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 be public or private.
Team
 Eric Douglas: founder of OSSU
 Josh Hanson: lead technical maintainer
 Waciuma Wanjohi: lead academic maintainer
 Contributors