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:

  • 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 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 spreadsheet 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.

Warning: While the spreadsheet is a useful tool to estimate the time you need to complete this curriculum, it may not be up-to-date with the curriculum. Use the spreadsheet just to estimate the time you need. Use the OSSU CS website or the repo to see what courses to do.

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. Some students choose to study multiple courses at a time in order to vary the material they are working on is a day/week. A popular option is to take the math courses in parallel with the introductory courses. Course prerequisites are listed to help you determine if you are prepared for a given course.
  • 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; the Discord community may provide feedback on your planned subject.

Content policy. If you plan on showing off some of your coursework publicly, you must share only files that you are allowed to. Respect the code of conduct that you signed in the beginning of each course!