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NYU Computer Science Bridge Review

The Computer Science Bridge Program at NYU is designed to prepare students without a computer science undergrad for the Computer Science / Cyber Security graduate programs at the Tandon School of Engineering at NYU. Having recently completed the program, I wanted to share my experience.



The program covers a range of computer science topics from data structures and algorithms to discrete math to networking and operating systems. Basic programming concepts are covered, but I would not recommend this program if you don’t have at least some background with programming. The program takes place over 24 weeks, but there is also a 17-week accelerated version available if you’re feeling ambitious. To get accepted into the graduate program, you need to complete the bridge program with a B+ which means you’ll likely need to outperform about 75% - 80% of your cohort. Admittedly, those aren’t good odds, but this is a competitive program.

Deciding Whether to Apply

The decision depends on your goals and circumstances. The program costs $1.5K plus added expenses such as books and online materials, so, while it’s not outrageously expensive, there are cheaper ways to learn the material if you’re simply looking to break into the field or improve your knowledge of computer science.

NYU is an expensive school, so, if cost is an issue, consider other options. NYU is a good brand with a good network, but knowledge is much more valuable than a credential, and, if you know what you’re doing, you’ll make it in tech with or without a graduate degree.

If the cost of grad school at NYU isn’t an issue, here are a few resources to make sure you’re set up to succeed in the program:


Coding in the bridge program is in C++ so that students can get exposure to memory management. A great resource for dipping your toe in the water is Trevor Payne’s Let’s Learn C++ tutorial playlist. Do not sign up for the bridge course before completing this tutorial series in its entirety! I don’t care how long it takes you, if you can’t complete it, you will have a very difficult time landing in the top 20% of your cohort. If you’re new to programming and computer science, start with Udacity’s Intro to Computer Science, but make sure to complete Trevor Payne’s C++ tutorial once you finish.


Find a good resource for learning Discrete Math. Recommended reading for the course is Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications by Rosen.

Operating Systems

Familiarize yourself with the material from Udacity’s Intro to Operating Systems.

Most of the students who enroll end up dropping out once it becomes apparent that they have no path to be admitted to the graduate program or once they realize how much work is involved (more below in the program experience section). If you have a full-time job, I suggest taking the 24-week program as opposed to the 17-week as the program schedule is demanding.

Program Experience

The workload for the program will vary widely from week to week. Some weeks I spent less than 2 hours in total (by using a browser plugin to speed up the lecture playback and finishing the weekly assignment in about 20 minutes) while others took more than 20. Some of my classmates with less programming experience told me they spent over 50 hours a week on average.

Professors and TAs

The course has multiple professors and TAs. The TAs have been through the program before and are sympathetic to your situation and are a great resource. As for the professors, it’s not their fault, but they have other responsibilities and priorities. Be prepared to practice the material on your own and use the TA office hours and your fellow students when you need help.


Grading can take a long time, so be prepared for a slow feedback loop. Grade distributions in this program tend to be bi-modal: there’s a cluster of students who get the material and do really well while the rest do poorly. The result is that, in most cases, the median is higher than the average, since you need to be near the top of your cohort make sure you’re consistently staying above the median. If you’re not, get help!


Homeworks are usually fair and make up 20% of your grade: take advantage of them. They provide good practice for the material that you will likely be tested on.


The tests can be brutal and droves of students drop out after each one. Including the final exam, there are 4 tests during the bridge program. If you do worse than the median on any of the tests, it will be hard to make the cut for the graduate program (i.e. being in the top 20-25% of your cohort). Even worse, the later tests rely, in part, on rote memorization and may require the use of specific C++ APIs and libraries.


The decision to enter this program should not be taken lightly. Your studies will likely take up most of your free time for the duration of the program. If money is not an issue and you want a graduate degree from NYU, this might be a good option for you provided that you feel confortable with the resources provided above and you’re prepared to put in the work.