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Product Based Education

Study software engineering by building products that solve real problems.

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No Up-Front Tuition

Only pay when you get a job, rent and living assistance available for students in need.

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Graduate in
2 Years

Alums work in engineering roles at Google, Facebook, and top YC-funded startups.

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Welcome to the future of computer science education

Imagine going to a school where everyone is trying to change the world with technology. Welcome to Make School. Your education will be focused on building apps and websites that improve the lives of those around you. You'll learn the underlying computer science theory, development best practices, and design principles that enable you to ship polished products.

We designed Make School to be the college experience we wished existed; a debt free education relevant to today's fast paced economy, infused with inspiration, passion and creation. Say hello to the future of higher education.


Two Years at Make School Two Years at Make School


At the Product College, we believe that in order to meet the demands of a future where software fuels innovation, we need to empower our youth to be creators and inventors - to be Makers. Our students are creative and logical thinkers who are challenged at Product College to cultivate not only technical skills but also empathy, strong communication skills, the ability to learn things quickly, and the ability to ship the products they create. The well-rounded education students obtain at Product College equips them to be either incredibly talented developers with sturdy careers or entrepreneurs with a strong understanding of how to meet the needs of the market.

Downtown San Francisco

The first year at the Product College is focused on teaching you the foundational theory, technologies, and soft skills needed to kickstart your software engineering career. Most students will spend the summer between the first and second year interning at a tech company to gain real world work experience, others will continue learning through building their own projects. After the summer, you'll return to Make School for a year full of advanced, product-based courses in various specializations with a focus on leveling up your code quality, architecture and development process.

Our impressive and diverse faculty of instructors teach fundamental and advanced topics in product development, computer science theory, entrepreneurship, and cutting-edge software architecture all through real-life and hands-on software product development. On a weekly basis, participants in the Product College interact with professional founders and developers that Make School has access to through our broad social and investor networks that include Y Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz.

While we focus on developing the hard skills of web and mobile product development, the Product College experience is much more than just tech. At the Product College, you will learn the soft skills of developing and communicating your vision for a product or a company, write an article that changes the minds of colleagues and peers, and learn the important skill of self-advocacy that will both accelerate your career and, if you choose, help you excel as a founder of your own company.


The Product College is a two year program, each year is broken up into five terms. In Year One students take three courses per term: 1 Core Course, and 2 Technical Courses.

Make School Curriculum

The majority of Technical Courses focus on computer science theory or one of two technical concentrations: Mobile Development or Full Stack Web Development. Throughout your two years, you can also choose to focus your time on one or a few secondary concentrations including but not limited to: Connected or IoT Devices, Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, Data Science & Visualization, Game Development, Virtual Reality, Entrepreneurship, Product Management, and Design.

See the full course catalog here and a sample Course Schedule here. New courses are added several times a year.


Core is required for all students and meets twice a week during the first year. In core classes students focus on gaining the core skills that all software engineers, technical founders, and working professionals need to succeed. Each term's core classes follow a theme.

  • 1. Productivity & Developer Success Skills - During the first term, students focus on establishing productive learning and work habits and gain initial mastery of the fundamental processes of software development and agile development.
  • 2. Product Development - During term two, students learn the foundational skills of becoming a successful entrepreneur. They build their own app using lean product development, conduct user research, assess market potential, and design an exceptional user interface. They use SCRUM planning to ensure that their app meets user needs and technical specifications.
  • 3. Teamwork - After winter break, core focuses on big group project with 4-5 engineers. Students specialize in a particular role and execute an ambitious project to impact the world. They get hands on experience navigating team dynamics and other challenges that they will face in their post-college job.
  • 4. Job Prep - Now with 3-4 projects in their portfolio, students learn what it takes to succeed in today's job market. They get in the mindset of a recruiter and craft their resume, LinkedIn, and cover letters to highlight their accomplishments and pitch their talents. They also learn the foundational skills of technical interviewing and white board coding.
  • 5. Apply to Jobs - Students apply to jobs and begin interviewing at companies. The Make School staff is waiting and eager to connect students to startups and companies in our network. We are on hand to help students negotiate their contract and assess which company is the best fit.
  • 6. Job Success Skills - As students continue to apply to companies, core focuses on the skills students need to succeed in the workforce including managing up, becoming a non-boss leader, communication and supporting teammates.


In the Product course students learn product development skills by building real products together in teams and solo. There are multiple Product courses offered per quarter, and each one has a different domain or theme. Students build products that solve a problem inside the course's theme. Product course themes in the past have included, Cities and Transportation, Food, Science, Education, Healthcare, Entertainment, Politics, and Space.


Technical courses meet two or three times a week and take a deep dive into one technology, language, or stack. Examples of these courses include: Advanced Topics in iOS & Swift, API Services with Python & Flask, Prototyping in Angular & React, Mathematics for Computer Science, Intro to Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, and many others.

After the first year, students decide on how to spend their summer and how they will spend their next year at Make School.

Product College students have received internships from big companies and small startups in San Francisco and across the U.S. and the world. The students find, apply, interview, and receive offers at these internships with the help and coaching of our cross-specialty Student Success team.

Many of our students elect to improve their mastery of mobile iOS software development and learn the valuable skill of teaching by applying to be an instructor in our global Summer Academy. As Summer Academy instructors students could spend the summer at one of our many global Summer Academy campuses including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Taipei, and Hong Kong.

Some students are not recommended to take an internship and instead work on a summer project or work on contract work during the summer before returning in the fall.

In the second year, students' learning is both more advanced and more self-regulated. Instructors will offer quarterly advanced technical and product courses, and students are encouraged and coached to extend their learning in other ways, such as:

  • Software Contracting
  • Building a Startup
  • Independent Projects
  • Pursuing another Internship
  • Full Time Job Hunting

The Product College is designed for its participants to graduate in two years with an impressive mixture of in-class computer science fundamentals, and real-world experience. If you have a plan for your future that does not fit into how things are laid out here, let us know your goals in your application, and we can address them as part of your admission and enrollment.

Make School Curriculum

Skills-Based Assessments

Product College students don't sit for traditional paper or electronic exams or receive traditional letter grades. Instead of focusing on exams and grades to determine proficiency, student achievement is instead marked through an assessment of the products they are continuously creating. Make School, with the help of our industry partners, has collected a set of key skills that will make our students a success in their first (and their fifth) jobs. These skills include professional skills, technical skills, and character skills. Instructors assess these skills based on observed evidence and completed projects and products.

This form of skills-based assessment works better than traditional grades for a few reasons. A skills-based education shows a clear path towards mastery and success. If you have a "C" in English, you might just feel like you aren't that good at English. However, if you have "Initial Mastery" in Core Algorithms, you know that you need to practice your algorithms and sign up for some whiteboard coding to level up. Skills-based assessments are also more motivating for students because they can only gain mastery, not lose it, and there is always room to improve.

Skills-based assessments also communicate more to a potential employer after graduation. If you earn an "A" in Math, that means you did your math homework but it doesn't tell you much about how well you'll do at your job. It is more useful to tell an employer that you are "Approaching Mastery" in iOS Mobile Development and have reached "Mastery" in Professionalism and Teamwork.

Students can see their skills assessment and instructor feedback at anytime through our in-house learning management system. Each student also receives individualized, face-to-face feedback from all their instructors three times a year, in a meeting called a "Don Rag".

Student Life

A Diverse and Inclusive Student Body

Part of the mission of Make School is to make an elite technological education accessible to all. We see diversity as a key element to the success of organizations and the tech community as a whole. We are building a curriculum and a community that supports the learning and success of students from all genders, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, and societal or economic backgrounds. And we consider freedom of thought and the open exchange of ideas key to an effective learning environment. That kind of exchange can happen only in an environment that recognizes the value of each person and fosters mutual respect. As a small college with small classes, we are uniquely positioned to provide individualized support that allows all students to succeed. Make School implements research-based strategies and policies to provide an onramp for women and underrepresented minorities into technology.

Living in the Heart of Silicon Valley

Living in Silicon Valley puts students at the heart of the technology industry's biggest hub and one of the world's most vibrant cities. As a student, you will be studying right next to both the large companies and startups that power much of the software we all use on a daily basis.

Make School enables students to soak up crucial networking opportunities with these amazing companies. We organize monthly field trips to company offices and also conduct a recurring speaker series, which hosts successful entrepreneurs, executives, and engineers from companies like Pixar, Lyft, LinkedIn, and more.

Make School Student Life

In your first year at Make School, you will be living with your fellow students in our designated dormitories in the Nob Hill district of San Francisco. Living in the dorms allows students to bond, create support systems for work as well as life, and ultimately make lifelong friendships. Resident Assistants, who act as liaisons between students and Make School, provide help and support as well as receive a budget to throw monthly events such as dinners and game nights.


Students are actively encouraged to balance their Product College work with a healthy lifestyle full of whole foods, rest, and relaxation. San Francisco affords all Product College students many recreational activities including hiking, cycling, visiting museums, and exploring the historic neighborhoods and culture of San Francisco. There are also a multitude of communities in the city that students can join to network with other professionals or learn new skills.

Academic Calendar

2018-2019 Academic Year

Jan 2018 Start:
Jan 8, 2018 First day of class
Mar 31 – Apr 8, 2018 Spring Break
Jun - Aug Two-month summer break
Dec 12, 2018 Last day of class
Sept 2018 Start:
Sept 4, 2018 First day of class
Dec 13, 2018 - Jan 6, 2019 Winter break
Mar 30 - Apr 7, 2019 Spring break
May 31, 2019 Last day of class

Find the Admissions Calendar with application deadlines here.

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