Late applications are still open for our winter 2013 batch. Apply now!
When does the next batch start?
Our winter 2013 batch will start February 11 and end May 2. The following batch (summer 2013) will begin about a month after the winter 2013 batch ends.
When are your batches?

We run three 12-week batches a year. The approximate dates for the batches are:

  • Winter (early February to late April)
  • Summer (early June to late August)
  • Fall (early October to late December)

When do admissions open?
Applications are currently open. You can apply now.
What's the admissions process?
A brief written application, followed by two rounds of short Skype interviews.
Where is Hacker School?
Our winter 2013 will be in New York City. The exact location is TBD, but it will be in either Manhattan or Brooklyn and be easily accessible via transit. Past batches have been at Etsy, The Huffington Post, Spotify, and NYU.
Can I visit Hacker School?
Probably not. We have a limited amount of space, and priority goes to our alumni and invited speakers.
What's the time commitment?
We meet Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for three months. Our hours are 10:30am to 8:30pm Mondays (we stay late to have dinner together) and 10:30am to 6:30pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Do I have to be in New York?
Yes, you need to be in the New York area for the full three months. (One Hacker Schooler commuted from New Haven and never missed a day, but he was a little crazy.)
How does anyone learn if there are no formal teachers or curricula?

In place of formal teachers we have facilitators (Nick, Dave, Sonali, Tom, Alan, Zach, and Allison) and fellow students who help find the best way to learn what you want. Instead of a fixed curriculum, we have a individualized approach. If you're weak on CS theory or want to explore functional programming, we'll help you find a path to learn it.

We've found that everyone learns a lot when a group of smart, curious people get in a room together to write code and help each other grow.

Do you have lectures?

Almost never. We much more frequently break into groups or pairs to help each other understand something new.

We also occasionally host guest speakers. These talks expose students to new ideas and, more important, serve as an excuse to get students interacting with speakers (you can always watch lectures online if you want, but you can't interact with a video).

Is this a Rails or Django training program?
No, we're language and framework agnostic. (Actually, that's not quite right: We're highly opinionated about languages and frameworks, but the purpose of Hacker School isn't to learn a specific stack but to become a better programmer. Hacker Schoolers write code in everything from Erlang to 6502 Assembly.)
Does Hacker School grant degrees or certificates?
No. The reasons to do Hacker School are to become a better programmer, to join a growing and tight-knit alumni network, and to get a free t-shirt.
I'm not a US citizen. Can I do Hacker School?
Yes, assuming you can legally be in New York for the entirety of the batch (just under three months). We don't pay you, and we're not an official academic institution, so you shouldn't need a work or student visa. We've had students come from more than a dozen countries to do Hacker School.
Can you sponsor visas?
No, sorry :(
How big is Hacker School?
Our current batch has about 50 students, not including us (Nick, Dave, Sonali, Tom, Alan, Zach, and Allison). We accept as many students as we think we can accommodate and keep the batch good.
I'd like to start my own company. Should I do Hacker School?
It depends, but if your primary interest is starting a company, you should apply to Y Combinator;.
I'm a contract programmer. Can I do client work at Hacker School?
No, Hacker School is not a coworking space.
I don't know how to program. Can I do Hacker School?
No, sorry. Hacker School is currently only for people who already know how to code. Think of it like a writers workshop. We're here to help people become great novelists, but you have to already know English and be comfortable writing essays.
How much programming experience do I need for Hacker School?

You need to have programmed enough to know that you enjoy programming. This requirement is as much for you as it is for us, since most of our time at Hacker School is spent programming, and if you don't like programming, you won't like Hacker School.

This doesn't mean you need to be single-mindedly obsessed with coding or spend 12 hours doing it; it just means the prospect of three months focusing on becoming a better programmer should sound like fun and not a chore.

If you get excited thinking about how programming languages are written, or solve Project Euler problems for fun, or get a burst of joy every time you squash a bug, you're almost certainly a good fit for Hacker School.

The lower bound for experience for students who have successfully done Hacker School seems to be about two months. That is, we've had exceptional students who have come to Hacker School with as little as two months of programming experience and who have done enormously well.

How much does Hacker School cost?
Hacker School is free for students (see below for how we make money).
How does Hacker School make money?
Startups pay us to recruit. If after Hacker School you want a job, we will help you find one. If you don't want one, or you'd prefer to search on your own, that's fine too.
Do you offer scholarships for living expenses?
We offer a limited number of $5,000 need-based grants for women to do Hacker School. You can apply for a grant simply by checking the box that you need financial assistance on our application form.
How many women are in Hacker School?
Our past two batches have been 35-45% women. Read this blog post to learn more.
Why/how did you start Hacker School?
Read this blog post.
How can I help?
We're looking for space, scholarships, and sponsors for the next batch. Please contact us for details.
Was this site's design inspired by Y Combinator?
Yes. We copied most everything except the 90s markup.
Who took these great photos?
Hacker School alumni and friends. Rick Lin, Danielle Sucher and John J. Workman.
Are you funded?
We were part of the Summer 2010 Y Combinator batch and have received additional funding from Founder Collective and SV Angel. We also received a Flash Grant from the Shuttleworth Foundation.