M.S. Informatics

A career in information technology can take you many different places. A hospital, where you might roll out a new electronic medical records system. An interaction design firm, where you could create new product concepts for clients. A small independent app developer, crafting the latest must-have smartphone tool. In government, predicting trends about information technology and its use.

In all of these cases, it is crucial to understand the relationship between people and computing: How do the existing technologies shape human behavior, society and culture, and how can we design future technologies to better serve those same constituents? The answers to these questions are not something you learn in the typical undergraduate major.

The M.S. program in informatics at UC Irvine is aimed at students with bachelor’s degrees in a variety of disciplines, from computing to social science to the arts, who may or may not have been out in the workforce already, and who seek to build a deeper understanding of the relationship between people and technology. The primary theme throughout the program is that of design, from early research to concept design to actual prototyping and evaluation.

The program is organized around a set of core courses that introduces the fundamentals of informatics, followed by a broader range of courses through which students can choose to focus their learning. Students can choose from three tracks, each with its own set of course requirements: interactive and collaborative technology; ubiquitous computing; and a general track.

Throughout, students are exposed to the theory, tools, methods, approaches and practicalities of informatics, including topics such as social computing, human-computer interaction and collaborative work. Many of the courses include project work, typically performed in teams, and frequently leading to concrete outcomes that you can add to your design portfolio.

For students who are interested in obtaining a Ph.D. after completing their M.S., or who want to simply get a sense of what research is like, the program offers a thesis option. For two (or more if you wish) quarters, you will join a research group, contribute to a research project, and write a thesis summarizing your efforts. With one of the largest and most diverse faculty in the world dedicated to the topic of informatics, UCI offers a broad range of projects from which to choose.

Why study at UC Irvine?

  • Excellence. You will be part of a world-class group of faculty and students who have an outstanding track record of delivering innovative, relevant education.
  • Placement. We prepare our students for rich, fulfilling and diverse careers; whether you want to be a product designer, user-experience researcher or project manager, you can find a path through our program that prepares you to reach your career goals.
  • Support. You join a team that strongly believes that working together is essential to learning. Whether in the classroom, in design or fieldwork, in your M.S. research, or simply as part of a hallway conversation, we encourage you to speak up, join the discussion and contribute.
  • Connections. Our alumni have gone on to study in some of the most prestigious Ph.D. programs, work for well-known, innovative corporations, and found successful startups. We stay in touch with them, and can help connect you for internships that complement your studies.
  • Diversity. UCI was founded with a focus on diversity of thought, experiences, and ideas. Our department faculty represent a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds and have in-depth collaborations across campus. Additionally, students are encouraged to take coursework outside of the school that pertains to their interests.


We are always looking for talented students to join! To learn more about our courses and accomplishments, we encourage you to explore this website, as well as the websites of the various research labs and centers in the department. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via our vice chair for graduate affairs or by e-mailing one of the informatics faculty directly.

Detailed requirements

Please see the catalogue for a detailed description of the requirements of the Informatics M.S. program (please note that it is listed under the umbrella of the broader ICS graduate program).