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Degrees

Our broad selection of majors lets you be as specialized or general as you like

Informatics

Informatics at UC Irvine brings together software engineering, human-computer interaction and the study of information technology in organizations into a single degree program.

Traditional computer science programs concentrate on analyzing and designing computers and computer systems, but the success of those systems depends not only on their intrinsic features but also on human users and their requirements, characteristics and organizations. Informatics focuses on understanding the effect of information technology on people, studying computer systems in their real-world context, and determining how those systems can work effectively.

Students with an affinity for design and an interest in learning how to develop effective and usable software systems are encouraged to explore this major.

IS INFORMATICS FOR ME?

The Informatics degree program offers a contemporary curriculum with an emphasis on group work (starting with the first course), studio-oriented design courses and a yearlong senior project.

You may want to consider this major if you:

  • enjoy solving problems using all the tools you have available;
  • can work not only with technical details but also with “big-picture” issues;
  • have strong reading and writing skills and can think freely, creatively and systematically.

Previous experience in computer programming is not required to start the Informatics major. Programming is just one aspect of Informatics, and the major introduces all the necessary skills at a manageable pace. Students who already have some programming experience will also find new concepts, even in the very first course.

The first year of the program provides students with a hands-on introduction to the broad field of Informatics, centering on the Informatics Core Course. This yearlong course develops students’ basic understanding of software: how to design and construct programs, and how the programs operate as part of information technology systems.

The second year builds up a portfolio of foundational concepts and techniques that establish the discipline of Informatics; these contribute to the “toolbox” students will use in subsequent years to solve large-scale information and software design problems. As sophomores, students begin to take more advanced courses that support their specialization in either software engineering, human-computer interaction, or the study of organizations and information technology. These may involve courses in Management, Psychology, Computer Science or Engineering.

In the third year, all students study the design process, project management and the impacts of technology on the real world. Students continue to take electives in their specialized area of study.

The fourth year is built around a yearlong capstone project in which groups of students tackle a significant assignment, typically from an outside client.

WHAT COURSES DO I TAKE?

Current requirements for this major can be found in the General Catalogue.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH A DEGREE IN INFORMATICS?

A degree in Informatics provides excellent preparation for a career at the forefront of the computing industry.

Our graduates work in many industrial settings — ranging from start-up companies and small software houses to consulting firms and multinational corporations — in various roles, including:

  • Software Engineer
  • Human-Computer Interface Designer
  • Information Architect
  • Game Designer
  • Usability Engineer
  • Mobile Computing Systems Designer

Many also go on to graduate school to pursue an advanced degree in computer engineering, computer science, information science, management or law.

Informatics students demonstrate a prototype of their senior project — an interactive comic book app that teaches English to Japanese school-age children. Informatics students demonstrate a prototype of their senior project — an interactive comic book app that teaches English to Japanese school-age children.

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