DEGREES AVAILABLE: Major and Minor
What is Informatics?
- Informatics brings together software engineering, human-computer interaction, and the study of information technology in organizations into a single, focused degree program.
- Informatics addresses the design and construction of information technology systems that will be effective in real-world situations. It includes not only building software but also examining the human, organizational, and social context where the system will be used.
- Informatics is the interdisciplinary study of the design, implementation, use, and impact of information technology.
- Informatics is a common term for computer science in European universities; the number of Informatics programs in American universities is growing.
Traditional computer science programs focus on analyzing and designing computers and computer systems, but the success of those systems depends not only on their intrinsic characteristics but also on the real-world situations where they will be used—the human users and their requirements, characteristics, and organizations. Informatics studies computer systems in their real-world context and how to design and build those systems so they work effectively in that context.
In Informatics we aim to:
- Design and develop new uses for information technology.
- Understand the effect information technology has on people.
- Apply information technology in fields ranging from medicine to music, from ecology to aerospace, from finance to entertainment.
Is Informatics for me?
Informatics is for you 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 do already have some programming experience will also find new concepts, even in the very first course.
The Informatics major offers a contemporary curriculum with an emphasis on group work (starting in the first course), studio-oriented design courses, and a year-long senior project.
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 year-long 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 year-long capstone project in which groups of students address a significant project, typically from an outside client.
What do I take?
All Informatics majors take a common core of 16 courses. After their first year, Informatics majors choose an additional 10 courses in one of three specializations:
- Software Engineering
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Organizations and Information Technology
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE INFORMATICS MAJOR (effective Fall 2009)
- Introductory courses: Informatics 41, 42, 43, 44.
- ICS 23 or Informatics 45.
- ICS 6B/Mathematics 6B, Statistics 7/Mathematics 7 or Statistics 67/Mathematics 67, and Philosophy 29.
- Informatics Core Requirements: Informatics 113, 121, 131, 151, 161, 191A-B-C.
- One of the following specializations:
Software Engineering: Informatics 101, 102, 111, 115, 117, 122, 123, 133, Computer Science 122A, and one additional course chosen from Informatics 100-199, EECS118, Management 107, Management 159.
Human-Computer Interaction: Informatics 132; three courses chosen from Informatics 133, 141, 143, 153, 162, 171, Cognitive Science 143H; two project courses chosen from 125, 134, 148, 163; four additional courses chosen from Informatics 100-190 or Public Health 166.
Organizations and Information Technology: (a) Informatics 141, 162, 163, Management 5, Management 102. (b) Four additional courses chosen from: Management 107, 159, 162, 170, 173, 175, and 178; Psychology and Social Behavior 9, 104S, 176S, and 180S; Sociology 41, 135, 141, 143, and 145; Informatics 100-199; (c) Two additional courses chosen from Informatics 100 - 199 or Computer Science 100 – 199.
Students will find sample programs of study for each of the specializations in the UCI Catalogue. Students should consult the Bren School’s course listings section and meet with a Bren ICS counselor to ensure that their academic plan and proposed quarterly schedules are consistent with actual offerings.
Additional information about this degree can be found on the Department of Informatics web site.
What can I do with this degree?
A degree in Informatics provides excellent preparation for work at the forefront of the computing industry.
Our students work in many industrial settings, such as start-up companies, small software houses, consulting firms and multi-national corporations.
They are prepared for careers including these:
Many students will go on to graduate school in computer engineering, computer science, information science, management or law.
- Software Engineer
- Human-Computer Interface Designer
- Information Architect
- Game Designer
- Usability Engineer
- Mobile Computing Systems Designer
What can I do with the Informatics Minor?
The minor provides a focused study of Informatics to supplement a student’s major program of study and prepares students for a profession, career, or academic pursuit in which information and software design is an integral part but is not the primary focus.
The minor allows students sufficient flexibility to pursue courses that complement their major field or address specific interests. The minor particularly centers on understanding the relationships among computers and people, and how these relationships must be addressed in information and software design.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE INFORMATICS MINOR*
Informatics 41, 42, 43, and 44
Informatics 111 and 131; and at least one of the following pairs of courses: Informatics 101 and Informatics 102, Informatics 113 and 115, Informatics 151 and 153, Informatics 161 and 162, Informatics 132 and 143, CS 122A and CS 122B.
Before enrolling in any course for the Informatics minor, students should ensure that they meet its prerequisites. See the course prerequisites listed in the Catalogue or on the Informatics Web site.
NOTE: A maximum of two courses can be taken Pass/Not Pass to satisfy the minor in Informatics. Students majoring in Information and Computer Science, Computer Science, or Computer Science and Engineering cannot minor in Informatics. Students who are considering a major in Informatics must complete the Informatics courses with a letter grade.
*A proposed change to the Informatics Minor requirements is expected to receive final campus approval in Fall quarter, 2009. If approved, the updated requirements will take effect in Winter quarter, 2010. Be sure to schedule an appointment with a counselor to determine possible options available to you for completion of the minor requirements.
Special Programs and Learning Opportunities
There are several ways to add depth, scope, and experiential learning to your academic program of study. An academic counselor will help you determine the most efficient way to add another major, minor, or concentration to your academic plan, and will refer you to other campus programs and resources that support your interests and future goals.
- Engineering and Computer Science in the Global Context
All Bren School majors in good standing may propose an academic plan that demonstrates the ability to complete the concentration and other requirements for graduation in a reasonable timeframe.
The globalization of the marketplace for information technology services and products makes it likely that Bren ICS graduates will work in multicultural settings or be employed by companies with extensive international operations, or customer bases. The goal of the concentration is to help students develop and integrate knowledge of the history, language and culture of a country or geographic region outside the United States, through coursework both at UCI and an international host campus, followed by a technology related internship in the host country.Application:
Each student's proposed program of study, specifying coursework and a guided internship experience in a region outside the U.S., must be approved in advance by the Bren School of ICS Associate Dean for Student Affairs. It is expected that each student's proposal will reflect a high degree of planning that includes the guidance of academic counselors and those at the UCI Center for International Education regarding course selection, as well as considerations related to internship opportunities, housing and financial aid. The academic counselors and the Associate Dean will be available to assist qualified students with the development of a satisfactory academic plan, as needed.
- A minimum of eight courses at UCI or at the international campus with an emphasis on the culture, language (if applicable and necessary), history, literature of the country that corresponds to the international portion of the program, international law, international labor policy, global issues, global institutions, global conflict and negotiation and global economics;
- A one or two semester sequence of technical courses related to the major and, possibly, cultural, history, and literature courses taken at an international university;
- A two month or longer technical internship experience in the same country as the international educational experience.
Students inside and outside of the Bren School of ICS may want to pursue a minor, a coordinated set of courses which together take a student well beyond the introductory level in an academic field, subject, and/or discipline. Note: Some minor requirements may be fulfilled by the student’s major requirements. Some major/minor combinations are not allowed.
- Biomedical Computing (10 courses)
- Digital Information Systems (7 courses)
- Informatics (8 courses)
- Information and Computer Science (7 courses)
- Statistics (7 courses)
» OPPORTUNITIES FOR HONORS-LEVEL STUDYStudents who are majoring in Biomedical Computing, Business Information Management, Computer Science, Computer Science and Engineering, and Information and Computer Science, and ICS Undeclared Pre-Majors are invited to apply for admission to the Bren School of ICS's introductory honors sequence (ICS H21/H22/H23). These courses provide a uniquely challenging and intimate learning environment in which conventional course material is explored in greater depth.
A student must meet at least one of the following criteria to be eligible to enroll in ICS H21:
- Minimum 620 on each of 2 of 3 sections of the SAT; or
- Member of the UCI Campuswide Honors Program; or
- Verification of score of 3 or higher on AP Computer Science A exam; or
Eligible students will be provided an authorization code (required) for course enrollment at the time of their summer orientation/registration session.
» BREN SCHOOL OF ICS HONORS PROGRAM
Allows juniors and seniors majoring in Computer Science, Computer Science and Engineering, Informatics, or Information and Computer Science to pursue advanced work in one of many research areas.
Students admitted to the program participate in an honors seminar, conduct independent research under the guidance of a faculty member, and write a research paper.
More information about eligibility criteria and benefits of successful completion of the honors program is available at the Honors program web site.
» INDEPENDENT RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES
The School encourages all majors to take advantage of this valuable experience, and faculty advertise many research opportunities every year.
Students are also encouraged to participate in the campus Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), which offers guidance and grant funding for student-proposed independent research, and sponsors programs which provide summer stipends for students working on faculty-guided research.
» CAMPUSWIDE HONORS PROGRAM
Available to selected high-achieving students from all academic majors from their freshman through senior years. For more information see the CHP web site.
» EDUCATION ABROAD PROGRAM
Upper-division students have the opportunity to experience different cultures while making progress toward degree objectives through the Education Abroad Program (EAP).
EAP is an overseas study program which operates in cooperation with host universities and colleges throughout the world.
» OTHER PROGRAMS OF INTEREST
- UCI SAGE (Student Achievement Guided by Experience) Scholars Program
- UCI California Teach Initiative
- UCI Washington Academic Internship Program
- UC/DC Internship Program
- UCI Administrative Intern Program
Still not sure?
Prospective and current students interested in learning more about the Bren ICS degree options are encouraged to meet with the Associate Dean, counselors and student ambassadors in the Bren ICS Student Affairs Office.
They will help you determine which of our majors and minors best support your academic strengths and interests.
Bren ICS Student Affairs Office
Information and Computer Science Building I, Suite 352
Irvine, CA 92697-3430
Phone: (949) 824-5156