Want to learn how to design better user interfaces? Curious to learn how to observe people when they use information technology and how to turn your findings into innovative products? Wondering how evolving privacy laws affect the design of software worldwide? Care about helping people in need with smart apps? Interested in learning how organizations work and how information technology can support their practices?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, UC Irvine’s informatics major just might be the choice for you.
What will I learn?
The B.S. in informatics is designed around a small set of core courses that introduce the fundamentals of informatics (human computer interaction, design), software (programming, requirements analysis) and human behavior (social analysis of computerization). From there, two specializations —human-computer interaction and organizations and information technology — enable students to focus their learning with more than three dozen courses from which they can choose. The major is inherently interdisciplinary, with courses ranging from sociology and psychology to management and public health, depending on the specialization chosen.
Throughout the major, a variety of project courses offer students hands-on experiences in creative design practices, app development, ethnography, information management, business IT and other topics. You learn how to apply your skills in different domains and work in different teams, culminating in a three-quarter capstone course in which you engage in a real-world project sponsored by a company or organization outside the university.
Overall, the major strongly emphasizes people and design; building an understanding of how existing technologies shape human behavior, society, and culture; and how we can design future technologies that better fit human and organizational practices. Given the fluid nature of people’s expectations for information technology and what tomorrow’s technology can offer, students learn how to adapt to the continuous new circumstances of the profession — whether it is a new client and their habits, an emerging new device or software capability, or a new team and its practices.
As technology is increasingly differentiated by how it fits people, organizational needs and expectations, informatics majors are in strong demand. They attain positions as user-interface and interaction designers, find jobs as system or information analysts, and become technology and business consultants. A number of them are successful entrepreneurs with their own startups.
Of course, graduate school in informatics, human-computer interaction/design, business, computer science, or related field is a career path that some our students also choose to take after they complete the major.
We welcome students with a variety of backgrounds and interests. We have had many students join knowing how to program, and many students who did not yet know how to program. Both groups are successful in the major. Many of our students also have complementary interests in other fields and may double major or minor in biology, business, digital arts, psychology or public health, to name a few. If you have an interest in solving problems, aspire to creative thinking and have an affinity for design, informatics could be for you.
Why informatics at UC Irvine?
- Excellence. You will be part of a world-class group of faculty and staff, who have an outstanding track record of delivering innovative educational experiences in — and beyond — the classroom.
- Depth. With no fewer than fifteen courses dedicated to informatics, and many more on topics closely surrounding it, you receive an education that fully prepares you for the many challenges that will arise in your future career.
- Connections. Our alumni have gone on to study in some of the most prestigious Ph.D. programs, work for well-known, innovative organizations and found successful startups. We stay in touch with them, and can help connect you for internships that complement your studies.
- Location. Orange County has a vibrant and diverse tech industry, and is just a mere hop away from Silicon Valley.
Please see the catalogue for a detailed description of the requirements of the Informatics major.
Prospective and current UCI students interested in learning more about the informatics major are encouraged to contact our vice chair for undergraduate affairs or call our Student Affairs Office at 949-824-5156 to make an appointment or to inquire about campus visit opportunities.