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M.S. Informatics

Information technology is transforming the world around us, from electronic medical records, to games for learning and social change, from information systems that help us live together more sustainably to devices and applications that allow us to track the body in unprecedented ways. The M.S. program in informatics at UC Irvine helps position students to understand the relationship between people and computing: How do existing technologies shape human behavior, society and culture, and how can we design future technologies to better serve humanity?

The M.S. in Informatics is a heavily research oriented program aimed at students with bachelor’s degrees in a variety of disciplines (e.g. computer science, social science, the arts) who may or may not have been been part of the full time workforce already. In particular, this program is aimed toward students who seek to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between people and technology. While not all M.S. students will choose to do a Ph.D. following their Master’s, the research focus of this program makes it ideal for those considering a Ph.D. (such as our Ph.D. Informatics program).

For students interested in pursuing a professionally-oriented degree, looking to find a position or advance their careers within a corporate context, and working directly with industry mentors and clients around questions of user experience and design, we encourage you to consider our MHCID program.

The research oriented M.S. in Informatics is organized around a set of core courses that introduces the fundamentals of informatics, followed by a broader range of potential elective courses through which students can choose to focus their learning. Throughout, students are exposed to the theory, tools, methods, approaches and practicalities of informatics research, 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 in the form of papers that may be developed into scholarly publications.

Most students in this program write a Master’s thesis to explore a particular research topic in depth. For two (or more if you wish) quarters, students writing theses will join a research group, contribute to a research project, and write a thesis summarizing your efforts. There is an alternate pathway in which students take a comprehensive examination instead of completing a thesis. 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 continue to a world-class PhD program, become a user-experience researcher or project manager, or pursue many other possibilities, 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).