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Ph.D. Informatics

A new app assisting kids with autism spectrum disorder. New insights on creativity and how it develops in tech startups in the U.S. and abroad. New techniques for balancing privacy versus personalization in web apps. New lessons about the impact of multitasking on our health. A new tool that helps people design sustainable gardens.

These are just some examples of the wide variety of projects being worked on by current Ph.D. students in the Informatics Ph.D. program at UC Irvine.

With information technology redefining our personal and work lives everywhere, it is critical that it be designed to fit human needs and capabilities. Whether in medicine, entertainment, science, education, environmental sustainability, family life or crisis management, much work needs to be done to improve our understanding of the role information technology can play, how it should be designed, and what its true impact really can be.

The Informatics Ph.D. program offers students the opportunity to study all aspects of living, working and building in a digital world, including: developing an understanding of human needs by going into the field; designing new technology; putting technology to use in laboratory experiments and trial deployment; or devising theories about information technology and its role in society. With one of the largest and most diverse faculty in the world dedicated to the topic of informatics, the program offers opportunities for everyone, whether you prefer to work directly with people, are more technically inclined, or both.

A strong core of classes introduces students to classic material and recent innovations. At the same time, we focus on research from the beginning. New students are encouraged to work with multiple faculty members in their first two years to gain a broad exposure to the many aspects of informatics. It is crucial for early-career scholars to become familiar with the varied nature of research, write papers, attend conferences and begin to be a part of the broader community. The focus on research continues throughout, with an emphasis on publishing novel results in the appropriate venues in order to help students position themselves well for the competitive job market.

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 publishing innovative and impactful research.
  • Placement. We prepare our students for rich, fulfilling careers — as faculty members in academia, researchers at corporate research labs, entrepreneurs starting their own businesses, and policy makers leading strategic thought about information technologies in government.
  • Support. You join a team that strongly believes that working together is essential to progress. Whether within a research group or across groups, we encourage you to seek advice from, and work with, other faculty members and students.
  • Connections. We host a steady stream of visitors from all over the world to whom you get to talk, demo and present. Moreover, we help connect you with research labs and industry for internships that complement your research.
  • 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 research.


We are always looking for talented students to join! To learn more about our work and accomplishments, we encourage you to explore this website, as well as the websites of the many 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 Ph.D. program.