Graduate Division

Informatics MS

Section 1


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.

What Sets Us Apart?

  • 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.

Quick Facts

Program Type

Academic Master's Program

Normative Time to Degree

2 years

Capstone Type

Thesis or Comprehensive Exam

Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

Applicants are evaluated on the basis of their prior academic record and letters of reference from people either in the student's academic history or work settings. Students applying to the program may have degrees in any field, though preference is generally given to those with a technical, social science, or design background and those with work experience. All applicants are evaluated on the materials submitted: letters of recommendation, official college transcripts, and personal statement. Applicants are strongly encouraged to additionally submit either official GRE test scores or a relevant work portfolio. For more information, contact the ICS graduate counselor at 949-824-5156 or

A couple of important notes:

  • If you are a prospective M.S. student interested in being admitted to our programs, you must choose the ICS M.S. program with a concentration in Informatics. We are unlikely to see your application if you choose the Computer Science M.S. program.
  • Because of strong demand, admission to our programs is highly competitive. We pay attention to all aspects of the application package, including personal statement, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores.

Financial Support

We unfortunately are not in a position to guarantee funding to our M.S. students. Quite a few of them, however, find a spot in a research laboratory or as a teaching assistant, providing them with funding that way. We also structure our course offerings in such a way that it generally is possible to graduate within four quarters.

Tuition & Fees

Graduate/Credential Student Fees 2018-19

  Fall 2018 Winter 2019 Spring 2019 Annual
Student Services Fee 376.00 376.00 376.00 1,128.00
Tuition 3,814.00 3,814.00 3,814.00 11,442.00
Assoc. Grad Students Fee 9.00 9.00 9.00 27.00
Student Center Fee 137.88 137.88 137.87 413.63
Bren Events Center Fee 23.00 23.00 23.00 69.00
Recreation Center Fee 88.00 88.00 88.00 264.00
eTech Fee * 60.00 60.00 60.00 180.00
Document Fee † 80.00 0.00 0.00 80.00
Student Health Insurance 1,348.00 1,347.00 1,347.00 4,042.00
Total California Resident $5,795.88 $5,794.88 $5,794.87 $17,385.63
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition 5,034.00 5,034.00 5,034.00 15,102.00
Total Nonresident $10,829.88 $10,828.88 $10,828.87 $32,487.63

Posted 10 August 2018 at

The tuition, fees, and charges posted to your billing statement or account are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

The non-refundable eTech Fee is required of all students and is used to support the maintenance and improvement of existing education technology, and new services and capabilities. The eTech fee is listed separately as the charged amount varies based on the amount of undergraduate units the student is enrolled in and is assessed later in the term than the other fees listed. The fee is $4 per unit of undergraduate lecture course, up to a maximum amount of $60 (or 15 units) per quarter. It will be assessed after the third week of instruction. The $60 eTech Fee included on this chart reflects the maximum possible fee.

† The Document Fee provides lifetime access to official transcripts and academic verifications without a fee for in-person pickup or delivery by USPS. In addition, there is no fee for mailing the initial diploma. Effective Fall 2018, new undergraduate, professional, and graduate students are assessed the one-time document fee. Eligible students are able to use financial aid to cover the Document Fee.

Core Faculty

Rebecca W. Black, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Associate Professor of Informatics

Geoffrey C. Bowker, Ph.D. University of Melbourne, Chancellor's Professor of Informatics; Visual Studies (values in design, social studies of databases, science and technology studies)

Yunan Chen, Ph.D. Drexel University, Associate Professor of Informatics; Program in Public Health (medical informatics, human computer interaction)

Roderic N. Crooks, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, Assistant Professor of Informatics (science and technology studies, education technology, critical data studies, data visualization, community archives)

James P. Dourish, Ph.D. University College London, Chancellor's Professor of Informatics; Computer Science (human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work)

Daniel H. Frost, M.S. University of California, Irvine, Senior Lecturer of Computer Science; Informatics (artificial intelligence, software engineering, computer graphics, teaching of programming)

Judith Gregory, Ph.D. University of California, San Diego, Associate Adjunct Professor of Informatics (values in design, translational biomedical informatics, participatory design, design and emotion)

Gillian Hayes, Ph.D. Georgia Institute of Technology, Robert A. and Barbara L. Kleist Professor of Informatics; Education (interactive and collaborative technology, human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, educational technology, ubiquitous computing)

Mizuko Ito, Ph.D. Stanford University, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning and Professor in Residence of Anthropology; Education; Informatics (ethnography, game studies, youth culture, learning sciences, online communities)

James Jones, Ph.D. Georgia Institute of Technology, Associate Professor of Informatics (software engineering, software testing and analysis, debugging and fault localization, static and dynamic analysis, software visualization)

David G. Kay, J.D. Loyola Marymount University, Senior Lecturer Emeritus of Informatics; Computer Science (computer law, computer science education)

Cory P. Knobel, Ph.D. University of Michigan, Assistant Adjunct Professor of Informatics (interactive and collaborative technology, values in design, modes of knowledge representation, philosophy of science and technology)

Alfred Kobsa, Ph.D. University of Vienna, Professor of Informatics; Computer Science (user modeling, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, interdisciplinary computer science)

Cristina V. Lopes, Ph.D. Northeastern University, Professor of Informatics; Computer Science (programming languages, acoustic communications, operating systems, software engineering)

Gloria J. Mark, Ph.D. Columbia University, Professor of Informatics (computer-supported cooperative work, human-computer interaction)

Melissa Mazmanian, Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Associate Professor of Informatics (computer-mediated communication, organization studies, information and communication technologies in practice, social response to emerging technologies, work/non-work negotiations in the information age)

Bonnie A. Nardi, Ph.D. University of California, Irvine, Professor of Informatics (computer-supported collaborative work, human-computer interaction, computer-mediated communication, user studies methods, activity theory, cultural responses to technology development)

Emily Navarro, Ph.D. University of California, Irvine, Lecturer of Informatics

Gary Olson, Ph.D. Stanford University, Professor Emeritus of Informatics (interactive and collaborative technology, human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work)

Judith Olson, Ph.D. University of Michigan, Professor Emeritus of Informatics; Paul Merage School of Business; Urban Planning and Public Policy (interactive and collaborative technology, human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work)

Richard Pattis, M.S. Stanford University, Senior Lecturer of Computer Science; Informatics (MicroWorlds for teaching programming, debugging, computational tools for non-computer scientists)

David F. Redmiles, Ph.D. University of Colorado Boulder, Professor of Informatics (computer-supported cooperative work, human computer interaction, software engineering, globally distributed development teams, user interfaces, software tools)

Debra J. Richardson, Ph.D. University of Massachusetts, Professor Emeritus of Informatics (software engineering, program testing, life-cycle validation, software environments)

Katie Salen Tekinbaş, M.F.A. Rhode Island School of Design, Professor of Informatics (game design, connected learning design, human-computer interaction)

Kurt Squire, Ph.D. Indiana University, Professor of Informatics (video game design, games for learning, mobile technologies, civic engagement, place-based learning)

Constance Steinkuehler, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Professor of Informatics (video games for impact, game-mediated cognition and learning, online social interaction, video games and policy)

Joshua Tanenbaum, M.A. Simon Fraser University, Assistant Professor of Informatics (digital games and narrative, tangible and wearable interaction, maker and DIY culture, nonverbal communication and virtual worlds)

Richard N. Taylor, Ph.D. University of Colorado Boulder, Professor Emeritus of Informatics (software engineering, user interfaces, environments, team support)

Hadar Ziv, Ph.D. University of California, Irvine, Lecturer of Informatics (software testing, requirements engineering, Bayesian modeling)

André W. van der Hoek, Ph.D. University of Colorado Boulder, Professor of Informatics (software engineering)

Academic Data

Coming soon.

Students & Alumni

Coming soon.