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UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) recently gave a warm welcome to more than 1,500 new students — its largest class yet! The bulk of the incoming cohort is the roughly 1,155 undergraduate students, with around 815 first-year and 340 transfer students. ICS also welcomed more than 400 students into its esteemed graduate research and professional programs.

At the new student orientation, Dean Marios Papaefthymiou was excited to greet everyone. “It’s great to have you here,” he said. “It’s the largest class we’ve ever had in Information and Computer Sciences, so we’re really excited!”

An large empty room with UCI ICS t-shirts draped over rows and rows of chairs.
At the first-year orientation, each student found a UCI ICS T-shirt draped over a chair.

Graduate Research and Professional Programs
Graduate students attended an open house breakfast in the outdoor quad of the Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Building on Sept. 25, 2023. They got to know one another and were able to speak with Madhu Reddy, the associate dean for graduate affairs.

They also met with staff from the Graduate Student Affairs office, which is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday (and remotely on Fridays). Walk in, in-person, and/or zoom appointments are available daily from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

The graduate student cohort includes roughly 100 master’s and 70 Ph.D. students, spread across research programs in computer science, informatics, networked systems, software engineering and statistics. The cohort also includes 241 professional master’s students in the following programs: master of computer science (MCS), master of data science (MDS), master of human-computer interaction and design (MHCID), master of software engineering (MSWE), and master of embedded and cyber-physical systems (MECPS — a joint program with the School of Engineering).

This select group of students was admitted from more than 6,000 applications.

New Undergraduate Students
The undergraduate students attended their welcome session on Sept. 26, 2023, in a more traditional campus setting with transfer students gathering in a lecture hall and first-year students meeting in the UCI Student Center.

“We are looking forward to watching this cohort tackle their goals and take advantage of all that ICS and UCI have to offer,” says Neha Rawal, director of Undergraduate Student Affairs in ICS. At the orientation sessions, students learned all about such offerings, including the wide variety of ICS undergraduate student organizations.

In fact, Dean Marios referred to ICS as a “candy store” of offerings. “Academics is obviously a priority, but you will be really remiss if you [don’t] take advantage of all these things happening outside the classroom,” he said to students, also highlighting the upcoming ICS Industry Showcase on Oct. 10-11. “It’s never too early to talk to recruiters!” he stressed. He also suggested joining the Butterworth Product Development Competition or, for students more interested in research, applying for the ICS Honors Program. Students can also visit UCI’s Division of Career Pathways (DCP) for various professional development activities.

Students sitting in a student center ballroom, with Dean Marios at the front of the room holding up the UCI ICS t-shirt.
Dean Marios Papaefthymiou welcomes first-year students to the School of ICS, holding up the UCI ICS T-shirt each student received.

Dean Marios also told students to prepare to be challenged and praised them for their ability to succeed: “You were not selected to be one out of the 20,000 people who applied just because!” However, he reminded them they’re not alone if they start to feel overwhelmed. “Seek the help of instructors … they’re there for you,” he said. “Take advantage of our staff. The Student Affairs Office is dedicated 100% to helping you.” (See the SAO drop-in and live chat advising schedule.) He also advised students to take care of themselves. “Sleep well, eat well and exercise. This is so unbelievably basic, you don’t realize it,” he said, “but it will be enormously helpful.” (Students can also learn more about UCI student wellness and health promotion online.)

After driving home the message of campus engagement and student wellbeing, Dean Marios wrapped up his welcome: “I wish you all the best during your time at UCI ICS!”

— Shani Murray

UCI was recently ranked 10th among the nation’s public universities and 12th for social mobility. It ranked seventh for game/simulation development, ninth for software engineering and 27th for computer science. “U.S. News & World Report has reaffirmed UCI’s overall excellence by ranking us among the nation’s top 10 public universities,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “This accolade reflects the unwavering commitment and excellence of our distinguished faculty, outstanding staff and talented students.”