Academic research in the informatics area can be found in a number of disciplines such as computer science, information technology, Information and Computer Science, information system, business information management and health informatics.
In France, the first degree level qualifications in Informatics (computer science) appeared in the mid-1960s.
In English-speaking countries, the first example of a degree level qualification in Informatics occurred in 1982 when Plymouth Polytechnic (now the University of Plymouth) offered a four-year BSc(Honours) degree in Computing and Informatics – with an initial intake of only 35 students. The course still runs today making it the longest available qualification in the subject.
At the Indiana University School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering (Bloomington, Indianapolis and Southeast), informatics is defined as "the art, science and human dimensions of information technology" and "the study, application, and social consequences of technology." It is also defined in Informatics 101, Introduction to Informatics as "the application of information technology to the arts, sciences, and professions." These definitions are widely accepted in the United States, and differ from British usage in omitting the study of natural computation.
Texas Woman's University places its informatics degrees in its department of Mathematics and Computer Science within the College of Arts & Sciences, though it offers interdisciplinary Health Informatics degrees. Informatics is presented in a generalist framework, as evidenced by their definition of informatics ("Using technology and data analytics to derive meaningful information from data for data and decision driven practice in user centered systems"), though TWU is also known for its nursing and health informatics programs.
At the University of California, Irvine Department of Informatics, informatics is defined as "the interdisciplinary study of the design, application, use and impact of information technology. The discipline of informatics is based on the recognition that the design of this technology is not solely a technical matter, but must focus on the relationship between the technology and its use in real-world settings. That is, informatics designs solutions in context, and takes into account the social, cultural and organizational settings in which computing and information technology will be used."
At the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Informatics interdisciplinary major, informatics is defined as "the study of information and the ways information is used by and affects human beings and social systems. The major involves coursework from the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, where the Informatics major is housed, as well as the School of Information and the College of Engineering. Key to this growing field is that it applies both technological and social perspectives to the study of information. Michigan's interdisciplinary approach to teaching Informatics gives a solid grounding in contemporary computer programming, mathematics, and statistics, combined with study of the ethical and social science aspects of complex information systems. Experts in the field help design new information technology tools for specific scientific, business, and cultural needs." Michigan offers four curricular tracks within the informatics degree to provide students with increased expertise. These four track topics include:
Internet Informatics: An applied track in which students experiment with technologies behind Internet-based information systems and acquire skills to map problems to deployable Internet-based solutions. This track will replace Computational Informatics in Fall 2013.
Data Mining & Information Analysis: Integrates the collection, analysis, and visualization of complex data and its critical role in research, business, and government to provide students with practical skills and a theoretical basis for approaching challenging data analysis problems.
Life Science Informatics: Examines artificial information systems, which has helped scientists make great progress in identifying core components of organisms and ecosystems.
Social Computing: Advances in computing have created opportunities for studying patterns of social interaction and developing systems that act as introducers, recommenders, coordinators, and record-keepers. Students, in this track, craft, evaluate, and refine social software computer applications for engaging technology in unique social contexts. This track will be phased out in Fall 2013 in favor of the new bachelor of science in information. This will be the first undergraduate degree offered by the School of Information since its founding in 1996. The School of Information already contains a Master's program, Doctorate program, and a professional master's program in conjunction with the School of Public Health. The BS in Information at the University of Michigan will be the first curriculum program of its kind in the United States, with the first graduating class to emerge in 2015. Students will be able to apply for this unique degree in 2013 for the 2014 Fall semester; the new degree will be a stem off of the most popular Social Computing track in the current Informatics interdisciplinary major in LSA. Applications will be open to upper-classmen, juniors and seniors, along with a variety of information classes available for first and second year students to gauge interest and value in the specific sector of study. The degree was approved by the University on June 11, 2012. Along with a new degree in the School of Information, there has also been the first and only chapter of an Informatics Professional Fraternity, Kappa Theta Pi, chartered in Fall 2012.
At the University of Washington, Seattle Informatics Undergraduate Program, Informatics is an undergraduate program offered by the Information School. Bachelor of Science in Informatics is described as " program that focuses on computer systems from a user-centered perspective and studies the structure, behavior and interactions of natural and artificial systems that store, process and communicate information. Includes instruction in information sciences, human computer interaction, information system analysis and design, telecommunications structure and information architecture and management." Washington offers three degree options as well as a custom track.
Data Science Option: Data Science is an emerging interdisciplinary field that works to extract knowledge or insight from data. It combines fields such as information science, computer science, statistics, design, and social science.
Human-Computer Interaction: The iSchool’s work in human-computer interaction (HCI) strives to make information and computing useful, usable, and accessible to all. The Informatics HCI option allows one to blend your technical skills and expertise with a broader perspective on how design and development work impacts users. Courses explore the design, construction, and evaluation of interactive technologies for use by individuals, groups, and organizations, and the social implications of these systems. This work encompasses user interfaces, accessibility concerns, new design techniques and methods for interactive systems and collaboration. Coursework also examines the values implicit in the design and development of technology.
Information Architecture: Information architecture (IA) is a crucial component in the development of successful Web sites, software, intranets, and online communities. Architects structure the underlying information and its presentation in a logical and intuitive way so that people can put information to use. As an Informatics major with an IA option, one will master the skills needed to organize and label information for improved navigation and search. One will build frameworks to effectively collect, store and deliver information. One will also learn to design the databases and XML storehouses that drive complex and interactive websites, including the navigation, content layout, personalization, and transactional features of the site.
Information Assurance and Cybersecurity: Information Assurance and Cybersecurity (IAC) is the practice of creating and managing safe and secure systems. It is crucial for organizations public and private, large and small. In the IAC option, one will be equipped with the knowledge to create, deploy, use, and manage systems that preserve individual and organizational privacy and security. This tri-campus concentration leverages the strengths of the Information School, the Computing and Software Systems program at UW Bothell, and the Institute of Technology at UW Tacoma. After a course in the technical, policy, and management foundations of IAC, one may take electives at any campus to learn such specialties as information assurance policy, secure coding, or networking and systems administration.
Custom (Student-Designed Concentration): Students may choose to develop their own concentration, with approval from the academic adviser. Student-designed concentrations are created out of a list of approved courses and also result in the Bachelor of Science degree.