The esports ecosystem at UCI

January 25, 2021

With a strong computer science and computer gaming programs, University of California, Irvine (UCI) is the premier university for gamers to thrive. Housing a League of Legends North American Collegiate Champion team, it’s very own state-of-the-art arena, and involvement with many campus departments, the university esports program is more than what meets the eye. 

Funding from corporate sponsorships, the Samueli Foundation, and other sources, allow the UCI esports program to provide scholarships. 

“We work with a lot of the different schools on campus, like informatics, computer science, and media broadcast,” assistant director Kathy Chiang said. “We want to make sure we’re able to connect them to our students, ours student body, industry leaders, and anyone else.”

Furthermore, the UCI esports program frequently works with researchers in UCI’s schools of health and biological sciences, recently providing health and wellness scholarships to support undergraduate and graduate researchers in sports psychology and similar fields to study gamers’ health. 

“Being a player is the most visible role in the program,  but we have about 70 students working in other roles,” Chiang said. “Many of our student opportunities have a big impact on life after graduation and have a direct benefit for students that are interested in the gaming industry. So while students focus a lot on the scholarships and competitive teams, there’s obviously a lot going around.”

The UCI esports program has paid roles for managers, coaches, and graphic designers. Furthermore, the program houses paid internships for students to develop administrative and professional skills while they’re with the UCI esports program – journalists, streamers, artists, web developers and analysts, just to name a few. Additionally, the UCI esports program connects students to careers with career panels and resume workshops to ensure students are ready for the workforce.

With a 3,500 square foot esports arena, UCI provides opportunities for gamers all around Irvine. Structured like a typical PC cafe, the esports arena previously hosted tournaments and camps, like Girls in Gaming and bootcamps.

For more info on UCI esports, visit

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