MSc in Forensic Computing
I am interested in doing a part time MSc in Forensic Computing and I was wondering if anybody had any experiences which they would share on the various establishments providing this course.
I am interested to know where people may have studied and whether or not the course and content was good etc. Really any information which you may feel is useful to consider when deciding where to do the program I would be very much interested to hear.
Thanks in advance for your time and answers.
Hey Colin, I’m on the verge of completing my Msc in Computer forensics at Uni Glamorgan…Just got the project to complete.. ..I have enjoyed the course and its content and luckily it’s been updated this September to offer more forensic content..
The modules I studied were; security management, network security, independent study, computer forensics, computer law, project management and research methodologies and finally the project…
Security management This module focused on computer security management principles, policies, techniques and gave a nice overview into ISO's and the challenges within security and businesses…Nice content and plenty of group discussion on a variety of topics.
Network Security A technical networking module focusing on network security techniques such as port scanning and man in the middle attacks. This module offered tutorials in which we got the chance to try the techniques learnt within a virtual network, which was nice.
Independent Study A module aimed on individual learning; basically we were assigned a supervisor to produce a journal article. Didn’t really like this module as I felt it could have been used for something more interesting. However it seems the updated course has removed this issue. For those interested I selected the digital economy act and its effect on digital privacy.
Computer Forensics The main forensic module and one I wished didn’t end!. The lecture covered a wide range of topics followed by a tutorial to play around with the tools. The main forensic software package used at the university was FTK with each week we got the chance to play around and complete mock scenarios to build our skills with the package. At the end of the MSC course you will get a chance to get certified with the tool, which was a nice freebie!. The taught content was taken by two great lecturers, who would always give us some little nugget of personal experience relating to the topic being lectured. The topics covered included; ACPO & DoJ guidelines, evidential integrity, evidence logs, digital crime scene considerations, tool testing and OSS tools, Malware forensics, Windows artefacts, iPhone Forensics, Windows Operating Systems, File systems-Linux, forensic artefacts Mac, Damaged Hard drive media, CD and DVD, Data carving tools and techniques, court practice and procedure, and finally the Trojan defence. The module also involved a full mock investigation, which ended with a mock court session, within the universities law department replica court and an iPhone investigation as an assignment, which was a lot of fun. Overall this module gave the basics on computer forensics as well as plenty of time to gets to grips with FTK and mock investigations.
Computer Law The next relevant module in relation to computer forensics was computer law. This module was taken by the law department and was more aimed on law students than forensic students but it did provide a great insight into the England and Wales legal system covering a wide variety of computer related legislation, cases and topics.
Project Management and Research methodologies This module provided the necessary skills in preparation for the project and was helpful but could have been reduced to a short project preparation class and being replaced with more forensic content.
Overall I enjoyed my course, but did feel it lacked computer forensic material. However, as mentioned above the course has been completely changed for September and offer new content and modules, which include Computer Forensics and Crime Investigation, Forensics Techniques and Data Recovery and Forensic Audit and Accounting. It seems that the course will offer students the chance to pick some optional modules in replace of the lesser forensic related ones offered during my time.
Looking at the universities module and program database the new MSC computer forensics course in September will include the project as the main core module with the other modules offered as optional or recommended, allowing you to pick what modules you want to study. The recommended modules include the previous computer law, independent study, security management, project management and research methodologies and a new forensic module Computer Forensics and Crime Investigation. The optional modules offered are Forensic Audit and Accounting, Postgraduate Project Management and Research Methods, Forensics Techniques and Data Recovery and finally Network Security. I’m unsure on what modules can be selected but since more forensic stuff has been added it seems like they are taking a step in the right direction.
For those interested, I managed to get the module overview on the new forensic content and have given a small overview below;
Computer Forensics and Crime Investigation An updated version of the computer forensic module I undertook. This takes most of the content but adds new stuff such as network forensics and cryptographic techniques.
Forensics Techniques and Data Recovery The university forensic staff have a huge amount of experience within data recovery, including their own lab. This module will probably focus on data recovery and the different tools and techniques employed by examiners.
Forensic Audit and Accounting I believe this will focus on forensic accounting and auditing techniques and principles. The university offers forensic accounting as a master’s degree so it’s nice that they are allowing the option for non-forensic accounting master students the opportunity to learn this niche within forensics.
Overall I enjoyed my time at Uni glam and have learnt alot on computer forensics and computer security. I was a little gutted about the course only featured two forensic modules, however it seems the university have tackled this issue by updating the course for September and adding new forensic content and modules…Good luck and I hope this information is helpful!
@OP What you did not mention was how you would like to pursue this degree - in person at a B&M University or via online / distance education. Also, would you like to stick within Europe or extend your choice to the U.S.A. as well?
Thanks very much for the comprehensive response. I had seen a number of people reading this thread but no responses for a while. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to respond in such detail about the course which you took.
My apologies as I didn't mention the method in which I would like to study the course. I am interested in completing this through distance education with weeks attending on campus etc where required. I would be wanting to study within the UK and am just trying to get a feel for what other peoples experiences have been.
good info welshwaynejack, keep it up
I would also be interested in distance learning for a MSc. Does anyone know what the options are in the way of universities or institutes that offer such courses?
I am to looking for a university in Europe that offers MSc. Computer Forensics or anything along those lines, but I do not know which one is highly recognized. I looked at De Montfort University which offers Professional Practice in Digital forensics and Security MSc/PG Dip/PG Cert , which is linked with 7safe, and also University of Derby MSc. Computer Forensics Investigation. Can anyone help me decide which one is better.
The Dublin course has a good reputation, and is distance learning which is good for fitting in with work.
I know that DMU course is devised and delivered by two old Cranfield Uni guys that have extensive LE and research experience, not sure on the credentials of Derby, Cranfield is considered the 'hardest' and not for the feint hearted but if you take your career seriously, might spare a few sleepless nights before appearing in the box.
IMO distance learning leaves little room to differentiate between the quality of the course in comparison to if you attend.
The top three i would suggest would be (no particular order)
Again, my experience is that reputation is extremely important in this field and that starts with your education. One of the first things you will put on your statement and asked when appearing at court will be your education/quals.
hope this helps.