Forensic Computing MSc | 2017/18
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Forensic Computing MSc 2017/18 entry

Course code:

ECT090

Study options:

1 year full-time

 

Location:

Coventry University

Starting:

January 2018
May 2018

Fees:
Faculty:

Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:


+44 (0) 24 7765 2152


Overview

Forensic Computing is not only being used to solve crimes, such as computer hacking, child pornography, terrorism, tax evasion and drug smuggling, but is also increasingly being used to recover lost, fragmented and deleted information in a modern world now dominated by Big Data and cloud storage.

Accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS), this Master’s degree aims to address the legislative, technical and practical issues for those engaged in digital data, mobile and network forensic investigations. 

Coventry offers facilities that enable you to develop an understanding of essential hardware and commercial software systems, formats, protocols and standards. Our graduates can be found working in industry, law enforcement, intelligence and security, for organisations like GCHQ.

Why Coventry University?

An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.

Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

Employability

Career-ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Student experience

All the support you need, in a top student city

Accreditation & Professional Recognition

This course is accredited and recognised by the following bodies:

British Computer Society (BCS)

Accredited by the British Computer Society and fully meeting the academic requirements to become a Chartered Information Technology Professional (CITP) and partially meets the educational requirements for Chartered Scientist (CSi) and Chartered Engineer (CEng) registration upon graduation.

What our students say...

“After a number of years in industry and military intelligence, I decided to invest in myself and gain a qualification in digital forensics. The course offered a breadth of study, access to software and practically based teaching that reflected on the relevance of the course.” 

Rene Thorup, graduated with a distincion in 2013, now Chief Information Security Officer for ASOS

Course information

The course is intended to provide a state-of-the-art view of the role of a specialist in digital forensics, developing an in-depth understanding of the relevant professional, legal and ethical issues, while developing essential technical, diagnostic and investigative skills.

 

Modules

Overview

In the first semester, you will be introduced to fundamental file structure and operating systems that enable the storage of data. We will then examine the techniques for forensically robust retrieval of computer-based information to establish factual evidence for criminal investigations in a manner admissible in a court of Law. In doing so, you should gain knowledge of skills in the recovery of evidence and the presentation of specialist reports, such as expert witness statements.

There are opportunities to gain practical experience analysing data on a wide range of digital devices, such as PCs, mobile phones, tablets, SatNav systems, game consoles and portable multimedia players, as well as local and wide area computer networks (LANs and WANs).

In the second semester, we will explore some of the threats posed to e-commerce due to security risk, considering real-life case studies, such as the forensic implications of meta data as in the ‘Blair.doc’ case for war in Iraq and identification of malware in multi platforms. We'll cover some of the methods used to mitigate such risks, including the practice of ethical hacking, now widely used by companies to expose flaws in online systems or networks so that they can be improved before any damage occurs in the public domain.

In your final semester, you will be expected to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you have learned by undertaking an in-depth individual project, which can be conducted working with the University’s CyberSecurity research group. Past students have undertaken projects nominated by LGC Forensics, the largest independent Forensics company in the UK, with whom the University has a formal established working relationship.

This course includes the Global Professional Development module. Each of the participating postgraduate courses have an individually tailored version of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Global Professional Development module.

Modules

  • Semester 1

    • Network Forensics 
    • Mobile Forensics 
    • Ethical Hacking
  • Semester 2

    • Forensic Computing Methods 
    • Internet and Information Security
    • Global Professional Development - Consultancy
  • Semester 3

    • Individual Project

In more detail...

  • 90% overall student satisfaction in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2016.
  • Mobile device forensics in iOS and Android utilising commercial forensic software, such as MSAB XRY.
  • High ratio of staff to students promotes strong and supportive relationships, enabling you to access teaching staff when you need.
  • Accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS), fully meets the academic requirements for registration as a Chartered IT Professional and provides partial fulfilment for Chartered Scientist and Chartered Engineer.
  • An Engineering and Computing building which features a large range of specialised computing laboratories in computer security, communications and signal processing, electrical, electronics and microprocessors, ethical hacking and forensic computing, together with a games and multimedia studio and open access computer facilities.
  • Opportunity to attend guest lecturers from current practitioners. In the last three years, speakers have included a specialist in digital forensic investigations and training, who has worked for Guidance Software, AccessData and Cellebrite, and been called upon to give expert testimony in both criminal and civil courts, in cases ranging from simple theft to murder and international terrorism.

Option to undertake Accredited Certified Examiner (ACE) training in digital forensics, one of the two main forensic software certifications recognised within the industry.

Your main study themes are:

  • Forensic computing: We’ll explore the world of digital forensic methods, including digital evidence, computer forensic investigation methodology, file systems essentials, data acquisition and forensic examination of computer systems. Professional issues relevant to the social, legal and ethical context of digital investigation will be considered. You will use open source and commercial computer forensic tools. 

  • Network forensics: We look at the tools, techniques and processes required to undertake a successful acquisition, analysis and reporting of digital artefacts recovered during a digital forensic investigation. The main topics covered will include concepts of understanding networking, data acquisition and forensic examination of network platforms.

  • Mobile device forensics: Using industry standard tools like XRY, we undertake acquisition and analysis of mobile devices. Evidential constraints and technical issues associated with this speciality are also dealt with.

  • Internet and information security: Develops an appreciation of information security concepts and an understanding of how they are applied using internet technologies. The importance of a security policy is considered and client-side, data-transmission, server and operating system security vulnerabilities are examined in-depth. Detailed coverage of various security technologies will allow you the opportunity to design secure architectures that are vital for safe electronic commerce.

  • Ethical hacking: Ethical hacking or penetration testing is a growing field of specialism within computing. Security is recognised as a crucial aspect of a company’s success and many forward-thinking companies wish to ensure that their systems are as secure as possible. To this end they employ specialists to try to find the weaknesses in their systems. We will cover some of the latest methodology of penetration testing, identifying defensive identification and incident response solutions, to provide you with practical experience in selecting and applying suitable tools and techniques.

The programme allows you to study full-time over one year or part-time over two years. You can start in September or January. 

The course is taught using an activity-led learning approach which essentially enables you to learn by doing. Lectures delivering the theory will be supported by lab-based classes and hands-on sessions where the emphasis is upon the practical elements of investigation and thorough understanding of relevant software. For example, you will identify how to develop and use forensically sound tools, such as AccessData Imager.

Where possible guest lectures will be provided from industry contacts about developments and case studies. In recent years, topics have included Mobile Device Forensics and Intrusion Detection tools. 
We host a professional certification boot camp, at an affordable price, which provides an opportunity to participate in Accredited Certified Examiner (ACE) Training in digital forensics, one of the main forensic software certifications. 

Assessment is governed by what is termed ‘constructive alignment’, which means that our assessment methods reflect those employed by the wider digital forensics industry. As such, you can expect to produce technical reports, examine evidence and undertake an in class ‘hands on’ phase test where your technical knowledge and software competence are assessed.

The learning outcomes of modules, assignments and projects will be clearly stated. The assessment will be marked on how well you achieve these learning outcomes with feedback that will refer to each outcome, as well as providing an overall percentage grade. Students are required to achieve above 40% to pass; anything above 70% is classified as ‘outstanding’. 

An estimated percentage breakdown of your final grade assessment is as follows:

  • Phase Test: 70%
  • Coursework: 30%

On the successful completion of 180 level Masters credits, awards may be made with a ‘Distinction’ or ‘Merit’, based on the achievement of an average mark of at least 70% or 60% respectively. Students may be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) if they achieve 120 credits and a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) if they achieve 60 credits.

30% assessed by coursework

On successful completion, you should have knowledge of:

  • The legal framework surrounding the use of digital devices and information.
  • Techniques and systems to ensure security and integrity of digitally-based information and related infrastructure.
  • The theoretical and practical implications of a range of current and emerging technologies applied to networked and distributed systems.
  • Techniques for stabilising and safely exploring complex and damaged computer based systems in order to retrieve information.
  • The areas of the law that affects computer use in order to assess situations and decide whether people are acting within the law.
  • The main philosophical and theoretical approaches to research methods.


On successful completion, you should be able to:

  • Understand and conceptualise a given complex problem relating to IS/IT and produce an appropriate solution.
  • Conduct a thorough and systematic analysis of a practical problem in a specialised area of forensic computing and use appropriate channels to disseminate the findings.
  • Critically evaluate a range of possible options or solutions to address a sizeable practical problem in computer science and present a soundly reasoned justification for the final recommendation.
  • Make a substantial contribution to high level implementation decisions for design and development of complex computer-based systems 
  • Provide appropriate advice about security and integrity issues for computer-based information systems and related infrastructure.

In a typical teaching week, you will have up to 12 ‘contact’ hours of teaching in lectures or laboratory work with tutorials and coaching sessions offered as needed. 

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 12-24 hours of self-directed study each week eg. directed reading, group activates and engaging in problem solving relating to digital forensic issues.

Teaching staff aim to reflect the international nature of the subject matter, having taught in different countries, including India, Nigeria, Hong Kong and Germany. The course content also reflects the global nature of cybercrime, including comparisons with scenarios from India, Canada and the EU.

Global ready

Did you know we help more students travel internationally than any other UK university according to data from the experts in higher education data and analysis, HESA?

In 2014/15, we were able to provide a total of 2,264 student experiences abroad that lasted at least five days, 73% of which were our own organised trips for undergraduates and 27% from postgraduate travel. Plus, we've been able to help more than 5,000 students spend time in other countries, from America to China, India and beyond.

Much of this travel is made possible through our Global Leaders Programme, which enables students to prepare for the challenges of the global employment market, as well as strengthening and developing their broader personal and professional skills.

Explore our international experiences

1st for

international experiences

Sending more students overseas than any other UK uni (HESA)


2,264

Student experiences

The number of student trips abroad for at least 5 days in 2014/15



12,000

and counting

The number of students we’ve helped travel internationally so far

21

global programmes

As well as trips, we offer other opportunities like language courses


What our students say...

“After a number of years in industry and military intelligence, I decided to invest in myself and gain a qualification in digital forensics. The course offered a breadth of study, access to software and practically based teaching that reflected on the relevance of the course.” 

Rene Thorup, graduated with a distincion in 2013, now Chief Information Security Officer for ASOS

Entry Requirements

To enter the course you need to have one of the following: a good Honours degree or an equivalent qualification, a relevant professional qualification of equivalent standard, e.g. BCS Professional Graduate Diploma, CEng, CIM Diploma, an unclassified degree plus at least two years further study or professional experience. 

If you have no formal qualifications but have professional business or industrial experience, we will consider your application on its merits.

To enter the course you need to have one of the following: a good Honours degree or an equivalent qualification, a relevant professional qualification of equivalent standard, e.g. BCS Professional Graduate Diploma, CEng, CIM Diploma, an unclassified degree plus at least two years further study or professional experience. 

If you have no formal qualifications but have professional business or industrial experience, we will consider your application on its merits.

English as a Foreign Language: This course requires IELTS 6.5 in all components. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

To enter the course you need to have one of the following: a good Honours degree or an equivalent qualification, a relevant professional qualification of equivalent standard, e.g. BCS Professional Graduate Diploma, CEng, CIM Diploma, an unclassified degree plus at least two years further study or professional experience. 

If you have no formal qualifications but have professional business or industrial experience, we will consider your application on its merits.

English as a Foreign Language: This course requires IELTS 6.5 in all components. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

What our students say...

“After a number of years in industry and military intelligence, I decided to invest in myself and gain a qualification in digital forensics. The course offered a breadth of study, access to software and practically based teaching that reflected on the relevance of the course.” 

Rene Thorup, graduated with a distincion in 2013, now Chief Information Security Officer for ASOS

Tuition Fees

We pride ourselves on offering competitive tuition fees which we review on an annual basis and offer a wide range of scholarships to support students with their studies. Course fees are calculated on the basis of what it costs to teach each course and we aim for total financial transparency.

Starts

Fee


January 2018

£7,374 (per year)


May 2018

£7,374 (per year)


Scholarships

If you're a truly outstanding undergraduate candidate we may be able to offer you a Coventry University Scholarship. Coventry University Scholarships are awarded to recognise truly exceptional sports achievement and academic excellence.

Starts

Fee


January 2018

£7,374 (per year)


May 2018

£7,374 (per year)


Scholarships

For the September 2017 and January 2018 intakes, we're investing £1 million into scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students.

Our scholarships are worth up to £10,000 and every student that applies will be considered. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

Starts

Fee


January 2018

£14,311 (per year)


May 2018

£14,311 (per year)


Scholarships

For the September 2017 and January 2018 intakes, we're investing £1 million into scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students.

Our scholarships are worth up to £10,000 and every student that applies will be considered. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

What our students say...

“After a number of years in industry and military intelligence, I decided to invest in myself and gain a qualification in digital forensics. The course offered a breadth of study, access to software and practically based teaching that reflected on the relevance of the course.” 

Rene Thorup, graduated with a distincion in 2013, now Chief Information Security Officer for ASOS

Career prospects

The practical nature of our course places an emphasis on your future employability and course content is constantly evolving to match the requirements of industry.

We have close contacts with forensic, security and law enforcement employers, such as LGC Forensics, who have been impressed with the calibre of previous graduates. They praise the confidence of our students and their understanding of the need for evidential sufficient and forensic robustness.

Careers in investigation, security, data integrity and recovery are all encompassed within the course. There are many potential roles for those with expertise in computer forensics, providing support for civil and criminal investigations as an expert witness or to aid in solving crimes. 

Our award-winning Faculty careers service, EC Futures, which won the ‘Best Placement Service in the UK’ award at the National Undergraduate Employability Awards in 2015 and 2016, will help you in finding work experience while you study and employment on graduation. 

Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The University’s Careers and Employability team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.

Where our graduates work

Recent graduates have gone on to careers as forensic examiners, security officers and analysts for companies and organsiations such as GCHQ, West Midlands Police, Thames Valley Police, SERCO, CCL Forensics and NIKSUN.

What our students say...

“After a number of years in industry and military intelligence, I decided to invest in myself and gain a qualification in digital forensics. The course offered a breadth of study, access to software and practically based teaching that reflected on the relevance of the course.” 

Rene Thorup, graduated with a distincion in 2013, now Chief Information Security Officer for ASOS
Disclaimer

By accepting your offer of a place with us, a Student Contract (“the Contract”) will be formed between you and the University. The Contract will detail all of your rights and also the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and will also contain all of the obligations that the University owes to you.  We would encourage you to read the Student Contract before you accept any offer of a place at the University. A copy of the Contract can be found here.