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FAQ's


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Q: Do you have any students or graduates in my country?


A: As the programme is conducted by distance learning (with annual exams and labs in Dublin), it facilitates people from many countries to study. Over the past 8 years, people from 47 countries have participated in the courses. Therefore, you will probably find a graduate or current student nearby who you can talk to. One of the unique aspects of the UCD MSc, is this international student and alumni cohort, giving you useful international contacts.



Q: What support do you give students during the course?


A: Through our well-used online discussion forums, your fellow students may be able to answer your question faster than a lecturer. Typically, if you ask a question in a forum, if the tutor / lecturer cannot help you, there are 20 or 30 students who can. Other students may have more experience than you and can help you solve problems. It helps to have a colleague on the course with you, but we can also find you a mentor among our graduate community.



Q: What equipment and software do you need to do the course? Is a Mac OK?


A: Any Mac or PC computer purchased within the last 4 or so years will be sufficient for the course. Our supported Operating Systems are Windows XP/Vista/7/8, OSX and Linux. All software required for the course is provided. Of course you need Internet access (wired or wireless). UCD students have free access to a range of desktop software to download.



Q: How does the distance learning work?


A: The MSc programmes can be taken part time over 2 years or full time over one year. Most people opt to study part time, in which case it is going to take on average 15 hours a week, although you have some flexibility about when and where you do this. There are regular (e.g. weekly) assignments and deadlines, so it is not completely self-paced.



Q: How much does it cost?


A: General information on fees is available on our Fees page. Please note that as students are required to attend examinations / workshops once a year, they should also budget for travel and accommodation costs. The annual fees for the MSc / Diploma / Certificate programmes can either be paid in a single payment on commencement, or in three instalments over the academic year (e.g. September / January / May ).



Q: Do I have enough IT education and experience to do the MSc in FCCI?

A: As you can see under "entry requirements" we take each case on its own merits. It is not a requirement to have a primary IT degree, but if you do not, we do look for a combination of some years law enforcement work experience and training. In cases where the applicant does not have enough experience and/or qualifications to enter the MSc programme, they can start by taking the individual core modules, taken one by one as CPD (Continuing Professional Development). This way they can prove their readiness for the MSc programme.

The most important entry criteria for this programme is to be currently employed within law enforcement. Once this is satisfied, each applicant is assessed on a case-by-case basis. A typical successful candidate is likely to have either an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or substantial professional experience in law enforcement (9 years +). However, as all candidates are individually assessed, it is still worth applying even if you don’t meet the exact requirements. The Course Director reviews all applications and will provide individual feedback to each applicant (please note that the entry criteria is the same for the MSc / Dip / Cert, therefore most applicants apply to the MSc level).

Should the Course Director feel that you do not currently meet the criteria for entry to the MSc programme, he may suggest an alternative entry route to the FCCI programme (via CPD). The CPD programme is available to all members of law enforcement, and does not have the same level of entry requirements. The CPD programme allows students to take individual modules from the FCCI programme, one at a time. This may allow students to build an academic background, that may then be used to meet the entry criteria for the MSc programme. However, this would need to be agreed with the Course Director in advance and he may set specific results etc., that would need to be attained.



Q: I am not in law enforcement. Can I still do the MSc in FCCI?


A: The UCD Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation programme (FCCI) is a restricted course, which is only open to members of a law enforcement organisation (e.g. police, defence forces, government agencies). However, the UCD Centre for Cybersecurity & Cybercrime Investigation offers another MSc programme in the same subject area, called the UCD MSc in Digital Investigation & Forensic Computing (MSc DIFC), which you may be interested in. General information is available at: www.ucd.ie/cci//education/prospective_students/msc_difc.html.
The UCD MSc Digital Investigation & Forensic Computing is aimed at computer investigators in the commercial sector, and it is currently open for applications.



Q: What is the application process?


A: As you can see from our webpage (www.ucd.ie/cci//education/prospective_students/fcci_programmes/msc_fcci.html), the first stage is for you to submit your application for this programme. This can be completed online at www.ucd.ie/registry/admissions/apply.html. Once you have completed this application, you will be asked to pay an application fee (€50), and upload supporting documents - including evidence that you are a member of law enforcement (if applying for the MSc in FCCI) and any transcripts from university level.

The next stage will take place when these applications are downloaded from the UCD system, after which we process them here in the Centre (this takes place on a rolling basis). Once this process begins, you will receive an email from us acknowledging your application, and possibly requesting additional information (your referees will also be contacted at this point). Once we have received all references, documents and information requested, your application will be complete and ready for review.

The final stage will take place when the Course Director reviews all of the applications received. Once your application has been reviewed, you will then be contacted about the outcome via email. If you are offered a place on the MSc programme, you will then be asked to register as a UCD student (including paying fees and selecting modules) and invited to attend an optional welcome session here at the start of the Semester (either in person or online).



Q: What standing does your Masters qualification have with industry?


A: UCD has been involved in cyber crime investigation and forensic computing research and education for 15 years, offering formal masters programmes for 8 years. Over 300 law enforcement officers have participated in our LE programme, which is one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the world. The fact that the programme is focused on the needs of law enforcement and is available through a proven distance-learning format, means that we have had participants from 47 countries. The graduate feedback is excellent and most new students have been recommended the course by a colleague. The industry programme is newer but gaining a strong reputation. We are constantly in touch with consultancies, banks, industry and law enforcement at national, European and international levels, where there is a strong interest in recruiting our graduates into information security roles.



Q: Is my English good enough?


A: Students are required to fulfill UCD’s English Language Requirements.

You can improve your English with a short English language course with UCD before you start your Masters. This is called the "Pre-Sessional Course" and it is held in the UCD Applied Language Centre. The UCD Applied Language Centre provides a range of programmes for students whose first language is not English, who wish to improve their English before commencing an undergraduate or graduate programme in UCD, or another Irish university. Applications are welcome from students who require an intensive period of English language preparation to meet university entry requirements, or who have already met the conditions of entry but wish to improve their proficiency.

Course Aims
Specifically our courses aim to:

  • improve language proficiency
  • develop study and communication skills for effective learning through English
  • build confidence and prepare students for independent learning
  • provide an introduction to Irish culture and university life

For more information contact:

UCD Applied Language Centre
Daedalus Building
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
T: +353 1 716 7900
F: +353 1 716 1188
E: presessional@alc.ucd.ie
W: www.ucd.ie/alc



Q: How much work is involved in the MSc?


A: The amount of work required relates to the number of credits.
There is some useful information here
www.ucd.ie/registry/academicsecretariat/asug/modulesandcredits/

To paraphrase:
One credit represents 25-30 hours of total student effort.
Therefore, a 10-credit module represents 250-300 hours of student effort.

Student effort is defined as all the time you spend on a module, including:
- Lecture / tutorial / seminar / laboratory contact hours
- Work required on assignments and projects
- Time spent in independent study or research
- Time spent studying for and taking assessments
- Any additional time and effort expected of a student registered to that module

So if you do the MSc over 2 years, expect to spend 20 hours per week on it!



Q: When you study part-time over two years, how many modules do you study at     the same time?


A: You need to accumulate 90 credits for the MSc in Forensic Computing & Cybercrime Investigation. The dissertation is 30 credits, so you would take 60 credits from the teaching modules (13 modules available). Most modules are 10 credits, so you will most probably take 6 modules.
The module schedule is here: www.ucd.ie/cci/education/prospective_students/fcci_programmes/msc_fcci/modules_available.html

It is flexible, but your study schedule could be like this example:
Year One Semester One
Computer Forensics (10 credits)
Network Investigations (10 credits)

Year One Semester Two
Programming for Investigators (10 credits)
VoIP and Wireless Investigations (10 credits)

Year One Semester Three
Revision and start Research Project (Dissertation) (30 credits)

Year Two Semester One
Hacking and Malware Investigations (10 credits)
Mobile Phone Forensics (5 credits)
Continue Dissertation

Year Two Semester Two
Investigations of Sexual Abuse of Children on the Internet (5 credits)
Continue Dissertation

Year Two Semester Three
Complete Dissertation

This way, you will have accumulated 90 credits by the end of the programme.



Q: How much attendance is required in Dublin to complete the MSc in FCCI?


A: Lectures are pre-recorded and provided online via a virtual online learning environment. Students are required to come to Dublin (or another exam centre in Madison, USA or Apeldoorn, The Netherlands) to complete examinations and workshops in May/June each year. The exams are held over a 2 week period.

We hold optional exam sessions in Dublin in December each year for our semester one modules.

There are a few factors which will influence the number of days /likely time spent in Dublin and total number of trips:

1. Whether you do a dissertation or not
For the MSc, you can do 60 credits from the taught modules and a 30 credit dissertation. However, you don't have to do the dissertation and many people accumulate the required 90 credits by doing just taught modules. If you do this, you will need to take more exams as there is one exam per module, with each exam on a different day.

2. Which modules you select and the exam timetable
If you select modules which fall at the start and end of the 2 week exam schedule, then you would either stay here and revise between them or go home and come back. Most people get away with 4 or 5 days in June each year (assuming they are studying part time over 2 years).

3. Whether you attend the optional December exam session for Semester 1 modules
Some people prefer to take the exams immediately after the study semester, although many wait until June.

4. Full time or Part time student
If you study part-time over 2 years (as do 95% of students), at the least you will make 2 trips to Dublin, each time staying here for a minimum of 3 days in June. More probable is a stay of a week each time. A full time student will require a stay of approx. 10 days.

The modules in their semesters are listed here www.ucd.ie/cci/education/prospective_students/fcci_programmes/msc_fcci/modules_available.html




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