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MSc in Digital Investigation & Forensic Computing


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This programme is not accepting new students in 2019.

Would you like to be able to analyze a cyber attack, or reverse engineer malware?

Would you like to know how to process a crime scene, interrogate suspects and witnesses, and prepare a statement for court? Would you like to be able to perform electronic discovery of documents, investigate spear phishing, intellectual property theft, blackmail, defamation, fraud and various other forms of corporate misconduct where crucial evidence exists in digital form?  If your answer is "yes", then this MSc program will give you the knowledge, skills, and practice.

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The programme is for students with a background in computer science, information technology, or a related discipline. It covers all aspects of digital investigations from legislation and crime scene processing to digital forensics, reverse engineering, and forensic reporting. Students also learn how to prevent re-occurrence of incidents by applying appropriate information security countermeasures. The information security component covers key technical elements of modern network security technology, information security management, and penetration testing. The programme can be used to up-skill or to reorient a technical career.

It introduces concepts, principles, and professional practice in digital investigation. The programme is delivered in cooperation with leading experts. The training is delivered at UCD and is simultaneously made available online. Annual examination sessions are held at University College Dublin.

Download the Brochure here


arrow Duration

This programme is available on either a full time (1 year) or part time (2 years) basis using distance learning techniques.

arrow Programme Structure

Two Years Distance Learning Part Time option (F021)

Every aspect of the part-time programme is designed to facilitate distance-learning education by working professionals. All lectures and practical sessions are broadcast and recorded for later study. There are 4 hours of lectures on Tuesday evenings (GMT) during term time in Year 1, switching to Wednesday evenings in Year 2. There are 4 hours of practical sessions on Thursday evenings. All learning materials are accessible online via UCD's course management system that includes discussion forums and means to submit coursework for assessment. The programme includes an engaging mix of learning sessions, hands-on labs, case studies, tool demonstrations and in-depth discussions.


Distance-learning students are required to come to Ireland only twice during the programme - one week at end of April in Year 1 (for exams) and one weekend in February in Year 1 (for hands-on crime scene workshop). In addition your coursework will be assessed using a variety of methods including group and individual assignments, written exams and graded online presentations via teleconferencing.

Facilities and Resources

Students perform self-study assignments during the year, using their personal computers and UCD's online computer lab. They have access to a Virtual Crime Scene Simulator and the loan of forensic equipment as needed.

One Year Full Time option (F020)

The programme starts in September and finishes in August the following year. Students attend lectures and practical sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays during the Autumn and Spring semesters. Some hands-on workshops are delivered on weekends. A Digital investigation Project occupies the entire summer semester from the middle of May to the middle of August. Besides coursework, students benefit from a monthly Digital Forensics Seminar Series and optional visits to the Irish law courts to better understand the litigation process, and the role and responsibilities of expert witnesses. A limited number of industrial internships are available each year to suitable candidates upon successful completion of the programme.


Your coursework will be assessed using a variety of methods including group and individual assignments, written exams and graded presentations.

Facilities and Resources

Students perform self-study assignments during the year, using their personal computers and UCD's online computer lab. They have access to a Virtual Crime Scene Simulator and the loan of forensic equipment as needed.

arrow Programme Outcomes

On successful completion of the programme students will be able to:

1. Perform forensic analysis of a personal computer running windows operating system

2. Understand legal issues in keeping information secure when conducting investigations

3. Understand the role and the use of digital evidence in litigation

4. Prepare investigation reports and court testimony

5. Analyse user activity in windows os

6. Use crime scene search techniques, handle evidence and interview witnesses

7. Prepare investigative reports and court testimony

8. Perform investigations into misuse of IT in a corporate environment including cloud forensics, e-discovery and server forensics

9. Investigate crime against computer systems including malware

10. Deploy information security mechanisms

11. Conduct independent research, develop novel ideas (e.g. in the form of novel techniques, tools, policies, etc. as appropriate to the chosen topic) and convey the knowledge discovered to colleagues

12. perform reverse engineering of simple applications through disassembly and experimentation and use model-based reasoning to draw conclusions from the available evidence

arrow Career Opportunities

Cybercrime and identify theft are among the fastest growing crimes, yet employers cannot find people who have the right mix of skills to work in the area.

Graduates of the MSc in Digital Investigation & Forensic Computing are employed as:

  1. Project and Program managers, Operations Managers
  2. IT, Systems, Network managers
  3. Security software developers and systems architects
  4. Information security specialists, malware analysts
  5. Computer forensic investigators and security specialists
  6. Test, audit and engineering and technical specialists
  7. Experts in risk management and fraud prevention.

We currently have graduates working in

  1. Management consultancies such as Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, Accenture, KPMG & Deloitte
  2. Specialist digital forensics and eDiscovery consulting firms such as Ward Solutions, FireEye, Strotz Friedberg & Espion
  3. Law enforcement and government agencies
  4. ICT companies such as Avaya, Dell, Detica, Ericsson, Jinny Software, Microsoft, Symantec, Oracle, Version1, IBM, HP, Cisco, Wipro & SAP
  5. Banks and financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan, Bank of Ireland, Central Bank of Ireland, Pioneer Investments, Anima Asset Management, BNY Mellon, Mediolanum Asset Management & Zurich
  6. Companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Elan Pharmaceuticals, CRH & Shell

arrow Entry Requirements

  • Applicants to the UCD MSc Digital Investigation and Forensic Computing will normally be expected to have a minimum 2.1 (Second Class Honours, Grade One) level bachelor's degree in Computer Science or a related area. However, all applicants will be assessed on a case by case basis.

  • Understanding of programming concepts and familiarity with C or C++ programming will be required. This is dictated by the changing landscape of digital forensics, which necessitates deeper understanding of computing technology on the part of digital forensic specialists.

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

arrow Fees

Information on Fees is available on our Fees page.

The cost of travel and accommodation for examination/workshop trips is not included in the tuition fee.

arrow How to apply

All applications must be submitted via the UCD Online Applications system at: www.ucd.ie/registry/admissions/apply.html.

Once you click on this link, you will be brought to the UCD Online Applications website. You will be required to complete the application form by providing your personal information, and then selecting which course you wish to apply to. If you are unsure about which options to select, instructions on how to complete the form can be found by clicking the following link: Completing the UCD Online Application form.

Applications for September 2017 are now OPEN

arrow General Queries

For additional information and queries please contact the UCD Centre for Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation at:

Telephone:   +353 1 716 2948

Email:            cci.info@ucd.ie

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