MSc in Forensic Computing & Cybercrime Investigation

Award:

Masters in Science, Graduate Diploma or Certificate (NFQ Level 9)

Qualification Points:

MSc – 90 credits – equivalent to approximately 6 modules plus dissertation or research study
Graduate Diploma – 60 credits – equivalent to approximately 6 modules
Graduate Certificate – 30 credits – equivalent to approximately 3 modules
Individual modules may be taken as Continuing Professional Development

Duration: 2 years part time or 1 year full time
Start Date: September
UCD Academic Expertise:

This course is offered, delivered and supported by academics in the UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics, as well as external industry lecturers and serving law enforcement officers.

Fees:
All Fees should be confirmed by visiting UCD fees webpage.
Contact us: You can contact us by email using the form at the end of this page or by phone as follows:

Contact Name: Mr Ian Bonar
Contact Number: +353 1 716 2947

Introduction


This course is specially designed for the law enforcement community worldwide. To develop the course over the past 8 years we brought in specialists to review and advise on content considering the needs of digital forensics investigators, computer crime specialists and IT security analysts. A unique aspect is the international graduate network from 47 countries. On the course, you share experiences, knowledge and ideas and gain a global perspective and contacts that will be valuable in future investigations.

We offer a comprehensive programme of study options from short Continuing Professional Development courses to Master of Science. The MSc may be taken part time over two years or full time over one year. Lectures are delivered online allowing you to attend and participate from your home or office and attend in person only for examinations in May/June each year (exams may be taken in Dublin or the USA from 2014). Learning takes place through an engaging mix of lectures, hands-on labs, case studies, tool demonstrations and in-depth discussions.

The courses are highly practical and designed to give you information, knowledge and skills that you can apply straight away in investigations.

What will I study?

Courses are highly practical and use tutors from industry and law enforcement as well UCD academics. They are designed to give you information, knowledge and skills that you can apply straight away. We offer two courses in this exciting and fast moving field. As well as the Forensic Computing & Cybercrime Investigation course we also offer a MSc in Digital Investigation & Forensic Computing which is open to both law enforcement and civilian experts working in the field of digital investigation & forensic computing.

 

The Forensic Computing & Cybercrime Investigation course is available to participants from an organisation that has a responsibility for the enforcement of national or local legislation. You may study as little as a single module taken as CPD or you can apply for University qualifications at Master of Science, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate level. The MSc is completed by building 90 credits selecting modules from the following list. All MSc students must complete either a minor or major piece of research which can be either the Case Study or Research Project.

 

Core Modules

MSc candidates are encouraged to take the following Core Modules as part of their first year

• Computer Forensics (10 credits)

• Network Investigations (10 credits)

 

Optional Modules

• Programming for Investigators (10 credits)

• Advanced Computer Forensics (10 credits)

• Malware Investigation (10 credits)

• Advanced Malware Analysis (10 credits)

• Mobile Devices Investigation (10 credits)

• Live Data Forensics (10 credits)

• Linux for Investigators (10 credits)

• Advanced Scripting (10 credits)

• VoIP and Wireless Investigations (10 credits)

• Financial Investigation Techniques - follow the money (10 credits)

• Open Source Intelligence (5 credits)

• Investigation of Sexual Abuse of Children on the Internet (5 credits)

• Data & Database Forensics (10 credits)

• Case Study (10 credits)

• Research Project (30 credits – only available to MSc students)

For more information about each of the modules available in this course please visit the CCI website.

How will I study?

The MSc course can be taken part time over 2 years or full time over one. 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. Lectures are pre-recorded and provided online via a virtual online learning environment, allowing you to attend and participate from your home or office and attend UCD only for examinations each year. Learning takes place through an engaging mix of lectures, hands-on labs, case studies, tool demonstrations and in-depth discussions. There are regular (e.g. weekly) assignments and deadlines, so it is not completely self-paced. You will need a Mac or PC computer purchased within the last 4 or so years with Windows XP/Vista/7/8, OSX or Linux Operating Systems. All software required for the course is provided. Naturally, you need Internet access (wired or wireless). UCD students have free access to a range of desktop software to download. Depending on your module choices and whether you take the part time

or full time option, be prepared to put 10-20 hours per week into your study. Despite the challenges, such as the different time zones of participants, many students have completed a MSc with a full time job, young children and other activities. 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.

Assessment for each module is in the form of regular assignments and an examination. The examinations are taken in a 10-day period in May/June each year, and there are also optional examination sessions in December (for Semester 1 modules). MSc students may also choose to complete an optional Dissertation.

The main exams in June can be taken at any of our 3 exam centres - Dublin / Apeldoorn Holland or Madison Wisconsin USA.

On successful completion of the course I will be able to

Depending on the modules taken, on successful completion students will be able to:
  • Conduct forensic analysis of a computer and use common network investigation techniques
  • Investigate malware based intrusions  Perform mobile phone forensics
  • Preserve and analyse volatile evidence contained in the main memory (RAM) of a computer system
  • Use Linux forensics analysis techniques
  • Write custom tools for data analysis and build forensic applications using BASH
  • Recover data using advanced techniques
  • Overcome investigative challenges of VoIP and locating mobile users
  • Investigate money laundering and trace illicit funds
  • Find, use and analyse open source intelligence for actionable results
  • Investigate cases of child sexual exploitation on the Internet

Career Opportunities

For law enforcement officers, having this qualification has the additional advantage of adding credibility to their testimony as expert witnesses. More and more crime is committed on the Internet, so the career development possibilities in this field are good. To date, over 300 law enforcement officers from agencies in 47 countries have studied on the programme. Graduates include senior staff at Europol and INTERPOL, members of national and regional police forces and police training colleges, government ministries and agencies with LE powers, defence forces, specialist cybercrime agencies, revenue, customs and border protection. The graduate feedback is excellent and most new students have been recommended the course by a colleague.

Useful Information:

Alumni Testimonials
CCI Graduate Survey

Entry Requirements

The course is for members of law enforcement organisations including police, revenue and customs, government and defence forces. 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 several years law enforcement work experience and training including digital forensics. In cases where the applicant does not have enough experience and/or qualifications to enter the MSc course, they can start by taking the individual core modules, taken one by one as CPD. This way they can prove their readiness for the MSc course. The most important entry criterion for this course 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 candidateis likely to have either an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or substantial professional experience in law enforcement (5 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).

If you are not in law enforcement, the UCD Centre for Cybersecurity & Cybercrime Investigation offers another MSc course in the same subject area, called the UCD MSc in Digital Investigation & Forensic Computing (MSc DI), which you may be interested in. General information is available here.

The UCD MSc Digital Investigation & Forensic Computing is aimed at computer investigators in the commercial sector, and it is currently open for applications.

Are there any additional costs?

Please note that as students are required to attend examinations/workshops once a year, you should also budget for travel and accommodation costs.

MSc in Forensic Computing Brochure

Testimonials

“I would say to anyone considering doing the course to do it. It’s a good quality course, which fills a really needed space in law enforcement training and education. I found the collaboration with international law enforcement one of the most useful aspects of the course. I believe that the MSc is a great credential for court, and for my professional future. My dissertation has been published in a peer reviewed journal and has generated interest for other papers, a book chapter, and international speaking opportunities. Attending UCD provided an opportunity for my work to be noticed, and to begin to make a difference, on an international level.”

Cindy Murphy - Detective, City of Madison, WI Police Department, USA.

Cindy Murphy has been a Law Enforcement Officer since 1985. She recently earned her MSc in Forensic Computing and Cyber Crime Investigation through UCD. She is a certified forensic examiner and has been involved in digital forensics since 1999. Det. Murphy has directly participated in the examination of hundreds of hard drives, mobile phones, and other items of digital evidence pursuant to criminal investigations including homicides, missing persons, computer intrusions, sexual assaults, child pornography, financial crimes, and various other crimes. She has testified as a computer forensics expert in state and federal court on numerous occasions, using her knowledge and skills to assist in the successful investigation, occasional exoneration and prosecution of criminal cases involving digital evidence.

 

 

“The diverse backgrounds of the students on the program led to some interesting challenges when undertaking some of the group activities, not least from a geographical perspective. However, if anything, the cultural differences, different levels of experience and the opportunity to exchange information on local practices made the completion of these tasks even more fulfilling.”

Richard Ross - Senior Forensic Investigator, HM Revenue & Customs, UK.

Shortly after graduating with his MSc, Richard secured a promotion to HMRC's newly created Cybercrime team. He makes frequent use of the international network of contacts he made on the course, calling on colleagues in the field of digital forensics and cybercrime investigation throughout Europe and beyond.

 

 

“This is a good qualification to get started or expand your knowledge in Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigation. The MSc broadened my view of the digital investigation world. There where some subjects that were new to me because I have never had such a case as money laundering. It is good to see and hear how other countries fight cybercrime and I have learnt some new tricks during the course. Also I now have now a contact list of European police officers, who I can contact in case we have a problem, for instance on the subject of fraud investigation. This has proven to be very helpful.”

Alwin Hilberink - Computer Crime Specialist at the Police Academy of the Netherlands.

Alwin achieved a 1st class honours when he graduated with his MSc in Forensic Computing & Cybercrime Investigation in 2010. He is now a lecturer and researcher at the Police Academy of The Netherlands, lecturing on digital investigations, especially acquiring evidence in complex situations, hacking investigation, windows forensics and SSD forensics. He was motivated to take the UCD MSc because of the practical approach of the course and the broad range of different subjects. It was a good choice and he subsequently recommended it within the Dutch police. The new international contacts he gained during the MSc have also helped him in his career as a lecturer. He did the MSc with a colleague and they are now more aware of different techniques they can use in the investigation and training they provide. The Police Academy has benefited from this new knowledge.

 

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