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A digital forensics degree will often teach various aspects of the law and teach high-level communication. These individuals will be required to work with a variety of other criminal professionals, such as police, social services, attorneys and judges. This degree might even teach students to be able to recreate criminal activities.
Digital forensics can also be referred to as cyber forensics in some cases. It is a field of increasing importance given the state of cybercrime in today's world. Graduates can work in nearly any field or industry. Careers are not limited to the justice system. This degree can be used in incident and response, as well. Many corporations, insurance companies and others also hire digital forensics. Each degree will offer a unique specialization to meet specific career aspirations.
Are There Online Digital Forensics Programs?
Yes, online Digital Forensics programs are widely available today. It is possible to find them at nearly any degree level. Prospective students can find them mostly at the master's degree levels. Digital Forensics bachelor's degrees will often be a generalized degree in cyber security and digital forensics. However, a master's degree in Digital Forensics typically offers a specialization combined with other areas of IT, IS, law or management. The following are a few types of Digital Forensic degree offerings:
- Computer ForensicsComputer Forensics degrees
- Cyber Investigation degrees
- Forensic Computing
- Forensics and Incident Response
- Criminal Justice and Cybercrime Investigation
- Digital Investigations
Digital Forensics Degree Programs
Consider an Online Cyber program currently accepting applicants.
University of Delaware
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Fairleigh Dickinson University
|Master||Master of Science in Cyber and Homeland Security||Website|
|Bachelor||Online Master of Science in Cyber Security||Website|
|Bachelor||Online BS in Cybersecurity||Website|
University of California Berkeley
|Master||Online Master's in Cybersecurity||Website|
Digital Forensics degrees vs. forensic science and computer forensics
Some people are familiar with forensic science due to crime scene investigation tv shows. Digital Forensics is similar yet quite different at the same time. With a degree in digital forensics, individuals will recover, process and investigate material from digital devices and electronic sources. These degree holders will also identify, analyze, interpret, document and preserve digital evidence. As a result, this evidence is then presented in a court of law.
Review of some of the best digital forensics degrees
Champlain College, BS Computer Forensics and Digital Investigations
Champlain College has a BS in Computer Forensics and Digital Investigations. It is 100% online with 24/7 access to coursework. The program estimates students will require between 10 and 17 hours of time each week for each course. This program is a bit different from traditional formats. Each semester has two separate seven-week terms and three semesters per year. However, some courses will be 15 weeks.
The program will accept up to 90 transfer credits. And students can complete the program as part-time or full-time students. Students who have completed certain certifications can apply them toward transfer credits.
This program is recognized by the Department of Homeland Security, the NSA and DC3. It has a CAE designation. Curriculum centers around various cybercrime certifications. In fact, upon graduation, students will also receive a CDFAE certificate. Students will also be able to receive the Department of Defense Digital Media Collector certificate and the Digital Forensic Examiner certificate. These are possible with a DC3 partnership.
Courses will provide a well-rounded educational experience in a variety of areas, including:
- Professional courses
- Technical electives
- Science literacy
- Human behavior & social institutions
- Human thought & creative expression
- Programming languages
- Digital foresnics tools
- Software programs
- Secure access
- Identificaiton and analysis
- Problem solving
- Cybercrime and cyberattack investigation
- Project management
- Cyber security
- Hardware systems support
- Network systems
- Web development
- Operating systems
- Digital forensics
- Enterprise security management
- Ethics in Information Systems
- Criminal Evidence and Procedures
- Systems design
- White-Collar and Economic Crime
- Digital Media Forensics
- Network Forensics
- Network Defense and Countermeasures
- Forensic Accounting
- Forensic Investigation
- Computer Forensics
- Digital Forencis and Investigation
- Information Security and Digital Forensics
- Computer Forensics and Security Management
- Computer Forensics Management
- File Systems Forensic Analysis
- Malware Detection, Analysis, and Prevention
- Windows Forensic Examinations
- Mock Intrusion and Response
- Legal Compliance and Ethics
- Network Penetration Testing
- Incident Response and Evidence Collection
- Communicating, Problem Solving and Leading in Cybersecurity
- Digital Forensics Response and Analysis
- Cyberspace and Cybersecurity Foundations
- Digital Forensics Technology and Practices
- Capstone in Cybersecurity
- Advanced Forensics
- Storage Media
- Operating Systems
- File Systems
- Database Systems
- Network Technologies and Infrastructures
- Programming and Scripting
- Computer Security
- Software Tools
- Validation and Testing Tools
- Intro to Psychology
- IT for Business
- Forensic Accounting
- Intro to Law and Criminal Justice
- Computer Forensics
- Cyber Defense
- Mobile Forensics
- Risk Analaysis and Security Policies
- Multimedia Forensics
- eDiscovery Forensics and Moot Court
- AFCEA Cyber Security Scholarship
- Stokes Educational Scholarship Program
- CIA Undergraduate Scholarship
- CIA Graduate Studies Scholarship
- Women in Defense Scholarship
- CDFAE Certificate
- DoD Digital Media Collector
- Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
- AccessData Certified Examiner (ACE)
- EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE)
- GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE)
- GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA)
- GIAC Reverse Engineering Malware (GREM)
- GIAC Network Forensic Analyst (GNFA)
- GIAC Advanced Smartphone Forensics (GASF)
- GIAC Cyber Threat Intelligence (GCTI)
- CFCE (IACIS)
- CHFI (EC-Council)
- Crime laboratories
- Law enforcement
- Law Firms
- Federal agencies
- Computer Forensics Technician
- Information Security Analyst
- Security Consultant
- Forensic Computer Analyst
- Information Systems security Analyst
- Information Technology Auditor
- Malware Analyst
- Digital Forensics Specialist
- IS Security Engineer
- Sr. Quality Engineer
- Special Agent
- Computer Forensic Investigator
Students will also be trained and have hands-on experience in roughly 25 areas of technical skill development, such as:
Graduates of this online Digital Forensics degree go on to work for government organizations, corporations, law enforcement agencies and more. Admission requirements are considered a recommendation. Each individual is considered on a case-by-case basis. A 2.5 GPA minimum is preferred. However, the school will also consider positive contributions to communities, professional experience and a track record for online learning success. And Champlain College has a military-friendly designation.
Oklahoma State University, Bachelor of Technology in IT-Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics
The BT in IT-Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics at OSU is 100% online. This program is aimed at students interested in a career that combines security and digital forensics. Students will learn the fundamentals of cyber security while developing essential skills, such as:
Courses include a variety of subjects, including:
Students must complete at least 121 credit hours to graduate. It is possible to complete the degree in as little as two or three years. Transfer credits are accepted. However, students can complete the program at their own pace to accommodate for busy lives. The program also provides hands-on experience, including internships.
The program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. OSU's Institute of Technology has close to a 100% job placement rate.
OSU's digital forensics program is roughly half the cost of most in-state schools and the cost applies to all domestic students rather than in-state residents only. The school also offers extensive financial aid packages. To apply, students must provide ACT or SAT scores, a high school diploma or its equivalency and participate in an academic profiling assessment.
Keiser University, BS Cyber Forensics/Information Security
Keiser University has a bachelor's degree in Cyber Forensics and Information Security. It is available online and on roughly 15 campuses. This digital forensics program centers around technical and investigative skill development. Students will learn to identify and prevent cybercrime. They will also be able to provide assessments and viable solutions to cyberattacks.
Courses will focus on critical thinking, communication and expert-level know-how. Students will learn the essential foundations for forensics. And they will be able to apply legal considerations, recover from incidents and develop defensible forensic processes.
A few examples of major courses are as follows:
Students can apply with a high school diploma or its equivalency. Those who have completed some college courses or an associate degree in a computer-related field are also eligible. Several prerequisite lower division courses must be completed before being allowed to complete advanced major courses. Students can use transfer credits from accredited institutions to meet prerequisites.
Some Top Online Digital Forensics Master's Programs
Master's degrees in Digital Forensics are available in a wide range of specializations, such as:
It is possible to pursue a master's degree in Digital Forensics with any number of bachelor's degrees. Most people will complete a bachelor's degree in digital forensics or a computer-related field. However, for consideration into master's degrees, it is also possible to complete a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, legal studies, accounting, forensic science and more. Some programs will also consider professional experience over the concentration of a bachelor's degree. Some master's degrees might also be in cyber security with a concentration in digital forensics.
Stevenson University, MS in Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics
The Stevenson University MS in Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics is ideal for advancing careers in IT. The program centers around both cybersecurity and digital forensics. Program participants will learn to analyze digital evidence that has been forensically gathered. Students will also learn to preserve, interpret, record and report forensic details. These findings are then used to launch a prosecution or to secure a conviction. This might be related to computer security or legal proceedings.
Stevens University creates its curriculum based on the ever-changing needs and demands of employers. Courses might include the following:
The fields of cybersecurity and digital forensics are in a constant state of evolution. As such, it is imperative to select programs that keep up with the times. Here, students have access to an advanced virtual lab to provide hands-on experience in forensic analysis. Students will also participate in various real-life exercises that center around the theft of electronic information. And everyone has access to critical skill development and career planning.
Graduates of this program often qualify to complete various digital forensics certifications. Many select growth careers, such as cyber security engineering, cyber security analysts and network architecture. To qualify for acceptance, students must have a bachelor's degree based on a quantitative or technical field. Professional work experience may also be acceptable. It is a requirement to have transcripts reviewed by an organization the is a NACES member. A minimum of a 3.0 GPA is necessary.
University of New Haven, MS in Digital Forensic Investigation
The University of New Haven offers an MS in Digital Forensic Investigation. This degree is entirely online and provides a career pathway to leadership positions and higher salaries. Students can even build their own degrees to reach their greatest career potential. The program’s 10 courses can be completed in a year for full-time students. Some students complete the program in two years.
Overall, students will gain superior know-how regarding digital forensics investigative practices. They will also acquire a deep grasp of digital evidence while practicing various techniques and using specific tools. Courses are led by industry experts with real-life field experience. And it is possible to transfer up to six credit hours from an approved higher learning institution.
Potential students can receive a 20% discount on tuition if they are part of specific professional organizations. Individuals who are already a correctional officer or a sworn officer can qualify for 50% off. All students are eligible for financial assistance in some way. And everyone has access to the Career Development Center. This university also offers master’s degrees in Financial Crimes and Healthcare Fraud, Waste and Abuse.
Students will have to complete 30 credit hours. The application process will depend on the type of student. However, most students will require at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Transfer students and international students will have their own set of requirements to meet.
University of Maryland Global Campus, MS Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation
The University of Maryland Global Campus has an MS in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation. This program aims to prepare students for leadership roles and executive skill development. Students will learn to manage complex threats and attacks. They will also be able to follow best-in-class digital forensics practices for business, administration and legal prosecution.
This Digital Forensics degree will also assist in problem-solving alongside evidence examination. The UMGC MS in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation has a CAE designation from the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security. Graduates often work in business, for government agencies or in law enforcement. They work to mitigate cyberattacks, track down digital offenders and evaluate digital crime evidence.
Courses are designed to provide exceptional long-term career opportunities, such as:
The school also features several related clubs and organizations to improve upon skills and establish future professional relationships. This includes the Computing Club and Cyber Competition Team. It is recommended that students have at least a background in programming and computing. If individuals do not have these existing skills, several courses are available through the school. UMGC undergraduates who major in cybersecurity and computer networks can reduce credit requirements by six credit hours.
Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. The program must be complete within five years. And transfer credits are only valid if they were completed in the past five years.
Top Courses to Expect in Digital Forensics Degrees
The best programs in digital forensics will incorporate a combination of technical and soft skills, tools and know-how. Programs should prepare students in a wide area of subject matter, such as:
Keep in mind that courses will be more advanced in graduate degree programs. And course offerings will be based on the specialization of the digital forensics program.
Is Accreditation Important for Digital Forensics?
Accreditation is essential for any degree. It is important to select programs from colleges and universities with regional accreditation. This accreditation is held to a higher educational standard than national accreditation. Employers are aware of this difference and typically prefer candidates with a regionally accredited education.
The best programs will have a National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) designation. This designation is awarded by the Department of Homeland Security and the NSA. Some top programs might have a specialized accreditation by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission. The US Department of Justice has a Technical Working Group for Education and Training in Digital Forensics. This organization assists with exceptional curriculum guidance. And programs can also be accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.
All of these accreditations can lead to better job opportunities, higher salaries and career advancement.
Are There Scholarships for Digital Forensics Degrees?
Scholarships for Digital Forensics students are available at all degree levels. However, it is often easier to secure scholarships for bachelor’s degrees. Many degrees will be available on financial need. Other degrees will be dedicated to any student pursuing a career in computer science or STEM.
And some degrees will be reserved for students who are underrepresented throughout the IT community, such as BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals and women. In certain cases, scholarships will be available through schools. Many scholarships are offered through corporations, private institutions, professional organizations, nonprofits and many others. Government agencies even offer scholarships as a service to help with tuition and living expenses.
The following are a few examples of scholarships available for students in Digital Forensics degrees:
Each scholarship will have different requirements and expectations for applicants.
Related Cyber Security Certifications
A wide range of cyber security and digital forensics certifications are available. Many of these certifications are essential to remain in demand by employers, such as:
Career Options with Digital Forensics Degree
Careers in Digital Forensics are widely available in numerous industries, including:
The types of jobs one can secure are equally as diverse, such as: