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Digital Forensics MSc

Learn about the course below
Code
PGF490
Start
October 2021
EU/INT induction: September 2021
Duration
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
Attendance
Full-time
Part-time
Fees
£10,000 (UK) *
£14,500 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Sukhvinder Hara
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Digital forensics combines computer science technology, legal and professional guidance, and investigation skills to investigate crime that is committed using digital technology. It is an area of expertise that is constantly challenged by rapidly evolving technology and new innovative criminals methods used to commit crime.

Why study MSc Digital Forensics at Middlesex University?

The smooth running of societies and economies is now dependent on the security of computer networks, and cyber crime, from fraud, identity theft, cyber stalking, ransomware to terrorism and espionage.  It can affect anyone and this is at the forefront of government policy. Our innovative course was created to meet the demand for skills in an area that is chronically short of well-qualified graduates.

The course has a strong practical focus, with an emphasis on both in-depth technical and legal theory and hands-on project work. You will also have the opportunity to achieve professional certifications during the course, with industrial partners at a small nominal cost.  These industrial partners may be changed, subject to demands for skills and technology.

All sessions are held online in the 2020/21 academic year due to COVID-19, providing full access to the above technologies without the need to use any campus facilities.

Course highlights

  • We have strong links with industry - we work with companies such as Microsoft and Siemens, and we are a Cisco local academy partner
  • You'll also improve your communication, teamwork, time-management, organisational, analytical and critical skills
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

What you will study on the MSc Digital Forensics?

This course will focus on different types of digital investigations and the management of investigations, relevant legal and professional and ethical issues and cybercrime. It will also focus on business risks from emerging technologies, regulations, contingency planning and risk management.

What will you gain?

As well as an in-depth knowledge of the subject, you will also gain an understanding in the prevention and detection of security breaches, developing and installing security policies and how to use network analysis tools. You will develop expertise in the tools, techniques and procedures used in investigation, and you’ll learn how to collect, investigate, and document digital evidence for presentation in legal proceedings.

Modules

  • Modules

    • Digital Investigations and Incident Management (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to give student a sound understanding of the relationship between digital investigations and digital technologies.  It will provide in-depth knowledge of evidence management and the consequences of mismanagement in investigations.  This practical module will equip students with investigatory skills necessary to process digital media using both open source and commercial industry digital forensic tools. Students will learn about the planning of investigations, technology management strategies and how their actions could affect evidential continuity. Equal value is placed on the importance on documentation, processes and validity along with technical ability to recover and find evidential artefacts.

    • FinCrime Risks from Emerging Technologies (15 Credits) – Compulsory

      The module aims to give students a broad understanding financial crime risks from emerging technologies for the regulated financial sector (e.g., fraud, electronic crime, money laundering, sanctions and terrorist financing).  It provides practical knowledge of carrying out risk assessments for emerging technology in financial products and services.  Students will gain an understanding of the nature, purpose and legal requirement of adhering to regulation in the area of financial services and how compliance is managed in practice. Students will gain knowledge and skills on developing strategies where investigation techniques and practices.

    • Blockchain Anatomy and Analytics (15 Credits) – Compulsory

      Blockchain technology presents new opportunities for organisations, with this change there are challenges and opportunities for Digital Forensic analysts.  The increased use of this technology has also seen an escalation in crime, often facilitated through the use of cryptocurrency.  This module aims are twofold: i) Knowledge behind the blockchain technology and ii) Combining knowledge and skills to complete blockchain analytics for digital investigations.

    • Audit and Security (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      The aim of this module is to consider the way in which compliance and auditing procedures can be used in digital forensics to maintain underlying standards of information security and to identify errors and anomalies. Digital Forensics involves the identification, collection, examination, and analysis, of data. Regulations and standards are used to assist in the maintenance of computer security and provide a structured approach to the management of data. Compliance with relevant standards and regulation can be used to identify potential data security risks and to collect information on situations where potential risk have led to data loss. This module focuses on the use and applicability of regulation and standards to manage data security process and procedures. It will also identify and address the limits of compliance and auditing procedures.

    • Cybercrime (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to give students a comprehensive understanding of cybercrime. It explores theoretical underpinnings of crime and deviancy in the digital world, then gives an introduction to cybercrime before focusing on general types of cybercrime as defined by the Cybercrime Convention 2001. Relevant legal/regulatory frameworks aimed at preventing cybercrime are explored, followed by a focus on cybercrime investigations. The module also focuses on cybersecurity, cybercrime prevention and risk mitigation. In addition, it explores specific types of cybercrime, their impact and challenges.

    • Advanced Topics in Digital Forensics (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      The aim of this module is to consider the implication of developing digital technology in the field of digital forensics. It will consider both evolution in the design and use of digital systems and the evolution in the design and use of digital forensic tools. Digital Forensics involves the identification, collection, examination, and analysis, of data. The aim of this module is to enable a digital forensics manager (or communicator) to be able to consider the implications of the use of new technology with respect to increased (or reduced) use and misuse of data. This module focuses on both the challenges caused by the developments and the need to be able to communicate effectively with associated professionals to ensure those challenges are dealt with effectively.

    • Open-Source Intelligence Techniques (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to provide knowledge into using open-source intelligence techniques in digital investigations.  The OSINT framework is used to build a foundation that students can use as a resource and starting point.  The changing nature of open-source resources requires students to understand methodology in building, testing online available resources for data gathering. Students will learn advanced techniques to search online resources on the internet, whilst understanding how to remain anonymous and adhering to ethical practices and laws.

    • Postgraduate Computing Project (60 Credits) - Compulsory

      To give students an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to undertake work that is independent - shaped largely by one s own decisions and preferences; complete - accomplished from conception to delivery, via all stages in between; technically competent - employing techniques and exploiting knowledge gained during earlier parts of the programme; professionally and ethically compliant; supervised - working under the guidance but not instruction of a member of academic staff; academically sound - taking critical account of current knowledge and methods in the chosen specialist area.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information:

Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

How is the MSc Digital Forensics taught?

You’ll become proficient in forensic tools and techniques through our online sessions, where you’ll work on case studies and carry out mock searches. Interactive lectures will focus on both theory and practice, while at seminars you’ll have a chance to ask questions, take part in discussions and receive feedback. There may also be talks from guest speakers. You’ll work on problem-solving exercises and critical analyses, and will do some work in groups. In your spare time you’ll do your own independent study, including online study.

Assessment

You will be assessed through coursework for each module and a research project. Coursework assessment is varied and will include producing investigative reports, technical reports, business oriented reports, presentations, critical analyses, mind-maps and visualisations,. Some assessed work will be done in groups. You will receive regular feedback on your work throughout the course, including on your assessed work.

All assessments will take place online during the 2021/22 academic year and all module leaders have a wealth of experience in setting, moderating, supporting and assessing e-assessments.

For your independent project and dissertation you will plan, conduct and critically analyse data on a research topic or case study of your choosing. You will be assessed on your research proposal, written report and possibly through a viva voce exam, in which you’ll justify and reflect on your work, and discuss possible further developments.

All supervisory sessions will be held online during the 2021/22 academic year and there will be no need to face to face meetings.

Teaching and learning - changes for students in 2021

If you have travel restrictions to the UK due to coronavirus, this course can be started fully online with support to learn from your home country for the first term.

We are back on campus for the majority of teaching in Autumn 2021, as long as restrictions allow. Your timetable will be built around on campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.

In case of any changes to government guidance, we‘ll be ready to move to teaching with more restrictions in place and continue to give you an excellent learning experience. In this scenario, on campus teaching should continue although more of your course will take place online.

The table below gives you an idea of what your learning will look like across a typical week. Some weeks might be different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.

This information may change slightly as we receive further guidance from the government. You’ll receive final arrangements for your teaching and a full course timetable before you start.

Scenario A: Without social distancing

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:

8 hours

Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:

4 hours

Scenario B: With social distancing and/or with restrictions on travel to campus

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:

8 hours

Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:

4 hours

Outside of these hours, you’ll be expected to do independent study where you read, listen and reflect on other learning activities. This can include preparation for future classes. In a year, you’ll typically be expected to commit 1800 hours to your course across all styles of learning. If you are taking a placement, you might have some additional hours.

Read more about our scenarios for returning to campus and what they might mean for your teaching and learning experience, and how you’ll be able to access student support.

Future plans for teaching

We’re developing our plans for in-person on campus teaching following government advice to keep you safe. If more restrictions are put in place in the future, or there is another lockdown, we’ll deliver your learning and support fully online for a temporary period. We’ll make alternative arrangements for any required placements if they can’t go ahead as planned. We’ll always give you notice of any changes that we make.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning – This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We’ll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Live online learning – This will include lectures, tutorials and supervision sessions led by your tutor and timetabled by us. It also includes student-led group work that takes place online

  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself of with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.

Support

You’ll have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you’ll have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You’ll have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

More on teaching for your subject in 2021/22

Read our guide to what you can look forward to when you study your subject with us including more information about your teaching experience this autumn.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. EU fees from October 2021
  3. EU/International
  4. Additional costs
  5. Scholarships and bursaries

Our MSc in Electronic Security and Digital Forensics is accredited by British Computer Society (BCS).

How can the MSc in Digital Forensics support your career?

There is a very high demand worldwide for well-qualified IT graduates and this course will leave you perfectly placed to for a variety of roles such as digital forensic investigator, data recovery expert, network management specialist or security consultant, FinTech Compliance.

One of the largest employers of digital forensic scientists is the police and there are many opportunities available with other government agencies and departments, such as the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, MI5, the Serious Fraud Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. A number of our graduates have gone to work for IT companies, security consultancies, forensic computing firms, software developers, and games manufacturers.

Dr Carlisle George
Programme Leader

Dr Carlisle George holds an LLM Masters in Information Technology & Communications Law from LSE, and a Doctorate in Computer Science from the University of London (Goldsmiths). He currently leads the ALERT (Aspects of Law and Ethics Related to Technology) research group at Middlesex University.



We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

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