This course is no longer accepting applications for September 2022 entry. The next start date will be September 2023.
Digital forensics combines computer science technology, legal and professional guidance, and investigation skills to investigate a 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 crimes.
The smooth running of societies and economies is now dependent on the security of computer networks, and cybercrime, from fraud, identity theft, cyberstalking, and 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.
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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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we have learnt during the pandemic and enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.
We aim to model a wide range of teaching strategies and approaches on the course which you can adapt to your own setting.
The programme is taught in a mixture of 3-hour workshops (combining lectures and lab sessions) and lectures and separate seminar sessions. The workshops allow for more time to be spent on practical elements of the course.
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.
You will be assessed through a variety of methods:
You will receive regular feedback on your work throughout the course, including on your assessed work.
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.
Supervisory sessions will be held on campus.
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 your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.
The table below gives you an idea of what learning looks like across a typical week. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.
This information is likely to change slightly for 2023 entry as our plans evolve. You will receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.
Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown in 2022/23
Live in-person on campus learning
Contact hours per week, per level:
Live online learning
Average hours per week, per level:
Outside of these hours, you will 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 will typically be expected to commit 1200 hours to your course across all styles of learning.
This information is likely to change slightly for 2023 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.
Definitions of terms
You 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 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 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.
Our MSc in Electronic Security and Digital Forensics is accredited by British Computer Society (BCS).
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 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.
Start: October 2023
Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start: October 2023, EU/INT induction: September 2023
Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start: October 2023
Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time